Madhu Nair, country manager and director, sales, India and SAARC countries, Spirent Communications

Spirent Communications is one of the leading global providers of automated testing and assurance solutions for next-generation devices and networks. It provides products, services and information for high speed Ethernet, positioning and mobile network infrastructure markets, while expanding its focus on service assurance, cybersecurity and 5G. In an interview with tele.net, Madhu Nair, country manager and director, sales, India and SAARC countries, talks about India’s evolving 5G ecosystem and the role of Spirent in supporting stakeholders across the 5G value chain such as communication service providers (CSPs), network equipment providers and device makers…

What are your views on the evolving 5G ecosystem in India? How is Spirent contributing to this development?

In India, telecom operators are advancing to build 5G networks while strengthening their 4G infrastructure for the arrival of 5G and deploying technologies for radio, core and transport networks. As networks continue to evolve, collaboration among players across the ecosystem has become essential. Further, CSPs are accelerating network testing, spanning a range of network elements and complex architectures, to bring higher stability and endurance while reducing complexity and costs. Operators have begun to embrace the open and virtual network infrastructure and 5G is catalysing significant developments in next-generation networks. Telcos are approaching new technologies to provide network and service assurance and, at the same time, minimise costs and improve the time-to-market for the delivery of 5G offerings.

Spirent is supporting the 5G-driven engagements of telecom operators, network equipment manufacturers and device makers, and helping customers prepare and embrace new opportunities. It is a world leader in 5G testing, assurance, analytics and security with end-to-end expertise and solutions that address the challenges pertaining to 5G, from lab to live network testing and assurance. Spirent’s solutions are trusted by customers around the globe. They help accelerate the journey to 5G with agility and safety and ensure that 5G services live up to end-user expectations.

Under the Indian government’s Make in India initiative, we are supporting 5G manufacturers in the Indian ecosystem. We guide them and help them test their solutions using Spirent state-of-the-art test equipment, solutions and methodologies.

What are the key requirements for the successful validation and testing of 5G networks?

Network equipment manufacturers and telecom operators are accelerating 5G stand-alone timetables. It is important for telecom operators to expedite system testing, emulating real-world conditions.

There has been a surge in new technologies and innovations, which has increased the complexity of networks and devices. By delivering a broad set of 5G test and assurance solutions, Spirent is helping service providers simplify testing of 5G networks and reduce the complexity. It creates test solutions not just for existing and evolving standards, but also for new technologies for delivering 5G transport, such as slicing packet network testing. Spirent’s advanced mobile core network performance testing solution is capable of simulating millions of mobile data subscribers accessing wireless networks in various modes, allowing carriers to perform accurate tests on 5G core networks, and radio and transportation infrastructure to assure that they are ready for 5G commercialisation.

What are the key challenges faced by network technicians in testing next-generation networks?

In view of the most dramatic technology disruptions, along with the increasing diversity and complexity of next-generation networks, the industry continues to determine how the network is managed and delivered. This experience poses several challenges for network engineers and technicians to test and validate the networks of tomorrow. Network technicians need to test new network functions, monitor, measure and validate networks, and deploy services, ranging from traditional performance testing to the rigorous analysis of virtualisation, cloud computing, mobile backhaul, security and high speed Ethernet.

What are the key emerging trends in the 5G testing space globally?

The world is safely accelerating 5G deployments as it is a dynamic, near-real-time and high performance technology. It will introduce fundamental changes in how testing, validation, assurance and security are addressed. With large-scale deployments of 5G, recent reports suggest that in 2019 North America led the testing equipment market followed by Europe, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, the Middle East and Africa, and South America.

Accelerating the timelines, telecom operators in the APAC region are rapidly deploying 5G networks and thus 5G testing has picked up pace in the region’s markets.