May 28, 2020
It is not uncommon for telecom or network planner to experience difficulties integrating the best long term technology with present infrastructure and practices. This results in making some short-term choices that eventually prove counterproductive. However, considering the profits and rising competition, making short term decisions is no longer practical and instead, some crucial planning is required to evolve a revolutionary network strategy inclined to provide evolutionary benefits.
Any network operator would prefer a flexible network strategy that could be easily merged with the existing infrastructure and which would help manage risk successfully. The trick is to use a well-paced technology while adopting a three-dimensional network strategy.
Step 1: The virtual device model: Networks traditionally constitute interconnected physical devices like routers and switches. But the future networks might not contain any traditional switches and routers at all. They are expected to consist of virtual devices that mirror the capabilities of the old physical boxes. Configuring the right appearance for a virtual box helps control what your services and networks look like.
It is imperative to designate the virtual device boundaries carefully. Your virtual devices might have functioned as specific as the physical devices they replace, or it is possible that a single virtual device might define the entire infrastructure. Virtual devices are important elements of network functions virtualization (NFV). They are configured and managed like real devices which simplifies understanding their operations.
A network operator needs to ensure that its new technology looks like a virtual device to successfully implement the same. This is easier for NFV since virtual functions are directly related to individual physical device functions. But for SDN, the technology would replace a group of physical devices, so it would help to look for places to adopt SDN sites where you can either displace an area of switches or routers or move current devices elsewhere.
Step 2: Understanding the total cost of ownership: Cost concerns are foremost when considering setting up any network, more so when virtualization and other new technologies are integrated. A large expense in the early stages of a project can affect risk management and disturb expenses on further equipment that may be required. Adding Opex to the already existent Capex capabilities creates an opportunity to generate Opex cost and agility benefits without any negative baggage.
The automation of some operations is imperative in all revolutionary network technologies. Some projects such as those undertaken by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, for example, the zero-touch automation work, is Opex driven specifically. As the virtual-device-model strategy makes the new technology elements look like devices, one can apply some of the operations automation practices to the physical devices as well and automate so as to affect current devices and services evenly.
What helps is to understand how a new technology project will affect equipment that is still on the books since its full value hasn't been written down yet. Any transformation project being considered by the company management needs to list a thorough understanding of the residual depreciation of the equipment already in use and how it will be impacted by the changes mentioned in the project.
Step 3: Wholesome management of incremental ROI: One of the most common mistakes when changing technologies is focusing too much on the initial benefits, which mostly reduces the value of later phases in the project. Too often, the project planners are expected to focus on what is easiest to sell rather than what will bring in better returns in the long run. This can turn out to be a huge error affecting overall profits and ROI.