Boingo NOC is “nerve center” of company’s global operations
Inside the Boingo Wireless offices in Los Angeles, California, a team of experts man the company’s network operations center 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, monitoring nearly 300,000 network elements, including 31,000 distributed antenna system nodes, 75,000 Wi-Fi access points, eight corporate offices, six data centers and five Amazon Web Services cloud regions.
The network infrastructure that is monitored from Boingo’s NOC provides connectivity for travelers waiting to board flights in airports around the world; for sports fan cheering on their team at stadiums throughout the U.S.; for the men and women of the Armed Forces deployed around the world; and for residents of multi-family residents.
As Boingo VP of Service Management Scott Hester put it: “Connectivity is becoming like people’s oxygen. It has to be ubiquitous and it has to be at peak performance–every upload, every download, every tweet or streaming video, it has to be a great experience.”
In an exclusive interview with RCR Wireless News, Chief Technology Officer Derek Peterson referred to Boing’s NOC as the company’s operational “nerve center. It’s grabbing everything from all our networks. And that’s for Wi-Fi as well as our cellular networks, as well as our IoT devices we have inside venues, our TV systems–it all goes through there.”
A major part of Boingo’s approach to providing a high-end network experience is using machine learning and artificial intelligence developed in-house to streamline NOC operations through automation.
“For me,” Peterson said, “automation and intelligence have to go together. AI is a very important part of our NOC and how we work inside the NOC…taking that intelligence that’s coming from the network to make it so we’re responsive to the changes that are happening.
Peterson explained Boingo developed its AI software in-house with an initial focus on building a capable data lake augmented by deep packet inspection at both the user and network equipment levels. “You have all this data available to you and once you have it all, it’s about joining that data and developing these processes and procedures.”
He described the approach using the acronym SMART: S–secure, M–multiple technologies, A–analytics-driven, R–responsive, and T–tiered. “We’ve got to recognize that we need to tier the solution to the different use cases,” Peterson said. “Our focus is on customer experiences. That’s where we’ve been marching to; how do we build smart network to be able to meet their needs?”