Transforming the network for the digital age

Geoffroy Deschamps, Luc Grimond, Monte Hong/Accenture
11 Oct 2012

We live in a digitally demanding world, especially as the thirst for data continues to grow. To support new data services communications service providers (CSPs) need to transform their networks in ways more profound than the analog switch off, the creation of the cellular network or the transformation to all-IP environments.

It isn't going to be easy. And as demand escalates, tremendous constraints will be placed on networks, impacting the entire end-to-end network life cycle, from network planning to operations. CSPs will learn how to transform their networks and their support systems, which will take them into the next generation, by using powerful tools for infrastructure, delivery and operations.

The changes will be monumental, since, as operators upgrade their networks to fiber and 4G, they have to plan for the all-IP transformation, sunset their legacy voice network (such as POTS or plain old telephone service), and converge their internet access (such as IP DSL and fiber), IPTV and wireless networks.

In addition, CSPs will need to enhance their current networks with real-time measurements, data correlation and prediction, and customer-specific profile and behavior and location-based information. They will need to improve coordination across network planning, delivery and operations to get network organizations to work together.

To address all these challenges, CSPs will have to master three types of network capabilities.

1. Planning & engineering

To successfully fulfill growing capacity requests, operators should manage both the supply and demand side and find alternative ways to offload traffic from the bandwidth-constrained networks such as the cellular backhaul.

On the demand side the ability of networks to deliver high-bandwidth media content, combined with the increase in screen size and resolution of consumer devices, has dramatically impacted data consumption of wireless subscribers. Some CSPs have had 8,000% growth on their networks over the last three years. If they have not already done so, operators will have to stop unlimited data plans, increase the per-gigabyte price of data plans, and monitor these outsider customers and implement fair-use policies.

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