Skip navigation
Like what you’re reading?

Intent-Based Automation: The next evolution of network orchestration

Ericsson together with AT&T Labs successfully completes initial phase of industry-first Proof of Concept (PoC) of Intent-based Automation solution on a Standalone 5G core.

automation and orchestration, Network Slicing, Datacenter, network exposure

Network operations are evolving to become more intelligent, leveraging automation to deliver superior network experience despite challenges from increasing complexity and scale. One specific tool: intent-based automation (IBA) enables service providers to define the behavior they expect from their network, then intuitively translate it into real-time network action.

Ericsson is working with AT&T to define and develop specialized and differentiated IBA services empowered by the 5G Standalone (SA) ecosystem, including a proof-of-concept (PoC) solution at AT&T’s Advanced Wireless Technology 5G testbed in Austin, Texas.

Standalone 5G enables ultra-reliable, low latency services, and dramatically enhances both uplink and downlink performance with the enablement of multi-carrier aggregation, dual connectivity, and multi-layer MIMO. These capabilities are opening up new possibilities for network management automation, creating networks that can continuously monitor and adjust with minimal manual oversight.

How IBA works

IBA is enabling the transformation of Communications Services Provider (CSP) networks into self-driving networks that leverage AI and machine learning to drive business and even sustainability goals. Intent-based networks are built using powerful and intelligent machine reasoning technologies. In these systems, formal specifications of all expectations including requirements, goals, and constraints are given to a technical system.

Picture the adaptive steering and cruise control features in your car. You can define objectives like “desired speed of 55 mph” or “maintain a certain distance between you and the car in front of you so you don’t hit it.” The car (system) will then automatically adjust gas and gear to meet the intended speed and, if needed, use the brake (or steering) to avoid hitting a car in front of or to the side of you.

IBA allows CSPs to define and set measurable objectives or “intents,” whether it’s a certain uplink or downlink throughput, end-to-end latency, priorities, or hierarchies between defined objectives.

Working with AT&T to deliver IBA on 5G standalone

Since 2021, Ericsson and AT&T have worked together on the proof of concept in Austin. The project consists of an E2E, 5G SA network, using C-band spectrum with a specialized IBA server and supports both open loop and closed loop algorithms with a machine learning model. The machine learning model is used to manage resources to meet intents and handle contention of resources between slices/prioritized use cases independent of time-varying traffic conditions.

This is done using radio resource partitioning and three network slices with multiple users in each slice. Each partition has defined intents for bounded throughput on both the uplink and downlink with resource management and contention handling based on priority.

This new proof of concept provides an automated solution to meet user requirements for defined-minimum or bounded data rates with bounded latency for new applications and services for content consumption, generation, and/or business processes.

For the 2024 timeframe, AT&T and Ericsson will expand the scope of the project to support advanced service prioritization schemes and other features to support an on-premise, private, commercial deployment and definition of commercial architecture.

What’s Next?

Looking ahead, IBA will support mobility solutions like autonomous cars, as well as business solutions that require well-defined service-level architectures. As CSPs look to automate more tasks at scale in increasingly complex networks, IBA will play a large role in enterprise-level integrations, providing secure operations, increasing efficiency and helping to achieve business outcomes.

The Ericsson Blog

Like what you’re reading? Please sign up for email updates on your favorite topics.

Subscribe now

At the Ericsson Blog, we provide insight to make complex ideas on technology, innovation and business simple.