Section: Application Domains
Telecommunication network management
The management of telecommunication networks is traditionally a human performed activity that covers the five FCAPS functions: Fault management, network Configuration, Accounting, Performances and Security. This simple classification has exploded in the last decade, under the pressure of several phenomena. The first one concerns the growth in size and complexity of networks, with the emergence of new (possibly virtual) operators, the multiplication of vendors, new core and (wireless) access technologies, the variety of terminal devices, the convergence of phone/computer/radio/TV networks, the multiplication of services over the top, the necessity to provide QoS for a wide variety of traffic demands, etc. As a consequence, the management task is reaching the limits of human operators and demands automation. It is estimated that telecommunication companies spend over 50% of their manpower on management tasks. They naturally want to reduce it and dedicate their effort to the design and offer of innovative services, where the added value is more important (as witnessed by the success of some over-the-top companies). The result of these trends is that network management now covers a much wider variety of problems, for which automatic solutions are requested. This takes the name of self-management, or autonomic management: one wishes to manage networks by high-level objectives, and networks should be able to adapt themselves automatically to fulfill these objectives.
DistribCom is contributing to this field with its background on the modelling of distributed/concurrent systems, and its expertise in distributed algorithms. Networks are perfect examples of large distributed and concurrent systems, with specific features like the dynamicity (their structure evolves) and a hierarchical structure (multiple layers, multiple description granularities). We have proposed model-based distributed algorithms to solve problems like failure diagnosis, negotiation of QoS (quality of service) parameters, parameter optimization, graceful shutdown of OSPF routers for maintenance operations... The present activities in this domain are related to the joint diagnosis for access network + core network + services, within the European IP UniverSelf. The challenges cover self-modelling methods (how to obtain the network model that is used by the management algorithms), active diagnosis methods that both adapt the scope of their network model and perform tests to explain a fault situation, and self-healing methods.