There are compelling benefits to delivering government services over dark fibre within Openreach’s cable ducts. But that’s only the first step. You need the right network equipment to realise your vision for delivering faster, more efficient, more innovative services.

As with all technology decisions, choosing equipment to light fibre is a delicate balancing act. You need the right functionality, mission-critical reliability, and cost-efficiency. How can you get the balance just right?

When it comes to lighting dark fibre, not all technology solutions are equal.

- Simon Parry, CTO for UK Public Sector

Here are our five top tips to help you choose the right optical technology:

Tip 1: Reduce costs with a right-sized network solution
Make sure the network solution is fit for purpose. Many solutions are too big and expensive, and you end up paying for more than you need. Or they’re unable to scale, which means you end up replacing them and losing your initial investment.

To help maximise returns on your network investments, Ciena offers right-sized optical networking solutions based on one of the industry’s broadest product portfolio. That means you can start small—delivering 100 Mb/s services for your government customers with a low initial investment. Alternatively, you can choose to deploy Ciena’s packet-optical networking solutions, which can scale to deliver services as needed, up to Terabits of capacity at an extremely low cost per bit.

Tip 2: Build services that government customers trust
Government organisations and departments rely on ISPs’ services to support their mission-critical operations. Taking risks with network equipment isn’t an option.

At Ciena, we’ve built a market-leading reputation based on the quality and reliability of our optical portfolio. We were named the leading optical vendor in the 2016 IHS Markit Leadership Survey, coming joint first in key categories such as product reliability, service and support, and management software. We were also named as an individual winner for technology innovation, R&D, investment, and solution breadth.

Tip 3: Support Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) innovation
To maximise value for government customers, you need network equipment that supports digital transformation—including increasingly common NFV initiatives.

With Ciena, the move to virtualised network components is faster and easier. For example, our 3906 Service Virtualisation Switch allows you to replace legacy components with virtual routers and firewalls, providing all the orchestration features required to make them work together seamlessly.

Tip 4: Stay open to avoid vendor lock-in
Some optical network solutions lock you in with particular vendors, limiting innovation and increasing costs.

Ciena’s open design principles ensure that your network stays totally open. Open APIs and technologies like Software-Defined Networking (SDN) enable integration. If there’s no API, you can build one or we can do it for you, which means you always stay in control of your technology strategy.

Tip 5: Save on admin with network automation
Choosing an extremely low-cost, commodity network infrastructure might seem like a good deal, but you could quickly spend far more than planned on manual configuration and network management. The best approach is to choose network equipment with built-in software that automates costly manual management and support processes.

Ciena leads the field when it comes to network automation with Blue Planet software. This not only configures network equipment automatically, but our networks are also self-testing, self-managing, and self-healing—delivering huge time and cost savings for our customers.