Today's digital age has created an opportunity for network operators worldwide to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market by developing effective and attainable network evolution plans that will enable them to keep pace with user requirements for access to services and applications - anywhere, anytime, on any device.
To help deliver that promise, Alcatel-Lucent has developed its high leverage network strategy, through which providers can address the need for building efficient, high-availability networks, as well as the innovative, user-centric services they deliver across those networks. The high leverage network model allows providers to have flexible bandwidth while retaining an acceptable cost model - critical for delivering advanced applications to users across multiple access technologies.
Importantly, in the United States, the high leverage network will also offer an opportunity to catch up to other developed markets in terms of broadband infrastructure. Continued, targeted investment in effective next generation network solutions will also help boost the economy through job generation and new applications and services users will pay for that run on those new high leverage networks. This, of course, is a key driver of the Obama Administration's broadband component of its Economic Recovery Act, which is designed to drive intelligent investment in broadband infrastructure.
Such investment is also the only path to being able to support end user demands for more interactive broadband services, including multimedia services, as well as tighter integration between telecom and other media.
Alcatel-Lucent details a high leverage network as having the following characteristics:
· High bandwidth
· Scalable and elastic
· Reliable, resilient, and always on
· Open and interoperable
· Secure and private
However, this is a major undertaking, and such an evolution will not happen quickly, though incremental progress will become evident quickly, as operators look to phase out their legacy networks in favor of new high leverage networks. Success will depend on their ability to make the transition seamlessly to users, with no service disruption.
While each network provider will choose the specific path to a high leverage network that fits its model, it will be an multi-stage process that will culminate in a complete migration of all services and subscribers.
Many wireline providers have already begun the process by deploying investing in broadband, IP/MPLS, or optical transport solutions, which have opened the door for new services, like residential triple play or VPNs. Additional steps might include access network evolution from copper to fiber, enhanced video capabilities, improved content delivery, new advertising models, and digital home solutions.
On the wireless side, providers will look to adapt their traditional voice networks to accommodate the growth of wireless data services, with an eye on transport costs. Of course, there is much more to it than just transport, and wireless operators will also need to focus ultimately on evolving to all IP networks to ensure scalability and cost effectiveness. This means they'll need to develop plans for evolving radio access networks, backhaul, the network core, service delivery architectures, as well as the transport layer.
This is where a proven networking expert - both wired and wireless - like Alcatel-Lucent can prove a value partner. Alcatel-Lucent has developed its product set specifically to help network operators evolve from legacy to all-IP in a cost effective, step-by-step manner that will only become apparent to subscribers when the realize the benefits of the new infrastructure - though most users care little about how their services work, they only care that they work.
Ultimately, because the nature of IP differs little between wired and wireless networks, the same strategies that have already proven beneficial for many wireline operators will also be implemented by wireless providers. In fact, a wireless IP network will become merely an extension of a wireline IP network. Before that can happen, though, wireless and wireline operators alike must overcome a number of hurdles:
· Converging the metro, aggregation, and edge with Carrier Ethernet and MPLS;
· Evolving from circuit-based to packet-based transport using packet-optical transport;
· Scaling the core with next generation integration of IP and optical technologies;
· Delivering service specialization and application assurance to improve end user QoE;
· Enabling converged services control including dynamic policy management, session control and mobility management.
Once these issues have been addressed, and providers have drawn up plans for their evolution path, they will enjoy significantly lower operating costs, while cutting the time to market for new services, and will have increased flexibility with bandwidth and service delivery - all resulting in increased revenues.
In addition, U.S. providers will have put the country's infrastructure back on a path to being a global leader, rather than playing from behind, as it is now.
Common strategies for evolving to high leverage networks can be found in Alcatel-Lucent's whitepaper, and more on how intelligent investment in networks will help support America's infrastructure growth, read here.