By Cassandra Millhouse, Director of Product Marketing, Amdocs Cramer Division
The Connected World and what does it mean? The “connected world” reflects the hyper-growth in demand for ubiquitous connectivity, information anytime, anywhere and smarter connected devices; it’s predicted that in the next five years there will be trillions of devices that will be connected to the network.
But as we all become more connected, the implication is that the network must be able to handle huge and ever increasing volumes of traffic.
The age of mobile broadband is already upon us. USB data dongles abound in Europe, Clearwire launches WiMAX in the US, but the greatest success is the Apple iPhone – some operators report data traffic levels up to 40 times that of comparable smartphones. Several operators are now making over $2Bn per year in data revenues as a result.
This is leading many operators to invest in network upgrades; already the first European commercial LTE services have been launched by TeliaSonera in Oslo and Stockholm. Associated with this, we’ve seen many operators start transforming their transmission networks towards MPLS and Carrier Ethernet, and take a sharp look at what to outsource or take back inhouse.
For operations, just scaling to meet that kind of growth is difficult. What compounds the issue is declining revenues.
And it gets worse. We all know voice revenues are declining. But for new services, while they are increasingly bandwidth hungry, the revenue per bit is much less. Doing more with less is not just a mantra – it is a question of survival.
At Amdocs OSS, we can help to address the issue in 3 ways:
— Expanding capacity
— Sweating capacity
— Pricing capacity.
To meet these tremendous increases in capacity demands, network operators need to make the right investments at the right time and in the right place. These are not Greenfield upgrades, but need to be carefully managed to minimize disruption while combining current with future technologies at the same locations. For example, not everybody will upgrade their 2G mobile phone at the same time after all.
Amdocs OSS solutions build a comprehensive and accurate picture of the live network, spanning multiple vendors, technologies and connections. Our discovery engine will automatically search out and identify all equipment connected across the network. Using this inventory, Amdocs design and assign engineering tools simplify the common processes needed to allocate new equipment and manage swapouts.
We then go beyond that – to plan build out so that the network is expanded – in the right places, at the right time – to optimize cost.
With the capacity crunch hitting many parts of the network, how do operators work out where best to make their investments? We have moved from a time of “build and they will come” to “the crowds are outside breaking down the doors to get in”! Unlike previous upgrades, data capacity investments need to be co-ordinated across the last mile (or cellsite), the backhaul and the core network. Amdocs OSS can provide a vendor independent, end-to-end network capacity view showing the pinch points and bottlenecks in the network. Our trend analysis predicts not only where capacity is reaching its limits, but identifies when new equipment should be ordered “just in time” to match growing demand.
Our ability to help providers to ‘sweat’ their capacity is really where the inventory story was born. The accuracy of most service providers’ inventory is about 32%. Or put another way – they only know for sure what they have for about a third of their network. Knowing what you have is an important first step to using it more effectively.
In combination with our planning tools, this means you can make sure you are extending your network – only when and where you need to.
Telecoms operators are famous for their enormously complex pricing plans which can be hard to compare. But for data today, many have reverted to simple flat-rate pricing with “best effort” service accorded to all. We believe service providers need to find ways to charge more for some of the traffic on their network, with premium services for customers who need their data to get their faster or with lower latency. Amdocs OSS systems can assign the capacity available for premium services and configure the traffic management policies to allow operators to increase their revenues.
Every service provider worldwide is today worrying about capacity. They are all looking at expansion projects – but they know that expansion on its own will not be enough to enable them to PROFITABLY address the massive rates of growth in demand that they are experiencing. Service providers must also sweat their existing capacity, and find ways to charge more equitably for the bandwidth being used.