Approval of AI Functionality in the network - ENI#10 closing Release 1, kicking off Release 2

The ENI#10 meeting was hosted by Altice Labs / Portugal Telecom on 9-11 July, 2019, at their headquarters by the canals of Aveiro, Portugal.

 Group photo of participants and inset photos of remote participants

The meeting was very productive and significant progress was made. To sum it up, we finalized the work on the ENI use cases, requirements and system architecture for Release 1. As a result, the final drafts for approval of these specifications are now available and their publication is expected to take place in September. In addition, we advanced the work on the means of intent aware networks, categorization of AI within networks, including discussion on semantics around the work in Release 2.

In particular, the contents of the ENI Reference Architecture (GS ENI 005) were carefully examined in order to precisely reflect what is mentioned in my previous blog (the ENI functional Architecture can be deployed in many scenarios to use AI in the network to assist or directly control other systems).

The Experiential Networked Intelligence Industry Specification Group (ENI ISG), as defined in the Cognitive Network Management architecture, GS ENI 005, uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques and context-aware policies to adjust offered services based on changes in user needs, environmental conditions and business goals. This will apply to the 5G networks with automated service provision, operation, and assurance, as well as optimized slice management and resource orchestration. ENI has also launched PoCs (Proofs of Concept) aiming to demonstrate how AI techniques can be used to assist network operations including 5G.

ENI focuses on improving the operator experience, by adding closed-loop AI mechanisms based on context-aware, metadata-driven policies to recognize and incorporate new and changed knowledge, and hence make actionable decisions.

ISG ENI is now completing Release 1 and starting Release 2 as the ETSI Board approved the extension of the ISG this year. The ISG mandate has been extended by two years, and at this meeting Release 1 timeframe was completed and Release 2 has started.

Ongoing work in Release 1

Other work topics progressed during the meeting included work on AI network categorization and on the system architecture and external reference points, which will be included in GS ENI 005 system architecture. These specifications were finalized during Release 1. The use case and requirements specifications will be revised to add a new intent aware use case and requirements in the third revision in Release 2 and the System Architecture will be revised in Release 2. These work items were agreed to be sent to consensus once the approval is finalized in August.

Experiential Networked Intelligence (ENI) Release 1 specifications and reports are:

Specifications to complete Release 1 (approved in the ISG before publication) are ENI 001 Use Cases (Revised), ENI 002 Requirements (Revised) and ENI 005 System Architecture.

Three more work items are currently in progress: these are terminology, the definition of networked intelligence categorization and a PoC framework revised for Release 2.

Another topic addressed during that meeting was the creation of Working Groups to manage and monitor specific work, such as a Proof and Validation Working Group and a System architecture Working Group. A data analysis Working Group is also under discussion.

The other work items, i.e. RGR/ENI-010, DGR/ENI-011, RGS/ENI-012 and DGR/ENI-013, continue to be open and active and there was very good work progress during the meeting.

In particular, the Report on categorization (DGR/ENI-011) is expected to be ready for approval later in the summer of 2019. A new Work Item on the Analysis of Big Data is being considered.

Expected and Future work of ETSI ISG ENI in Release 2

In addition to all this work, the envisaged targets for Release 2 were also thoroughly reviewed and updated where applicable. In the following, a summary of the work to be carried out during Release 2 is provided.

The ongoing activities of ISG ENI will be spread over the following broad areas:

  • Architecture framework
    • addition to the Use Cases and Requirements of a technology independent architecture (activity carried out in every release). The ETSI Group Specification ENI-005 is being finalized
    • in Release 1, the draft GS ENI 005 was based on the ‘observe-orient-decide-act’ control loop model with description and flow of external reference points. This GS ENI 005 is approved and will be published soon
    • in Release 2 the GS ENI 005 will develop the information model for the main objects in the System Architecture, including semantics and APIs
    • specify, in a phased approach the adoption of AI features for the ENI system and its associated reference points
  • AI framework in the upcoming GS ENI 007 in Release 2
    • an outline on the categories and types of autonomicity in a network that can be used in a system
    • a report that outlines the capabilities of AI equipment
    • this draft report is phase independent
  • Security framework in co-operation with ETSI TC CYBER and other groups
    • a security model and security architecture
  • Intent aware network autonomy
    • ENI-0013 (draft GR ENI 008) is a report on intent aware policies and semantics recently started for Release 2
  • PoC framework
    • recommend new PoCs to follow the ENI architecture by supporting the Reference Points; that in the end provide essential feedback to enhance their definition
    • Release 2 PoCs will prove the multivendor capabilities across APIs and external reference points
  • Cooperation with internal and external entities

Status of Proofs of Concepts

  • The China Telecom led PoC Demonstration on AI modelling on the Network Slicing reconfiguration:

We have a China Telecom led PoC (Proof of Concept) that is being finalized. The PoC description and presentation is on the ETSI ENI WiKi Pages. The PoC had an impressive presentation at the Global Network Technology Conference (GNTC) with network technology pioneers of countries, and selected experts of the Internet Hall of Fame to deliver speeches. This PoC has just been completed.

  • The updated progress from 5G-MoNAch on an elastic network slicing PoC:

We have a 5G-Monarch led PoC (Proof of Concept) that is being finalized. A 5G-MoNArch Led a PoC – based on an electric network slicing the progress was noted and accepted. The PoC description and presentation is on the ETSI ENI WiKi Pages. A demonstration was provided at EUCNC2019 in Valencia last spring. This demonstration was also very widely viewed and highlighted the use of AI to configure elastic network slices. This PoC has just been completed.

  • The updated progress from H2020 Shield / Telefónica:

We had a H2020 SHIELD led PoC (Proof of Concept) finalized. A PoC is led by Telefónica related to the H2020 Shield project. The Shield PoC draft proposal deals with Securing Against Intruders and other threats through an NFV-enabled environment. This use of AI to detect intrusion into an NFV system was very impressive. The PoC was started after ENI#8. With the proposal added to the PoC description and presentation on the ETSI ENI WiKi Pages. This PoC is completed.

  • The updated progress from H2020 SliceNet / Portugal Telecom:

A PoC led by Portugal Telecom in a joint venture with the H2020 Slicenet project is ongoing, where the formal proposal was available after ENI#8 and accepted at ENI#9. It is related with PoC proposal for Predictive Fault Management of E2E Multi-Domain Network Slices. The PoC description and presentation are available on the ETSI ENI WiKi Pages.

  • The proposal from China Mobile Research Institute:

A new PoC was proposed and accepted by China Mobile Research Institute related to the intelligent traffic detection and classification. It is using AI characteristics to detect traffic and classify the assignment of resources. It has been added to the PoC description and presentation on the ETSI ENI WiKi Pages.

  • The proposal from China Unicom on “Intelligent caching based on prediction of content popularity”:

A new PoC was proposed by China Unicom related to “Intelligent caching based on prediction of content popularity” project and is under review. This PoC is meant to demonstrate the proposed mobile edge caching based on Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) algorithms. When approved, it will be added to the PoC description and presentation on the ETSI ENI WiKi Pages.

  • The proposal from China Unicom on “Intelligent time synchronization of network”:

A new PoC was proposed by China Unicom related to an “Intelligent time synchronization of network” project. This PoC is meant to demonstrate the proposed intelligent time synchronization of network, based on Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) algorithms. In particular, those proposed mechanisms predict the delays for different equipment based on the previous delay information. A formal proposal should be available soon and once approved, it will be added to the PoC description and presentation on the ETSI ENI WiKi Pages.

Data was also a topic discussed as data is the lifeblood of AI processing, requiring rapid and efficient access to current, real-time configuration and optimization. Data may include performance-monitoring data, assurance data, trace data, configuration data, miscellaneous log data, topology data, inventory data; this data needs to be analyzed and standardized for its processing within an AI system.

Noteworthy is the kick-off of a new series of Release 2 work-items on AI processing. A special attention will be paid to the specification of the AI control loop system architecture and its related security within networks.

The ISG will now focus on the upcoming Phase 2 goals.

Let’s remind our readers that the ISG is open to ETSI members and non-ETSI members alike. The different players in the value chain are welcome to join the ISG effort, contribute to the development of these key specifications and demonstrate Proofs of Concepts (PoCs).

To join, please contact: ISGsupport@etsi.org

The ETSI ENI Industry Specification Group was created in February 2017. Today members are operators, vendors and research institutes from all over the world.

The next ENI plenary meeting (ENI#11) will be hosted by China Telecom in Beijing, China, on 24-26 September 2019 and will be followed by a CCSA summit on Artificial intelligence in the Network on 27 September 2019. So stay tuned!

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