There's no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to planning NGN migration, but the rise of data traffic and disproportionate revenue growth is forcing operators to devise an NGN strategy that suits their current and future needs sooner rather than later.
That was the message from the inaugural Network Strategies 2010 conference in Singapore last month, as operators from around the region gathered to share their experiences with NGN deployments.
One constant theme was the importance of taking a staggered approach to NGN migration - prioritizing which elements to upgrade first and deciding how and when the rest of the network will follow, said Danny Buldansyah, deputy president director of Indonesia's Bakrie Telecom.
"Staggered deployment is the most effective strategy for NGN while the organization is in the high-growth stage," he said, adding that this also helps the various departments within the operator get through the inevitable learning curves that NGN will require. "A staggered approach makes it easier for everyone."
One key aspect to remember, said Pacnet CTO Wilfred Kwan, is that at the end of the day, technology comes second to the business case.
"The CFO is the one who is really in charge. You can no longer plan your next-generation strategy with just a PowerPoint deck and a hazy set of financial guidelines," he said.
Kwan said it was key that when developing an NGN strategy, operators sort out the following key questions: "Do you really know your market? Do you know who your customers will be five years from now? What are your bread-and-butter products vs your cutting-edge products? Who will you partner with? Once you sort those things out, the technology part is comparatively easier, though of course it's still very complicated. You can't start with the technology and then figure out who your customers are and what they want."
Kwan also listed numerous external factors that will impact NGN decisions, from government NBN initiatives and mobile internet to social media, video, cloud computing and how much of your traffic is international vs domestic.
Ivan Tam, CTO of Hong Kong Broadband Network, emphasized the importance of QoS as a major element