Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
The ongoing quest for the tight integration of network operation and the network service provisioning initiated with the introduction of 5G often clashes with the capacity of current network architectures to provide means for such integration. Owing to the traditional design of mobile networks, which barely required a tight interaction, network elements offer capabilities for their continuous optimization just within their domain (eg, access, or core), allowing for a "silo-style" automation that falls short when aiming at closed-loop automation that embraces all the actors involved in the network, from network functions up to the service-provider network functions. To this end, in this article, we make the case for the network-wide capability exposure framework for closed-loop automation by (i) defining the different entities that shall expose capabilities, and (ii) discussing why the state of the art solutions are not enough to support this vision. Our proposed architecture, which relies on registration and discovery, and exposure functions, allows for enhanced use cases that are currently not possible with state of the art solution. We prove the feasibility of our solution by implementing it in a real-world testbed, employing Artificial Intelligence algorithms to close the loop for the management of the radio access network.