Ciena's Joe Frendo details three key execution strategies that will prepare your broadband rollout to achieve your goals and meet your customers’ expectations.
That the broadband access market is at a once-in-a-generation inflection point has been well-documented. We’re at a confluence of opportunity—end-user demands for ‘everything from home,’ societal expectations for digital equity, and massive public and private investments. And while the market will long remain viable, this moment won’t. What will separate success from ‘getting by’ will be the degree to which those delivering broadband service to their customers prepare themselves to succeed.
Along with the technology components you choose (a separate discussion), we believe three key execution strategies will prepare your broadband rollout to achieve your goals and meet your customers’ expectations.
1) A customizable broadband access reference architecture: Your foundation to minimize risk and accelerate TTM
Delivering a flexible, efficient, and competitive broadband access solution requires a variety of complementary functions designed and integrated to address your particular needs, such as scale, geography, and service offering. These functions include not only the XGS-PON Optical Line Terminal (OLT) and Optical Network Unit (ONU), but also metro routers and switches, the virtual broadband network gateway (vBNG), carrier-grade network address translation (CG-NAT), AAA server, DHCP server, TR-069 auto-configuration server, lawful intercept mediation function (LIMF), residential / broadband gateway, and more.
Creating and implementing such a solution from scratch can be complex and overwhelming—especially for those new to broadband. One must create a high-level design and low-level design, commission and configure the design in a lab, and create and execute a validation test plan. Instead of starting from scratch, building off the foundation of a reference architecture that combines these components from multiple qualified vendors and pre-validates their end-to-end functionality can lead to a much greater likelihood of success. By leveraging such a reference architecture, while allowing select component substitution to customize the solution to meet your preference or to incorporate existing systems, a professional services partner can reduce your time-to-market, significantly lower operational expense, eliminate finger-pointing, and minimize project risk.
2) Integrated staging and deployment: Components pre-staged and tested, in cabinets, ready for service
When deploying broadband access networks, you need to continually look for deployment efficiencies that bring the service to market faster, but without sacrificing quality or reliability. One such efficiency is through integrated PON cabinet staging, whereby active and passive components are pre-staged and tested in a controlled factory environment, then shipped to your site, ready to install. This delivers multiple benefits:
- Reduced onsite time: Pre-staging active components (OLTs, AC and DC power systems, batteries, fiber management, environment control systems, grounding) and passive components into the cabinet at the factory streamlines the installation process. Since the equipment arrives onsite pre-configured and fully tested, field technicians can focus on connecting and deploying rather than field configuring and troubleshooting. The resulting reduced labor and risk of error leads to substantial cost savings. As an added benefit, installing cabinets enables you, in many cases, to bypass the time-consuming process of getting permits for shelters.
- Ensuring equipment condition: Pre-staging and testing OLTs and other components significantly reduces the likelihood of out-of-box defects or failures, thus improving overall installation quality, reliability, and reducing time to market.
- Scalability: Both Ciena and our cabinet partners leverage substantial economies of scale which translate directly to you, helping easily facilitate large, simultaneous rollouts.
Overall, pre-staging cabinets with active and passive PON components in a controlled factory environment offers you a way to simplify deployment, reduce risk, minimize downtime, and improve the quality and reliability of broadband access service for your customers.
3) ‘Day 2’ services: Tech support and managed services to enable worry-free operations
Once your broadband access network is properly designed and deployed, the next significant technical challenge is to ensure it delivers peak performance over the long run.
- Maintenance Service—This is, first and foremost, about resolving network issues quickly and keeping your network up-to-date. Technical support acts like an insurance policy to protect your business from the impact of outages and incidents. You will also benefit from a single partner who can service your full network footprint while offering the value-add options to address all your needs. (Read the Maintenance Service infobrief)
- Managed Services—For a still more comprehensive approach to optimizing performance, be sure to work with a partner who delivers a carrier-grade managed NOC that addresses all your major devices—regardless of vendor—and with strong SLOs. Working with someone with a broad enough scope to tailor a managed service to your specific needs, from streamlined network assurance to full management, will help assure you derive the value you need. Managing all this is complex; why not hand over those critical tasks so you can focus on the big picture? (Read the Managed Services infobrief)
Success in broadband starts with planning for it and finding the right partner
The difference between ‘going big’ or ‘going home’ is almost always in getting the essentials right. True in life; true in delivering broadband that delights your customers. By laying a solid foundation—a tested reference architecture and integrated staging up front, rounded out with strong technical support and managed services—and teaming with an expert partner, you do the most to assure a thriving, sustainable business model to ignite your digital future.