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Vodafone and Nokia Build System to Detect Network Problems

Tuesday, July 20th, 2021 (3:02 pm) - Score 1,800
vodafone 5g antenna

Mobile operator Vodafone has announced that they’re rolling out a new machine learning (ML) algorithm across their UK and pan-European mobile network(s), which has been designed with support from Nokia’s Bell Labs R&D division to “detect and correct anomalies [in their network] before they impact customers.”

The new Anomaly Detection Service (ADS) autonomously detects if a 4G or 5G mobile cell site or area is showing “out of the ordinary behaviour” which, if allowed to go undetected for an extended period, could impact the quality of service to customers.

The system – deployed via Vodafone’s Cloud platform – can quickly identify issues such as network congestion, interference, unexpected latency, difficulty in handing calls between different cells or call setup failures. In short, this enables Vodafone’s engineers to address such issues at a quicker pace, ideally before customers start to complain.

In addition to detecting anomalies, the algorithm also identifies patterns of change to allow Vodafone’s operating companies to proactively address issues before they impact the customer. Once active, Vodafone expects the new service to support its ambition to automatically detect and address 80% of all anomalous mobile network issues and capacity demands.

Johan Wibergh, CTO of Vodafone, said:

“We are building an automated and programmable network that can respond quickly to our customers’ needs. As we extend 5G across Europe, it is important to match the speed and responsiveness of this new technology with a great service. With machine learning, we can ensure a consistently high-quality performance that is as smart as the technology behind it.”

Raghav Sahgal, Nokia’s President of Cloud and Network Services, said:

“We are pleased to celebrate the first commercial deployment of our solution with Vodafone, running on the public cloud. By analyzing network data our machine-learning algorithms can detect anomalies impacting network operations and performance, helping Vodafone engineers to pre-empt and rapidly resolve issues.”

An initial deployment of the ADS has already taken place in Italy on a live network of more than 60,000 4G cells and this is now being extended to cover all of their European markets by “early 2022.”

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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12 Responses
  1. André says:

    This is really interesting! I assumed abnormal situations were already flagged to engineering teams, I didn’t realise they still relied so heavily on customer reporting for outage detection?

    1. Jon says:

      Networks do have active monitoring down to radio site level. Customer fault reporting is one aspect of network operations, but not the only one – it’s a good safety net for when other monitoring systems miss issues.

  2. Michael V says:

    Anomaly Detection Service…. Sounds like the Anomaly Detector system from the TV series PRIMEVAL on itv!

    Other than that. Well done Vodafone!
    All networks need this.

  3. Ringo says:

    A few weeks back, I got a text there were network issues in my area on VF.
    Two days later I get another one saying it’s all fixed.
    Two days after that, I got another one saying network issues.

    Each time, calls and texts would work fine, but data would crawl at 1 or 2mbit and 0.1mbit upload. I can’t wait to leave VF. They can’t be bothered to bring 5G to towns, only cities and there’s a mast for each network just down the end of my road but not for Vodafone, no their masts are along the A1 for some reason and a good 2-3km from me.

    1. CJ says:

      For towns in the east, there are no Vodafone masts. The Vodafone network in the east is managed for them by O2, except in large cities where the joint network arrangement is being unwound and replaced with separate Vodafone and O2 networks.

      You will probably get a better Vodafone experience if you disable 4G on your phone and use 3G instead. Or just change network.

    2. Ryan says:

      I do agree you’re probably get roughly the same speed on 3G on Vodafone in 02 controlled areas.

      I live in the west coast in my area Vodafone broadcast 4G on 800/2100/2600Mhz speed is decent.

      If you go east into a 02 host are 4G even in populated areas is just band 20 (800Mhz) sure it’s good for coverage but near useless for speed and capacity.

      Here a map showing where 02/Vodafone area are https://static.pedroc.co.uk/images/vodafone_and_o2_beacon_1_and_2/vodafone_o2_beacon_vendor_areas.png

      If you live in a Vodafone area you’re probably alright but if you’re in a 02 area you might as well join EE if you want a good 4G.

    3. Ryan says:

      I should of said in most 02 area is just band 20 4G for Vodafone am sure some might be more than just band 20

  4. Alex says:

    ah the old ‘fix it before they report it’ BS

  5. Leave a Reply says:

    Is there any system already in place that will let them know once Anomaly Detection Service will fail?

    1. Ryan says:

      Yes, angry customers on live chat hopefully thier is something.

  6. Mark says:

    Clearly not working here. When O2 was added to the existing Vodafone mast the signal dropped to nothing, 50 metres away line of sight the signal goes, O2 no drop strong signal, reported, they say all fine, that was 4 years ago still not sorted.

  7. Buggerlugz says:

    Having an Anomaly Detection Service is all well and good if you’re prepared to back it up with funding for boots on the ground to resolve the issues. Unfortunately too many carriers rely on complaining customers and then do absolutely nothing to fix it most of the time, due to it being too costly.

    So this is probably nothing more than another marketing gimmick.

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