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Volume 7 Issue 1
Jan.  2020

IEEE/CAA Journal of Automatica Sinica

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Hira Zahid, Tariq Mahmood, Ahsan Morshed and Timos Sellis, "Big Data Analytics in Telecommunications: Literature Review and Architecture Recommendations," IEEE/CAA J. Autom. Sinica, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 18-38, Jan. 2020. doi: 10.1109/JAS.2019.1911795
Citation: Hira Zahid, Tariq Mahmood, Ahsan Morshed and Timos Sellis, "Big Data Analytics in Telecommunications: Literature Review and Architecture Recommendations," IEEE/CAA J. Autom. Sinica, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 18-38, Jan. 2020. doi: 10.1109/JAS.2019.1911795

Big Data Analytics in Telecommunications: Literature Review and Architecture Recommendations

doi: 10.1109/JAS.2019.1911795
Funds:  This work was supported in part by the Big Data Analytics Laboratory (BDA-LAB) at the Institute of Business Administration under the research grant approved by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (www.hec.gov.pk) and in part by the Darbi company (www.darbi.io)
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  • This paper focuses on facilitating state-of-the-art applications of big data analytics (BDA) architectures and infrastructures to telecommunications (telecom) industrial sector. Telecom companies are dealing with terabytes to petabytes of data on a daily basis. IoT applications in telecom are further contributing to this data deluge. Recent advances in BDA have exposed new opportunities to get actionable insights from telecom big data. These benefits and the fast-changing BDA technology landscape make it important to investigate existing BDA applications to telecom sector. For this, we initially determine published research on BDA applications to telecom through a systematic literature review through which we filter 38 articles and categorize them in frameworks, use cases, literature reviews, white papers and experimental validations. We also discuss the benefits and challenges mentioned in these articles. We find that experiments are all proof of concepts (POC) on a severely limited BDA technology stack (as compared to the available technology stack), i.e., we did not find any work focusing on full-fledged BDA implementation in an operational telecom environment. To facilitate these applications at research-level, we propose a state-of-the-art lambda architecture for BDA pipeline implementation (called LambdaTel) based completely on open source BDA technologies and the standard Python language, along with relevant guidelines. We discovered only one research paper which presented a relatively-limited lambda architecture using the proprietary AWS cloud infrastructure. We believe LambdaTel presents a clear roadmap for telecom industry practitioners to implement and enhance BDA applications in their enterprises.


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  • 1The complete list of indexed resources is not made public by Google.
    2Mobile Network Operators.
    3Where necessary, we have itemized the paper discussion of validation-related papers to enhance readability.
    4We have adapted this architecture from one of our previous works [86].
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    • Systematic literature review on big data analytics applications to telecom sector.
    • Only 38 research articles published in total with no industrial deployment use case.
    • Classification of articles across the standard big data analytics technology stack.
    • Propose and implement a lambda architecture for big data analytics in telecom.
    • Many research gaps in the face of the rapidly expanding big data technology stack.


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