INSIGHTS

Practical Applications for Digital Twins in Telecom

7 min read ·

Aug 3

Abhishek Sandhir

Managing Director, Telecom

Last week, we hosted a webinar on using digital twins to increase profitability in telco businesses. The webinar raised many fascinating questions, particularly about the practical applications of digital twins within the telco industry. Let’s dig a bit deeper into two applications and approaches to use digital twins within telecommunications that demonstrate the breadth and depth of opportunities when engaging with this transformative technology.

Using digital twins for fiber networks

The infrastructure of fiber networks and fixed networks are complicated to the untrained eye, consisting of a large number of nodes, fiber cables, terminals, access points and ports. Data, in the form of packets, travels through these elements at the speed of light, enabling us to use all the communication, entertainment, and signaling services (such as utilities, alarms, and security).

If we compare this to fluids flowing through pipework, the elements of a fiber network are susceptible to similar problems: bottlenecks, leakages, broken connections, and faulty ports and cables.

A digital twin can emulate this entire network, as well as the flow of data through the nodes. By using test and measurement equipment, we can then monitor…

  • The flow of data
  • Node performance
  • A live feed of the data flow

 

…which then allows us to build a digital twin.

Using a digital twin in this capacity is very powerful: having such a virtual duplication of your network offers multiple benefits. By using AI in this manner, you can monitor large volumes of data and analyze it to produce actionable insights.

For example, fault prevention is much easier as you can see issues happening in real time, and then gather data on the patterns causing them. From there, preventative maintenance becomes much simpler, less time consuming, and less costly.

In addition, you can better harness your existing data to make decisions on capacity extension – say, if your network is clogged – or even plan better-placed network upgrades.

Ultimately, you will see a drastically reduced OpEx by installing a digital twin in this instance.

Using digital twins enables telecom companies to provide a higher quality of service, which in turn leads to lower churn and higher NPS.

Using digital twins for wireless sites

Many, if not all, wireless sites are installed in public spaces and are access controlled due to the potential impact they may have on traffic movement and the privacy of site owners. Despite these constraints, operators still need to maintain, monitor and attend to these sites. This issue can be fairly difficult to navigate, and many operators struggle to manage their radio infrastructure as effectively as needed.

By using high-resolution imagery from drones and satellites, all physical details and operating conditions of the infrastructure can be captured. Combined with test and measurement data from the site, this information can be used to build an asset digital twin. This digital twin can measure the performance of the infrastructure as a whole and help take corrective action.

Here, using digital twins eliminates the need to physically maintain the site unless absolutely necessary. In this application, digital twins massively reduce OpEx whilst enabling an improved approach towards fault prevention, preventative maintenance, capacity planning, and network upgrade decisions.

In summary, the use of digital twins in every instance can lead to a higher quality of service for telco companies. This improvement, in turn, leads to lower churn and higher NPS. Alongside this, you will also benefit from lower OpEx across the board and save time and money on what was previously reactive maintenance.

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