Industry Specification Group (ISG) Experiential Networked Intelligence (ENI) Activity Report 2022
Chair: Raymond Forbes, Huawei Technologies
Responsible for developing standards that leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) mechanisms for improving the operator experience to more quickly recognize and incorporate new and changed knowledge, and hence make more rapid actionable decisions as well as assisting in the management and orchestration of the network.
Technologies such as Software Defined Networking (SDN), Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and network slicing are making networks more flexible and powerful. However these same innovations are also making networks harder to manage efficiently.
The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques in the network supervisory and management system can help address some of the challenges of future network deployment and operation.
Our Industry Specification Group on Experiential Networked Intelligence (ISG ENI) develops standards that use AI mechanisms to assist in the management and orchestration of the network. The group’s work focuses on improving the operator experience, using closed-loop AI mechanisms based on context-aware, metadata-driven policies. This enables the ENI system to recognize and incorporate new and changed knowledge, and hence make actionable decisions.
ENI has specified a set of use cases and the derived requirements for a generic technology independent architecture of a network supervisory assistant system based on the ‘observe-orient-decide-act’ control loop model. This model gives recommendations to decision-making systems, such as network control and management systems, to adjust services and resources offered based on changes in user needs, environmental conditions and business goals.
By developing standards that use AI mechanisms to recognize new or changed knowledge – and thus make actionable decisions for operators – the work of ISG ENI enables an efficient intelligence-based assistance to SDN and NFV deployments which will in turn manage and orchestrate the network.
The group accordingly considers a range of ENI related issues including architecture, AI, security and Proof of Concept (PoC) frameworks, while coordinating activities with other entities within ETSI and externally.
During 2022 the main focus of the group’s technical work was on ENI Release 3 and beyond. This activity centred on development of a new Group Specification, detailing APIs, reference points and Policy models with a number of functional descriptions of external interfaces. This document specifies a functional architecture using functional blocks that support a variety of functions and algorithms that interoperate using external and internal Reference Points. It also uses a semantic bus to enable AL reasoning and learning algorithms to augment traditional management and control mechanisms with a variety of protocols and APIs. This ensures that assisted networks/systems do not need to change in order to take advantage of ENI.
In March 2022 the group published a new Group Report GR ENI 012 V1.1.1 titled ‘Reactive In-situ Flow Information Telemetry’. Describing the requirements and challenges of using flow-oriented on-path telemetry techniques that provide relevant measurement or event reports to the AI-enabled network entities, the report outlines an ‘In-situ Flow Information Telemetry (IFIT)’ reference framework. It identifies technical requirements including: modes of flow-oriented on-path telemetry; IFIT-based reactive telemetry framework; and technical requirements, including intelligent flow and packet selection, intelligent data export, dynamic network probe and on-demand underlying technique selection.
During the year significant progress was made on a number of further active Work Items related to Release 3, including updates to existing Release 2 deliverables. For several of these items publication is anticipated by the end of 2022.
- [ENI 001] Use Cases - to be progressed in Release 3, to be published as v3.2.1.
- [ENI 002] Requirements - to be progressed in Release 3, to be published as v3.2.1.
- [ENI 004] Terminology - is being extended to Release 3 through a new Work Item, to be published as v3.1.1.
- [ENI 005] System Architecture - is being extended to Release 3 through a NWI, to be published as v3.1.1.
- [ENI 009] Data Mechanisms - to be progressed in Release 3 timeframe, to be published as v1.2.1.
- [ENI 010] Evaluation Method for Autonomicity - to be progressed in Release 3, to be published as v1.2.1.
- [ENI 013] Intent Policy Model Gap Analysis - started in Release 2 and to be progressed in Release 3, to be published as v1.1.1.
- [ENI 015] Processing and Management of Intent Policy - started in Release 2 and to be progressed in Release 3, to be published as v3.1.1.
- [ENI 019] ENI Models - to be progressed in Release 3, to be published as v3.1.1
- [ENI 030] Transformer Architecture for Policy Translation - to be progressed in Release 3, to be published as v3.1.1.
- [ENI 031] Construction and application of fault maintenance network knowledge graphs – this new Work Item to be progressed in Release 3, to be published as v3.1.1.
A new Work Item was also launched to define the quantification of evaluation using the previously published categories of AI supported in a network (GR ENI 007). This report will define different levels of automation, categorised by the impact of AI on the network and the benefits derived.
Developed according to our Proof of Concept Framework, ENI Proofs of Concept (PoC) are intended to demonstrate ENI as a viable technology. Results are fed back to the relevant Industry Specification Group for each PoC. A list and descriptions of all current ENI PoC are available on the public ETSI ENI wiki pages.
During 2022 ISG ENI maintained its active liaison with other ETSI groups, namely: ISG NFV, ISG ZSM, MEF, F5G, 3GPP TSG SA5, ITU-T SG13, SG12, SG11 and ITU-T FGML5G.
The group also continued to interact with other ETSI entities, including TC CYBER and ISG SAI, to ensure that all communications between ENI and Assisted Systems operate securely. In addition it continued to coordinate activities closely with OCG AN on Autonomous Networks and OCG AI on the AI Act SR, and with related ISGs and TCs.
See the full list of ISG ENI Work Items currently in development here.
For more information on current activities read the ISG ENI Chair’s regularly updated blog here.