Access network convergence – Deep in the trenches

By Rajesh Abbi

July 9, 2019

What is the Problem?

Many operators operate multiple access networks dedicated for different type of services and customers. While this simplifies business, it is operationally inefficient and wasteful – particularly now that operators are investing large amounts of capital to upgrade their networks

Key Takeaways

  • A large portion of most operator’s capital investment goes towards upgrading the access network – particularly the outside plant (OSP).
  • In order to effectively utilize OSP resources, operators need to carefully plan and coordinate operations across the various lines of business. Following key areas in the outside plant should be prioritized:

      • Fiber backbone
      • Fiber distribution
      • OSP Enclosures
      • OSP Powering

    Operational Resources:

      • Right-of-way Planning
      • Construction Optimization
  • By implementing these strategies, operators can realize 1%-5% savings on their annual CAPEX spending in the OSP

Executive Summary

Network operators are investing a significant amount of their capital in upgrading broadband access networks to keep up with subscriber demand. Many operators run their business with separate teams managing different parts of their networks such as residential brownfield, residential greenfield, business etc.

When networks are built and operated independently in silos, they only focus on their own needs and capabilities which is maintained independently. As such, there is often duplication of infrastructure, resources, and effort. In an environment where capital availability is constrained and demand for advanced services is constantly rising, operators can ill afford such waste.

In this paper we discuss some of the challenges and benefits of integrating key elements of the outside plant (OSP) infrastructure to effectively reap the benefits of network convergence. Especially, we focus on OSP related areas such as – architectural optimization (fiber backbone, fiber distribution, OSP enclosures, OSP powering) and resource optimization (design optimization, right-of-way planning, permitting) etc.

Key Words: : Broadband Access Network, Convergence, Planning, Outside Plant, Fiber Backbone, Network Optimization