Legacy network equipment and processes are holding many operators back. This is because traditional architectures are typically inflexible and unable to scale rapidly on demand to handle the next-generation of revenue-generating services and use cases. Additionally, ageing, end-of-life infrastructure is increasingly complex and costly to manage, requiring expensive engineers with specialist skills who are often retiring faster than the legacy technologies themselves.

In extreme cases, operators are reduced to buying spare parts for their network infrastructure on auction sites, or from niche suppliers – increasing cost and reliability risks and resulting in frequent pay-outs for broken SLAs.

As an additional challenge, traditional network architectures are reaching their capacity limits. This means that operators frequently need to buy, install, commission and support new hardware before new services can be introduced, slowing down time to market and increasing equipment sprawl – along with real-estate, power and cooling and support costs.

To overcome these and other legacy network challenges, operators need agile, adaptive infrastructure that can provide virtually unlimited bandwidth on demand to meet the requirements of new services, with network and automation capabilities to speed up time to market and reduce costly manual development and provisioning. Modern, adaptive infrastructure can also help operators to improve their bottom line by consolidating complex legacy infrastructure and networks onto highly efficient Ethernet aggregation architectures. This makes it possible to dramatically reduce the network footprint, freeing up space in data centres and reducing equipment costs, power and cooling costs, maintenance costs, support requirements and more.

While the need to modernise networks and retire inefficient legacy infrastructure is clear however, many operators are delaying this critical task. In many cases, this is because the perceived risk associated with delivering technology and process modernisation initiatives has been too great, resulting in decisions to postpone or cancel them.

For many operators though, a major tipping point is approaching, driven by massive growth in traffic demands. With cloud computing, OTT video, 4G/5G backhaul and other high-bandwidth use cases putting networks under extreme pressure, maintaining the networking status quo is no longer an option. Instead, network modernisation has shifted from a ‘nice to have’ to a cut-and-dried business imperative. The only question for operators is how to deliver their modernisation objectives in the most efficient way possible, and with least possible risk to their business.

What does a modern, adaptive network look like?

To keep pace with traffic demands and minimise operational expenses, many operators are in the process of deploying modern network architectures built on adaptive technologies – including scalable packet-optical infrastructure, network orchestration and automation software. Typically, these kinds of networks offer several key benefits over and above more inflexible legacy networks:

1) Modern, Adaptive Network infrastructure is built on programmable components that can scale rapidly to meet the demands of today’s subscribers and services. This makes it much faster and more efficient to scale available bandwidth, and to provision and turn up new services on the network – helping operators reduce time to market and revenues and to minimise costly hardware design and deployment projects.

2) Adaptive Network infrastructure provides performance and capacity insights based on in-depth analytics of real-time telemetry data. This allows operators to understand network performance and available capacity in real time. They can also plan more effectively for future service launches and to evolve their infrastructures strategically to meet future traffic and customer demands.

3) Adaptive Network architectures are able to orchestrate multi-vendor network components and automate key networking processes such as resource provisioning for end to end services. This helps operators to accelerate time to market for new services, and to reduce manual workloads and resourcing costs.

4) Adaptive Network infrastructure is able to support legacy SDH services on a highly efficient, compact, converged architecture. This not only ensures continuity for utilities customers and others who depend on legacy SDH services every minute of every day, but it also dramatically reduces delivery costs by enabling operators to retire costly legacy network infrastructure and to maximise margins on legacy services.

Achieving successful network modernisation with a trusted network services partner

For many operators, technology evolution takes a central role in network modernisation initiatives. However, business transformation is just as important when it comes to preparing teams across the business to manage and monetise new infrastructure and services. For this reason, an increasing number of operators are engaging trusted network partners to support their modernisation journeys.

The best network modernisation partners offer end-to-end services to fully audit the operator’s existing network infrastructure and to establish a desired networking ‘end state’. Once this due diligence has been done, the network partner takes on full responsibility for designing, deploying, commissioning and testing adaptive network infrastructure that is capable of scaling on demand to handle current and future services, and automating provisioning and other key processes to reduce manual work and bring services to market faster.

Critically, the best network modernisation partners will also bring their skills and experience to bear to ensure continuity for existing SDH services from the legacy environment to the new, adaptive network. This is a critical benefit of passing responsibility for modernisation services to a trusted partner with specialist network skills and experience and an in-depth knowledge of legacy SDH infrastructure and services.

Why Ciena for network modernisation?

Ciena ensures the success of operators’ network modernisation initiatives based on a unique blend of industry leading adaptive infrastructure and an end-to-end modernisation services portfolio. We have brought our tried-and-tested network modernisation methodology to bear to help a number of operators modernise their network architectures.

In one case, we were able to help a European tier-1 carrier to quickly deploy new infrastructure and turn up new 100G connectivity services. In another case, we helped a leading carrier in the UK to upgrade its infrastructure, and to design and launch a new portfolio of business Ethernet services that is generating significant additional revenues for the business. Finally, we worked with another major tier-1 carrier to bring a new portfolio of highly price competitive international 100G services to market, supporting seamless flow of traffic from metro networks in major cities across long-haul links with no complex hand-off requirements or costs.

Ciena’s strength is our ability to provide both the technology and end-to-end services required for network modernisation.

Ciena’s unique network modernisation services proposition

As the leading network specialist, Ciena is able to support even the largest and most complex network modernisation projects. Our international deployment experience, in-depth knowledge of all network layers and domains, and multi-vendor knowledge and experience make us the ideal partner to drive forward our customers’ modernisation agendas.

Our end-to-end services proposition for network modernisation offers a number of unique benefits, including:

Minimised technology and business risks
Ciena’s skilled services teams and tried-and-tested, end-to-end network modernisation methodology ensure that operators can migrate from costly legacy infrastructure to more adaptive, scalable network infrastructure with the lowest possible risk to their businesses. Each stage of the journey – Initiation, Discovery, Planning, Execution, and Closure – is delivered on time and on budget according to strict quality criteria.

Continuity for legacy SDH services
Ciena’s services teams have the skills and experience to help operators migrate from legacy network infrastructure to more scalable, efficient Adaptive Network architectures with no risk of disruption or downtime to legacy services.

Outstanding technology and business outcomes
Our services teams consistently meet and exceed our clients’ expectations and comply with agreed SLAs for on-time, on-budget delivery. We also consistently exceed targets for support KPIs, service uptime, continual improvement and more.

Global delivery capabilities
Experienced Ciena consultants and engineers are able to deliver network modernisation projects in 70 countries worldwide. With 100+ network engineers, 2,000+ field technicians and more than 300 technical support engineers, we have the skills and experience to ensure success for complex, international network projects

Ciena’s unique technology proposition for network modernisation

Ciena’s Adaptive Network technology portfolio has been engineered to provide the scalability, agility, performance and reliability that modern carriers need. Our uniquely powerful technology proposition offers scalability on demand to handle current and future use cases, including business Ethernet services, mobile backhaul services, residential broadband services, and others – all on the same, efficient network architecture.

Increased networking and operational efficiency
Ciena provides highly efficient, scalable Ethernet and IP networking solutions that replace a large number of IP routers and other end-of-life SDH infrastructure components with a far smaller number of scalable Ethernet nodes. By reducing the size and number of network devices, Ciena solutions reduce real-estate, power, cooling, maintenance and support costs. Where space is limited in hosting facilities, Ciena’s efficient infrastructure allows operators to do more with less space and less resources. Where equipment is located in third-party data centres, operators can use Ciena solutions to reduce the network footprint and achieve significant savings on hosting, power and cooling and support costs.

Continuity for mission-critical SDH services
Ciena’s new portfolio of adaptive technologies, including the Ciena 6500 PTS, allows operators to migrate SDH services seamlessly to new, adaptive network infrastructure without any risk of downtime or service disruptions.

Faster service velocity
Ciena’s Blue Planet software, which automates service provisioning across multi-vendor and multi-domain networks, reduces the need for multi-departmental and manual provisioning steps. As a result, operators can reduce time to market for new services from months to just a few minutes. 

Learn more

To discover more about Ciena’s network modernisation solutions and services, please contact us.