The 5G Proof of Concept (PoC) Project of ETSI WG TC INT AFI published its White Paper #6 “Generic Framework for Multi-Domain Federated ETSI GANA Knowledge Planes (KPs) for End-to-End Autonomic (Closed-Loop) Security Management & Control for 5G Networks/Services”.

Rationale

The 5G PoC White Paper #6 has now been published, and its purpose is to lay the groundwork for the standardization of “A Generic Framework for Multi-Domain Federated ETSI GANA (Generic Autonomic Network Architecture) Knowledge Planes (KPs) for End-to-End Autonomic (Closed-Loop) Security Management & Control for 5G Networks/Services”.

The White Paper is accessible for download via the INT Wiki.

ETSI TC INT has established that E2E Autonomic (Closed-Loop) Service and Security Assurance shall be achievable through the Federation of GANA Knowledge Planes (KPs) (as Platforms) that implement components for Autonomic Management and Control (AMC) intelligence for specific network segments and domains. While such an E2E Federation of KP Platforms for multiple network segments (as domains) has to be primarily considered within a single network operator administrative domain, the E2E Federation of KPs may be extended to even span multiple network operator or enterprise network administrative domains.



5G PoC White Paper: AI in Test Systems, Testing AI Models and ETSI GANA Model's Cognitive Decision Elements (DEs)

Rationale

The purpose of this 5G Proof of Concept (PoC) White paper #5, is to lay the groundwork of the standardization that has been jointly launched recently in ETSI by TC INT and TC MTS with the support of the Centre of Testing and Interoperability (CTI) on the topic of “Testing of AI and AI in Testing Systems” that will address the various aspects linked to this topic through the development of ETSI assets such as specifications to be used by the industry.

These specifications will include the definition of metrics pertaining to specific classes of AI models that can be targeted for testing and assessment, for such metrics definitions are currently missing in the work being done in the various standardization groups.

Moreover, the specifications will close a gap also identified in the 5G PoC White Paper #5 on the need for a “Test & Certification Framework for AI Models in AMC” (Autonomic Management & Control) to support the Industry in implementing and achieving Multi-Layer AMC for Autonomous Networks being specified by ETSI and other Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) / Fora.

It is noticeable that the framework being proposed by ETSI TC INT is aligned with the European Commission’s White Paper, published on 19 February 2020, on “Artificial Intelligence: a European approach to excellence and trust” that emphasizes the need for:

  1. A Regulatory Framework
  2. The Creation of an AI Testing Center, and
  3. The Creation of a Certification Center

Looking at the topic of “Testing of AI and AI in Test Systems” as a journey, ETSI TC INT has identified, already in 2015, the need for a Test & Certification Framework for Adaptive Networks and their Associated Autonomic Functions using AI Components and published, in 2016, EG 203 341 “Approaches for Testing Adaptive Networks” to anticipate and prepare the Industry’s readiness in implementing Multi-Layer Autonomic (AMC) frameworks for evolving and future networks. 



Due to confinement and travel restrictions, the ENI#13 meeting was successfully organized online only on 17-20 March 2020.

  • 32 were present including 8 operators
  • 4/5 Government Ministry Institutes are members: China, Japan and South Korea
  • 133 documents were handled

A workshop “ENI-Machine Learning in communication networks” was organized on 16 March between two ETSI ISGs, namely ENI and SAI (Securing AI), and ITU-T’s Q20/13 and FG ML5G “Machine Language 5th Generation”, on AI/ML. This workshop was instrumental in enabling synergies between ETSI and the ITU-T in this field and to better understand the needs of industry. ETSI ISG ENI will send the template of ENI Use Cases to the ITU-T groups by liaison for their reference in future work.

As for the meeting, it was very productive and achieved significant progress. After the publication of the approved ENI 006 PoC framework revision, all PoCs will be required to show interworking on an external reference point. The meeting also progressed on the draft reports GR ENI 008 on Intent Aware Network Autonomicity and GR ENI 009 on Data Processing mechanisms. Major progress on the evaluation of categories in Draft GR ENI 010 was made discussing a five dimensional system of quantification of the Classes published last year in GR ENI 007.

Significant progress was made on the learning techniques for AI in the ongoing revision of ENI 005. An open area was also approved for all stable drafts and previously published deliverables. Attendees continued drafting revisions of the next versions on ENI use cases, requirements and Terminology for Release 2.
In addition, we started working on Evaluation of the AI Network Configuration and Mapping of operational systems to ENI architecture. ISG ENI is now progressing into the 2nd Release.



The ETSI NFV community met for its twenty ninth plenary meeting (NFV#29) from 17 to 21 February at the Home of NFV, ETSI Headquarters, in Sophia-Antipolis, France. This time, the plenary meeting took place amidst the unfortunate situation, the Coronavirus outbreak that has hit so many countries and seriously impacted standardization work, and life in general almost worldwide. Consequently, some of our delegates were not able to travel and attend the meeting physically. Our best wishes to all of you all around the world who have been impacted by the outbreak, "wishing you a good and quick recovery".

Addressing the impact of this outbreak on the handling of the plenary meeting, ETSI provided outstanding support, as usual, by enabling remote access for participants that could not travel. Furthermore, the ISG and working group officials made a very good job of adapting the schedule and working procedures to facilitate the active participation and contributions of the remote delegates. As for those of us that had the opportunity to attend the plenary physically, ETSI had provided a very useful new facility: the delegates participating F2F could check-in for the first time by scanning their meeting QR code using a check-in station in the ETSI lobby. check in

All in all, despite the circumstances, the plenary meeting was once again a success. All working groups made steady progress in most of the work items that are currently being developed as part of the Releases 3 and 4.

With regards to Release 4 work, Marcus Brunner (Swisscom), chair of the Network Operators Council (NOC) provided additional input from the network operators at the closing plenary. Some of the discussion points concerned the direction in which the specification of the cloud-native capabilities in NFV is being performed, including containers and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). On behalf of the NOC, Marcus also highlighted the importance of deeply embracing more efficient CI/CD and software upgrade mechanisms to cope with the challenges that operators are having for integrating and maintaining current and future NFV deployments. The plenary welcomed the input from the operator community and acknowledged the need for the ETSI NFV to stay focused and address the challenges with diligence.

A couple of weeks after this meeting, ETSI published a brand new animated video explaining the importance of virtualizing network functions in just two minutes.

 

As ETSI NFV has done on previous occasions, there was an evening session. This time the topic was not about ETSI NFV work program matters, or discussions specific to NFV technologies. Instead, colleagues from ETSI CTI introduced the new working methods and tools that ETSI are preparing to make the development of the specifications more agile. A demo enabled the delegates to see the already advanced development status of these tools. Several ETSI NFV delegates provided their feedback, which was also greatly welcomed by the presenters. As a matter of fact, several working groups in the ETSI NFV already make use of agile and software development tools while performing their work. I would say that the ETSI NFV has been a pioneer in ETSI in making use of version control, code development and bug tracking tools.



ETSI TC INT has published ETSI TR 103 626 on 17 February 2020. An Instantiation and Implementation of the Generic Autonomic Network Architecture (GANA) Model onto Heterogeneous Wireless Access Technologies using Cognitive Algorithms.

TR 103 626 for Int blog

This Technical Report provides a mapping of architectural components for Autonomic Network Management & Control developed/implemented in the European Commission (EC) funded WiSHFUL and ORCA Projects to the ETSI TC INT AFI Generic Autonomic Networking Architecture (GANA) model - an architectural reference model for autonomic networking, cognitive networking and self-management.

The mapping pertains to architectural components for autonomic decision-making and associated control-loops in wireless network architectures and their associated management and control architectures.



ETSI hosted ENI#12 meeting and Proof of Concept (PoC) Demos in its headquarters in Sophia Antipolis, France, on 9-12 December 2019. The meeting can be summarized as follows:

  • 34 delegates present F2F out of 41 registered, (Vodafone & NTT participating with email)
  • 7 operators represented, from Asia and Europe
  • 110 documents handled

On 9 & 10 December there were demos of most of the completed and progressing PoCs PoC#1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7. This generated discussions and interest with other ETSI members and participants of meetings in the ETSI HQs at the same week. Especially, delegates from Industry Specification Group (ISG) Zero-touch network and Service Management (ZSM) and Technical Committee (TC) SmartM2M.

ENI12blog 1 ENI12blog 2



ETSI ISG NFV was warmly welcomed back to Japan for NFV#28! Five years have passed since the group was in Okinawa in May 2014 for NFV#6.

This time, the ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group (ISG) met from 2 to 6 December 2019 at Across Fukuoka in Fukuoka, Japan. Fukuoka is located on the north of Kyushu, the southernmost of the four major Japanese islands. Fukuoka is well known for its local food, especially, the Hakata-Ramen, which are extremely tasteful and popular. In addition, it was the perfect season to see autumn leaves in Japan.

Group photo with participants of NFV#28 

In the opening plenary, Diego Lopez the ISG chairman, shared his current perspectives on NFV standardization and the industry’s landscape using a Japanese cartoon. I feel the technology trends around the network industry are getting shorter whilst the scope continues to broaden in response to the demands of network technology evolution, the expansion of open source, and new use cases. I think our ETSI NFV community is adjusting towards the right way forward from a standards point of view and cooperating with other SDOs remains important. Release 4 is going at full speed, and as an example, the discussion around container technology and its adaptation for NFV use cases is gaining much more momentum, with an increasing number of work items and related contributions.



Rationale

Technical Committee (TC) INT Working Group (WG) AFI delivered:

  • TS 103 195-2 - “Autonomic Network Engineering for the Self-Managing Future Internet (AFI); Generic Autonomic Network Architecture (GANA)”
  • TS 103 194 - ”Scenarios, Use Cases and Requirements for Autonomic /Self-Managing Future Internet”
  • ETSI White Paper No.16 on “ETSI GANA Model and GANA Implementation Guide”, complemented by
  • ETSI 5G PoC White Paper No.4

AFI WG is also running a series of 5G PoC Demos aiming at operationalizing this “GANA Multi-layer AI Framework for AMC” (Autonomic Management & Control):

AFI WG is driving a PoC Program on other various topics pertaining to the introduction of Autonomics in various network architectures and their associated management and control architectures.



The 7th UCAAT (User Conference on Advanced Automated Testing) was held at Bordeaux on 22-24 October 2019.

ETSI Technical Committee INT presented the pdfcurrent work on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Test Systems and Testing AI Models for Autonomic (Closed-Loop) Network Automation.

Artificial Intelligence Models (AI Models) are enablers for advanced intelligence in the Management and Control operations now strongly required for the evolving and future networks such as 5G Networks. AI algorithms bring benefits to diverse aspects in development and deployment of AI exhibiting systems such as Autonomic and Cognitive 5G networks and their associated Autonomic Management and Control (AMC) systems. This presentation covers the work launched under the ETSI TC INT AFI WG 5G PoC Program on “AI in Test Systems and Testing AI Models” articulated around the three following topics:

  • The benefits AI brings to Test Systems (e.g. in reduction of Test Suites execution time in Performance Testing complex systems)
  • Testing AI Models for autonomic and cognitive management & control of network resources, parameters and services—using a “Qualified Automated Test Component(s) or System” that exhibit best quality AI capabilities for testing those of AI Component(s)/System Under Test
  • Generic Test Framework for Testing ETSI GANA (Generic Autonomic Network Architecture) Model’s Multi-Layer Autonomics & AI Algorithms for Closed-Loop Network Automation


Quite some time has passed since my last blog entry, and while I thought about a new blog a number of times, a good topic – i.e. one which is appropriate for discussion in a short, informal and public format - just did not seem to present itself. That’s not for the lack of interest or activity in MEC. 2019 is shaping up to be a critical year in which many operators are now public about their plans for edge computing, initial deployments are appearing and, as expected, holes in what the industry has been working on are beginning to be found (witness the much publicized and excellent Telefonica presentation at last month’s Edge Compute Congress). It’s just that it’s hard to blog about on-going work, even when it is very active, much less about internal efforts of various players in MEC. After all, what would that look like “this is hard and we are working hard on it…”

Nevertheless, the time has come. Those of you who follow my random MEC thoughts on a semi-regular basis might recall the subject of that last post ages ago (I mean in February): the need for both a vibrant Open Source community and Standards development in a space like MEC; and how the two are complimentary in that the focus is, by definition, on complimentary problems. And, if you don’t follow me religiously, here is the link: https://www.etsi.org/newsroom/blogs/entry/do-we-still-need-standards-in-the-age-of-open-source, grab a coffee, tea, a…. whatever … and read up!




ETSI ZSM group now prepares for the next term of activity.

The ETSI ZSM group was formed with the goal to accelerate the definition of the end-to-end service management architecture, spanning both legacy and virtualized network infrastructure, to enable automatic execution of operational processes and tasks. The pivotal deployment of 5G and network slicing has triggered the need for a radical change in the way networks and services are managed and orchestrated. Full end-to-end automation of network and service management has become an urgent necessity for delivering services with agility and speed and ensuring the economic sustainability of the very diverse set of services offered by Digital Service Providers. The ultimate automation target is to enable largely autonomous networks which will be driven by high-level policies and rules (AKA intent); these networks will be capable of self-configuration, self-monitoring, self-healing and self-optimization without further human intervention. All this requires a new horizontal and vertical end-to-end architecture framework designed for closed-loop automation and optimized for data-driven machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms.

A major milestone was reached during the summer of 2019 with the publication of GS ZSM 001 (ZSM Requirements), GS ZSM 002 (ZSM Reference Architecture) and GS ZSM 007 (ZSM Terminology).

ZSM blog 2019 GS ZSM 001 ZSM blog 2019 GS ZSM 001 ZSM blog 2019 GS ZSM 001



Participant photo

The ENI#11 meeting was hosted by China Telecommunications in the research & development labs in Beijing on 24-26 September 2019.

  • 31 people were registered, emails were received from ISG members not able to be in Beijing, their views were considered
  • Operators were present: TIM, China Telecom, China Mobile, NTT and Portugal Telecom
  • 3 Government Ministry Institutes are members, China, Japan and South Korea
  • 131 documents were handled


The Telco industry is heading towards a very interesting phase. Open source (OS) deployments are looking very promising. On the one hand there is the delivery of more flexible, simpler and agile deployments. On the other hand, the success of the current business is based on high quality solutions based on standards. There is no doubt that the success of the Telco industry will not attain the high current level without standards. ETSI, 3GPP, GSMA, etc. have done a great job.

But it is also clear that the way standards are created is evolving and taking on board the best of the open source community methods. An important discussion is how can both camps learn from each other.

Deutsche Telekom hosted a Conference on this topic at DT Headquarters in Bonn, on 9 and 10 September. The conference took place ahead the ETSI ZSM#8 workshop. The supporting organizations were ETSI, Linux Foundation and Telecom TV. Open Source Networking (OSN) Days of Linux Foundation were also embedded into the conference.

The purpose of the event was to discuss the enhancement of the collaboration and cooperation between SDO and OS. ETSI and LFN are good representatives of both parts of the industry. TM Forum (TMF) was invited as well. 



For its 27th plenary meeting, the ETSI Industry Specific Group (ISG) on Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) met at Orange Gardens, the recent Research and Innovation Campus of Orange, located in Châtillon, a small town in the outskirts of Paris, France. The meeting is to be remembered as the one where the contents of NFV Release 4 started to materialize with the approval of 8 work items.

The opening session started with an uplifting presentation from Diego Lopez, the chairman of the ISG, highlighting the challenges to be addressed by standardization bodies to cope with the transformation of the telco industry ecosystem and processes. I liked the comment he made to invite delegates to resist the temptation of creating new terms and acronyms (e.g. Cloud-Native Network Functions / CNF vs. Virtualised Network Functions / VNF) to catch-up with buzzwords. After all, whether the software of a VNF is designed according to cloud-native patterns or not, the VNF remains a VNF!

After the opening plenary, the bulk of the work was performed during three intense days where delegates divided in six working groups to process hundreds of contributions.

Group photo of participants at 27th NFV plenary meeting



More and more consumer products contain wireless network connectivity either providing local short range connectivity to other devices or are directly connected to the internet – raising the risk of hacks or personal data breaches. Smart speakers, connected toys, domestic appliances and smart locks are all potentially vulnerable if not adequately secured by design and during their expected lifespan. As an example the Furby Connect doll with Bluetooth connectivity, enabled anyone within 100 feet to hack its wireless connection and access its microphone. Given that this product was intended for use by children, such a fundamental security flaw was especially unfortunate.

Everyone recognises there’s a problem, but exactly how to solve it isn’t yet well-defined. Governments are still developing legislation to improve security and product labelling, and to protect personal data. However, given the poor security of many current and historic IoT products regulation alone is not going to solve the problem overnight.

This leaves product vendors in a difficult position, with a need for clear direction in consumer IoT security. To fill this gap, ETSI recently announced ETSI TS 103 645, the first worldwide standard for consumer IoT security. This sets a benchmark for how to secure consumer products connected to the internet, and aims to promote best practice.



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.



The ZSM#7 meeting was hosted by Intel on 17-21 June, 2019, at their headquarters in the sunny city of Santa Clara, California.

ZSM7 2019

The meeting was highly productive and significant progress was made. In a nutshell, we are now finalizing the work on the ZSM requirements and architecture. The final drafts for approval of these specifications will be available during July 2019 and publication is expected to take place in September. In addition, we advanced the work on the means of automation, end-to-end management and the orchestration of network slicing as well as on the ZSM landscape. We agreed on the skeleton of the end-to-end cross-domain service orchestration and automation specification. Noteworthy is the kickoff of a whole bunch of new work items dedicated to closed-loop automation.



After a year long effort, ETSI has just released the first specification of a Yet Another Next Generation (YANG) data model for NFV descriptors, ETSI GS NFV-SOL 006. The specification is based on ETSI GS NFV-IFA 011 and ETSI GS NFV-IFA 014, and can be found on the ETSI server, with the corresponding YANG files can be found on the Forge website. The specification covers VNFD, PNFD and NSD. It enables on-boarding of NFV descriptors on YANG-based MANO functions, in a standard way. The flexibility and the ability to define network services, and to do it quickly is the true strength of the specification.



The ETSI NFV community met for its twenty sixth plenary meeting (NFV#26) from 20-24 May 2019 at NFV’s home, ETSI Headquarters, in Sophia-Antipolis, France.

Photo of ETSI main building in drone view

Visiting the breezy and sunny Provence and Cote d’Azur in May is always quite an experience. Many of our meeting delegates were greeted this time at Nice Airport, by photographers (and paparazzi). The reason for such a warm welcome might not be due to the Cannes Film Festival taking place the same week, but instead due to “our NFV stars” setting down, yet again, for another productive and successful meeting.

Meeting room with chair people of nfv#26 plenary meeting

While the NFV#25 plenary meeting served as a warm-up for what would come after Release 3, NFV#26 should be forever remembered as the kicking-off of Release 4. Let me elaborate more on this.


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