Smart Visibility Helps Carriers Keep Services Running and Networks Safe

Smart Visibility Helps Carriers Keep Services Running and Networks Safe

By John English and Praveen Chandel

Cable networks have never been tested more than in the past year, with companies seeing dramatic changes in traffic patterns and services, along with increased security attacks. Having holistic visibility to the network, service, and devices is fundamental to managing both this challenging environment and the continuing network evolution. That is where smart visibility comes in. Smart visibility, enabled by smart data (commonly defined as data that is prepared and organized at the collection point in such a way that it is ready and optimized for analytics at the highest quality and speed), helps communication service providers (CSPs) to better manage the performance of their network and services, including the analytics that provide business insights while protecting the network from DDoS attacks.

Four tenets make up the core foundation of smart visibility:

  1. Instrumentation provides the means to see the user traffic. Pervasive instrumentation across the network from edge to core is key to having the right visibility when troubleshooting network impairments, whether that network is a traditional physical network, virtualized infrastructure, or cloud-based.
  2. Accessibility provides the means to know whether subscribers are able to access the network and services. This enables CSPs to monitor and analyze control plane signaling to assure that users are successfully authenticated or are able to log in and access services.
  3. Usability provides the means to know that users are able to employ the services once they are successfully authenticated. Key indicators of the user experience of applications and services include latencies and throughput, last-mile packet loss, mean opinion score (MOS), and many other metrics.
  4. Retainability provides the means to know whether subscribers are consistently able to consume the services with good experience and minimal downtime. NETSCOUT’s smart visibility-based solution proactively monitors network traffic and has an early warning system that alerts network operations of service degradations in advance of outages so that carriers can take rapid action to address issues, resulting in a lower mean time to repair (MTTR).

Derived from universally available packet data that runs in the network, NETSCOUT smart data provides service layer metrics critical for assuring service availability and supporting service level agreements (SLAs). NETSCOUT smart data is a software solution optimized for the cloud, thus lowering the cost and complexity of utilizing packet data with control and user plane metrics across the premises, core network, and cloud.

Effective service layer management helps to maintain and drive subscriber and revenue growth. With continuous service layer visibility, which requires both active and passive monitoring, the network becomes a trusted entity. Smart data delivers value for service and security uses cases, because it provides deep situational awareness, facilitating collaboration among network operations teams to ensure secure, high-quality user experience along with threat detection/mitigation and early warning indicators.

Smart visibility is also extensible to the security of the network, enabling always-on DDoS detection. The real-time availability of smart data allows network operators to detect volumetric- and state-exhaustion attacks within one second, supports a security platform for managed services that scales to meet the growing number and size of attacks, and provides insights and reporting.

Going forward, smart data solutions will support automation and intelligent decisions using machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) for predictive and prescriptive outcomes. Being automation-friendly is a prerequisite for smart data, as the network continues its evolution to the cloud. And actionable information speeds up decision-making by recognizing patterns and deviations more rapidly than humanly possible.

In sum, smart data derived from smart visibility enables multiple-system/cable operators to better manage the performance of their network and services and gain business insights, all while protecting the network from DDoS attacks.

Learn more about smart visibility in this on-demand presentation.

This content was authored by John English, Director of Service Provider Marketing and Business Development with Praveen Chandel, Director, Cable and Wireline Solutions, CTO Office.