Back to Normal at SCTE!
Expo attendees explore 5G CBRS, AI/ML analytics, and cybersecurity solutions for fixed and mobile networks.
With the pandemic receding and many folks simply ready to get on with their business lives, the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo was back to normal this year. The show floor was bustling with activity, keeping NETSCOUT personnel busy right up to the closing bell. Several Philadelphia locals from Comcast visited the exhibition floor during the afternoons, along with network operations, engineering, business analysis, and security representatives from other cable/multiple-system operators (MSOs), including Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Sparklight, and Altice USA.
What were they interested in?
Deploying the latest 5G wireless technology to enable new services and reducing mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) fees (those fees cable/MSOs pay to wireless carriers for their subscribers that roam off Wi-Fi and onto cellular networks) are the key drivers for cable/MSOs looking at 5G Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS). 4G/LTE CBRS has been around for a while, but 5G CBRS enables a myriad of new services powered by 5G technology. With that powerful technology, however, comes complexity from the radio access network (RAN) for deploying 5G radios most cost-effectively, monitoring and optimizing them, moving to a cloud or virtualized infrastructure with both the RAN and the core, and adding new edge computing. Having continuous visibility allows network operations and engineering teams to do their job.
Faster network speeds mean a lot more data is generated. Looking for a particular network issue becomes hunting the proverbial needle in the haystack. More data doesn’t mean more network operations and engineering folks to do the troubleshooting either, so prioritizing network and service issues is paramount. At this year’s expo, NETSCOUT demonstrated our new Omnis Automation along with Omnis Voice and Omnis Wi-Fi applications, introduced earlier this year. Using machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) routines to crunch through the data, Omnis not only identifies all the network, service, and device outliers but prioritizes the most business-impacting issues.
With all that is going on in the world, keeping the network secure has never been more challenging—especially with the work-location transition over the past few years. With the increased dependency on home communications for remote workers and the continued movement of services to the cloud, security teams face increased threats coming at them from new directions.
At the expo, NETSCOUT fielded many questions and concerns from our customers in regards to identifying security threats within their fixed and mobile networks. With Omnis Cyber Intelligence (OCI), NETSCOUT can identify not only anomalies in the network and infected hosts but also who those hosts communicated with and their communication flow all the way down to the packet-level details. Customers were excited to see our guided workflows for continual attack-surface monitoring and proactive alerting that enables them to find and remediate anomalies with a level of speed, simplicity, and granularity they have not previously had.
Once again, the takeaway from SCTE 22 is a very positive one for the industry. The cable/MSOs came to Philadelphia to see solutions and be heard. With the continuous evolution of the network, cable operators have a lot of work to do—and a lot of opportunities to take advantage of with new service-enabling technology. But technology changes usually mean additional complexity for which new management tools are needed. Equipment vendors such as NETSCOUT were happy to participate in the Philadelphia event and engage with the cable operators and MSOs on their journey.
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