Adva Optical Networking has added zero-touch provisioning capabilities to its FSP 150 ProNID edge devices, allowing service providers to accelerate new service activation while driving down operational costs.
The company says that by removing manual intervention in the provisioning, testing and activation of demarcation equipment, it is simplifying how service providers configure the network edge.
This concept also avoids the expense and effort caused by human error and significantly improves scalability, the company says. Additionally, the technology is fully secure as it uses well established cryptographic methods to safely authenticate devices and ensure the integrity of software and configuration data.
While Ensemble Connector, Adva’s NFVi software solution, already supports automated device configuration and service provisioning, it is being applied to a wider portfolio. This will enable service providers to get a consistent approach to automated service activation with edge compute node as well as simple service demarcation devices.
“Any requests for information we get these days are requesting automation,” said Ulrich Kohn, director of technical marketing for ADVA Optical Networking in an interview with FierceTelecom. “The IETF method to zero touch provisioning with Yang is creating momentum as a standard with strong security capabilities.”
Kohn said what’s driving the need for automation in the service provider network is the growing emphasis on deploying network edge devices whether that is a small cell or a white box device to deliver business services.
“What’s making network automation relevant is the growing number of edge devices service providers must install at the edge of the network,” Kohn said. “You have to compromise the additional costs and automation is a good way to counter the threat of higher operational costs on your network.”
Adding automation capabilities to the FSP 150 demarcation devices makes sense, particularly as Adva continues to sell a large amount of these solutions.
Kohn said that Adva installs over “10,000 of the FSP 150 devices per month and this will unify the way to automatically provision and secure services at the edge of the network.”
Easing customer activation
By using Adva’s zero-touch provisioning technology, service providers can activate new customer sites without sending highly skilled technicians on time-consuming and costly on-site visits.
All customers need to do is connect the edge device to the network. It then authenticates itself and establishes a secure connection to a server holding the latest firmware and configuration data.
The firmware and software patches are then installed and, in the case of edge compute nodes, the new services are downloaded, instantiated and taken live. All the new capabilities are closely aligned with IETF ZTP and Call Home specifications, building on widely accepted NETCONF protocol and YANG device modeling language.
Whether it’s a business site or a cell site, a service provider can have the device delivered to the location and automatically activated to ease network turn up times.
“The devices can be directly shipped and is automatically activated,” Kohn said.
Focus on security
Another element of the new FSP 150 automation capabilities is ensuring network security.
Traditionally, a service provider had to install the equipment at a site manually, a process that enabled them to ensure its security.
“If you think about the value the service provider’s technicians when they manually install gear, they get security functions,” Kohn said. If they send out someone who hand carries equipment, they can be sure nobody has added any malicious code to the devices.”
But when these devices are put into an automated fashion, there’s a greater need to ensure security.
“If a service provisions a new service fully automated and the customer does not see the box ever, it needs to come with a lot of security functions,” Kohn said. “That’s a key focus of our implementation.”
Specifically, Adva’s FSP 150 edge device comes with already loaded security certificates. If it is on site it can automatically authenticate with the network to securely connect with servers in the network and upload the latest firmware and configuration files only after the software loads are validated with digital signatures.
Kohn said that service providers and end customers can have a choice of how the security functions can be configured and activated.
“Some customers might want to have all security already loaded on the device before it gets shipped to their site while others may want to activate security when it comes on site,” Kohn said.