The Beacon

January 2021

The Beacon

January 2021

From the Bullpen

Our Calix Mission

 

Matt Collins

Chief Marketing Officer, Calix

Our goal for many years has been to help our customers “connect everyone and everything.” In doing so, we help you bring amazing new services and exceptional experiences to your subscribers. We are particularly thrilled to share the successes of our best customers who are transforming their communities and closing the digital divide.

Increasingly our customers successes are centered on three core outcomes of our partnership. You are leveraging our Calix Cloud platform (in conjunction with our EXOS® and AXOS® platforms) to simplify your businesses, excite your subscribers, and grow your value for your stakeholders and communities. The most compelling stories are increasingly grounded in your use of data to generate insights that enable you to realize these outcomes.

The power of the cloud.

Triangle Communications (Triangle) in Central Montana offers a perfect example of the growing value of data delivered through the Calix Cloud. The team at Triangle has leveraged Calix Marketing Cloud to better understand its subscribers, and deliver communications and engagement tailored to subscribers' individual needs. As a result, Triangle has acquired new subscribers, grown the value it delivers to existing subscribers, and reduced churn. The Triangle team has been so successful that over the last four years they have generated an incredible 3,146 percent ROI from their investment in Calix Cloud. That is the power of data, analytics, and insight.

Our mission.

We have reimagined our Calix.com home page to help communicate our goal to help all our customers replicate the successes of Triangle and many other leaders in our industry. We exist to help you simplify your businesses, excite your subscribers, and grow your value. I invite to visit Calix.com to learn more.

In this issue of The Beacon, you’ll read all about how we are helping you achieve all three outcomes. Our contributors this month explain how: 

  • We are excited to launch in our 21.1 release a completely new UX and UI for Calix Cloud to help you dramatically simplify your marketing and support workflows.

  • We have reimagined the CommandIQ® mobile application for the Revenue EDGE to help you engage and excite your subscribers.

  • Our Success Services team is working with our customers to leverage these tools to generate more value for their teams and subscibers.

We look forward to many years of successful partnership. Thank you.

 
 
 

Did you miss ConneXions? Don't worry.

You can still access all of the recorded sessions
in the On Demand Library

 
 

21.1 Cadence Release

What You Need To Know About Our 21.1 Software Updates

Pam Ferguson

Vice President, Product and Field Marketing, Calix

As Matt mentioned, Calix is here to help you simplify your business, excite your subscribers, and grow your value. As we approach our Q1 software release cycle, we’re setting you up to dramatically simplify your workflows by launching improvements to three offerings: Calix Marketing Cloud, Calix Support Cloud and our subscriber-facing app, CommandIQ®.  

Improvements to Calix Marketing Cloud and Calix Support Cloud.  

Our improvements to Calix Marketing Cloud and Calix Support Cloud include a new look and feel—but these are not just surface changes. Rather, a refreshed UI/UX will better enable your team to leverage these solutions and align the way you use them with your existing workflows—rather than asking you to change workflows and processes to map to our technology and solutions. In fact, we’ll give you access to a parallel environment so you can understand the changes to the interface, plan for any training your teams might need, and make the shift to the new UI at your own pace.  

New improvements to CommandIQ.  

The same is true for the changes in CommandIQ. You’ll have access to the new version of CommandIQ so that you can get your field techs, CSRs, and other teams ready. (Your marketing team can support the transition in part by using a wide range of market-activation assets from Calix.) We’ll make it easy for you to continue to promote the app to subscribers, drive downloads, and deliver more services that delight them.  

Our goal is to partner with you and your teams to ensure you’re not only aware of the enhancements, but also to map to a transition plan that makes sense for you. If you have questions, check out the upcoming success webinars, watch our TAC TV videos, and get support in the Calix Community.   

 

Your Recommended Action Plan 

Customer Support Insights

Improving Time to Resolution Begins Now for Customer Support Managers

Martha Galley

Senior Vice President, Customer Engagement and Services, Calix

At first glance, “time to resolution” seems like a straightforward metric. The clock starts when a customer contacts your company, then stops when their issue is marked as resolved. 

However, this simple metric reveals a great deal about customer experience, internal efficiencies, and even your brand’s reputation. This is why it remains a focal point for customer support. It’s also why Calix is dedicated to improving that statistic for its customers in the year ahead. 

New updates coming to improve time to resolution and customer experience. 

For the past three years, Calix has been a trusted partner of customer support teams looking to improve time to resolution. We’ve enhanced your systems to drive faster, smarter, and more profitable customer service interactions. We’ve also been watching and listening—identifying further opportunities to improve your experience and metrics. 

Now, we’re on the cusp of releasing our most important update yet for Calix Support Cloud (CSC). The user interface will be more visually appealing and even easier to use. More importantly, this update will shorten gaps between customer support reps (CSRs) and the information they need so they can provide not just resolution but above-and-beyond service on the first call—and preparation starts now. 

Proactive preparation for successful enablement. 

This update will drive an enhanced customer experience and functional improvements. However, as with all operational changes, front-end preparation is required to avoid efficiency setbacks at the time of the rollouts. There are three key things customer support managers should do now to ensure a smooth and successful update later. 

  1. Update your GigaSpire BLAST systems. Don’t miss out on the critical information available to CSRs using Calix Support Cloud only if the systems are running the latest firmware. 
  2. Document and examine your current workflow for common use cases.  
  3. Prepare an enablement strategy for your CSRs, so they are ready for a new and improved interface. Proper preparation takes time and effort, but the ability to provide the best customer experience in the industry is worth it, and you don’t have to do any of this alone. 

Finally, let Calix help you. Meet with your customer success manager. Take advantage of the Circles of Success. Lean on our community. Review our webinars, digital programs, and other assets. Calix is here as you prepare, roll out the updates, and achieve your best time to resolution rates yet. 

 

Your Recommended Action Plan 

 

Intelligent Access EDGE Insights

The Rise of the Video Call: Why You Need XGS-PON More Than Ever

Kevin Kuo

Director, Intelligent Access EDGE Product & Solution Marketing, Calix

The global pandemic dramatically increased our dependence on video communication. More people are working from home than ever before, and many companies now primarily use video conferencing to communicate. As the need for social distancing continues, even spending time with family and friends is largely conducted via video calls.  

Naturally, the use of symmetrical video conferencing applications is driving the bandwidth explosion—as you can see in the below chart (source: RVA LLC Market Research & Consulting 2020). 

To meet these demands, service providers need XGS-PON, which will allow you to offer more speeds and advanced high-bandwidth services—particularly those symmetric service capabilities that ensure a high-quality video conferencing experience. This technology choice will prove to be a powerful differentiator for you as bandwidth demands continue to climb and your markets become even more contentious. Next-generation 10G-PON technologies, such as XGS-PON, offer the scale, flexibility, and reliability to realize a future world of converged everyPON applications.  

The right technology choice is critical—and so is the software platform that supports it. 

Software-defined, access-based 10G-PON networks must be highly agile. They need to support the adoption of network automation and transformation and reduce service provisioning times—while also enabling subscriber self-service capabilities. Software-based platforms like AXOS introduce a more simplified approach to network expansion and enable significant operational efficiencies over traditional networks. The always-on AXOS platform: 

  • Automates critical network functions. 
  • Simplifies service creation by abstracting the network from the physical layer and hardware complexities. 
  • Establishes a common operational model that spans both the access and edge networks, which drastically simplifies network operations. 
  • Accelerates the launch of everyPON services by reducing back-office integration efforts by as much as 80 percent.  
  • Enables service providers to transform by providing a set of software tools (including SMx and Diagnostics Toolbox) and capabilities that focus on automating and simplifying the task of operating and managing their network. 

With AXOS, CSPs can future-proof their fiber networks and deploy the right network architecture and technology, at the right time, to optimize their capital investments.  

 

Your Recommended Action Plan 

 
 

Services Insights

Three Smart Reasons To Prioritize the Latest Calix Software Release Updates

Tom Schroer

Senior Director, Services Marketing, Calix

For most of us, it’s easy to push software updates to the bottom of our to-do lists. But there are at least three key reasons you want to keep your mission-critical platforms (especially premises platforms) on the latest software release—including the latest Calix cadence release.  

  1. You’ll get new security fixes and patches. According to a Trend Micro 2017 study, outdated firmware is one of the top three entry vectors for malicious attacks to the home. Calix development teams are constantly analyzing security threats—and updating premises system software to mitigate them. That way, your subscribers enjoy an exceptional, uninterrupted experience, which is especially important as the number of people working from home continues to rise. 
  2. Your subscribers will enjoy new features and capabilities. New features and new capabilities hit the market fast in our highly digital world. Staying current with the latest software ensures you deliver the latest value-added functionality to your subscribers. 
  3. You’ll benefit sooner from better performance and supportability. Staying on the latest software ensures you have the latest performance enhancements—like with managed Wi-Fi. This means usability improvements get integrated into your workflows and you get easier supportability by the Calix Technical Assistance Center support engineering specialists. 

How you can execute software updates successfully.  

OK, so you recognize the benefits of putting “software updates” at the top of your to-do list. But what if your technician resources are stretched too thin to focus on executing the upgrades successfully? To help make sure operations teams don’t miss a beat, we are adding a new feature in Calix Premier Support. This feature will give you peace of mind that your EXOS Experience Innovation Platform software upgrades are performed correctly.  

Ultimately, our goal is to make it easier for your subscribers to take advantage of the latest, enhanced whole-home Wi-Fi experience. With the latest feature in Calix Premier Support, our Calix Support Engineers will help you reduce risk and give you peace of mind on your next Experience Innovation Platform upgrade. To learn more, visit the Calix Premier Support web page (link below), or contact your Calix account executive.   

 

Your Recommended Action Plan 

 

The Revenue EDGE Beacon

Supporting Service Provider Marketers and Business Leaders

The Revenue EDGE Beacon reveals today's best practices and insights for marketers. Subscribe today and learn how to leverage data to build great campaigns so you can retain, grow, and attract new subscribers.

 
 

Regulatory Insights

RDOF Deadlines: How Calix Can Help

Greg Bathrick

Director, Solutions Marketing, Calix

As a Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) winner, you will be the community leader that changes the lives of thousands of rural Americans by providing access to the Internet. This funding will also provide you with the last network you ever need to build—one that is fiber-based and flexible, with the lowest operating expense, per bit, per mile. We would love to support you in your next steps. 

Key RDOF deadlines. 

We have been to this rodeo before—assisting service providers around the country as they pioneer gigabit services leveraging government funding programs like CAF II and ReConnect. We know you face several key FCC deadlines. For instance:   

  • On February 16, 2021, you must provide details on your access network technologies, operational models, and network performance. This RDOF Long-Form Technical Submission will be used to determine if you are qualified to receive funding. (For insight about how to successfully complete this step, see the link below, “Auction 904 Long-Form Stage II Detailed Technical Submission.”)
  • On June 7, 2021, the FCC also requires an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier certification letter, as well as an Irrevocable Standby Letter of Credit, 10 days after funding is authorized. 

For expert guidance, join our consults and webinars. 

Once RDOF funding officially starts, you meet your first build out requirement in three years. To remain in good standing and avoid penalties, you must connect 40 percent of your subscribers with service and commence performance testing. Please use the links below to join one of our two complimentary consults covering questions on RDOF rules and testing (“RDOF Technical Consult”) and access network planning (“Calix Network Design Consult”).

If you passed on RDOF Phase I, there is more funding around the corner. Later in 2021, the USDA ReConnect Program is expected to launch a third round, while RDOF Phase II at $11 billion starts in 2022. We are always watching for new programs. Now that the November U.S. presidential election is behind us, we expect to see the government supply more funds to support broadband infrastructure programs. 

 

Your Recommended Action Plan  

Business Transformation Profile

ETEX: Delivering High-speed, Symmetrical Broadband for 16 School Districts in East Texas

When COVID-19 led to sweeping lockdowns and cancellations in March 2020, many businesses slowed or halted operations as they adjusted to drastic changes, but not ETEX. 

Founded as a 743-member telephone cooperative in 1952, ETEX is now a triple-play CSP serving more than 12,000 members in a 712-square-mile footprint in rural East Texas. The company prides itself on delivering the absolute best communications services to the communities it serves, so when COVID-19 threatened to cripple local schools, ETEX quickly stepped in to help. 

Equipping rural Texas schools with essential technology. 

To limit in-person contact and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, schools quickly converted to online learning models. The shift led to a sudden and drastic increase in the need for high-speed, symmetrical broadband for rural schools. “Meeting the demands of modern education requires that we equip our students and teachers with the right technology,” said Charlie Cano, chief executive officer for ETEX. “Especially now—as students have been forced into learning using Internet access—symmetrical, gigabit broadband service is a minimum requirement.” 

Meeting that need would require ETEX to take on the biggest project in its history—in the early stages of a pandemic, no less—but the community-focused provider didn’t shy away from the challenge. 

Best-of-breed technological solutions for the SUPERNet consortium. 

With training and support from Calix, ETEX deployed a dedicated AXOS® 10G fiber network to the local SUPERNet consortium—a group of 16 school districts across multiple East Texas counties. And they did it quickly. “Every school was up and running by the start of the new school year—five weeks ahead of schedule,” said Chano. 

Using the Calix Intelligent Access EDGE solution, the CSP now delivers service with a minimum wire speed of a gigabit to every SUPERNet school and teacher. Furthermore, the flexibility of the AXOS platform enables ETEX to embrace an everyPON strategy and scale any SUPERNet school’s connections to 10Gbps efficiently with the PON technology of its choice. 

Better yet, SUPERNet has room to grow. With a dedicated 160 Gbps connection supported by the E7-2 Intelligent Modular System, the consortium can easily expand to connect more schools and maintain the minimum gigabit connection to each. As communications needs continually evolve in rural Texas, ETEX will be ready to deploy best-of-breed solutions by Calix to those who need it most. 
 

Your Recommended Action Plan 

Partner Spotlight

FTTH e-Planner Levels the Playing Field for RDOF Winners

COVID-19 didn’t create America’s digital divide—but it emphasized the urgency of addressing it. As you likely know, in August 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) to help jumpstart expansion of the country’s rural broadband coverage. In December 2020, RDOF awarded $9.2 billion to a mix of national providers and tier 2, tier 3 network operators.  

Addressing the challenges of building a fiber network.  

Text BoxFor network operators who may lack sufficient fiber network planning experience and resources, converting their conceptual network vision to a build-ready design is a major challenge. This is where planning tools like CommScope’s FTTH Network ePlanner can prove invaluable.  

The ePlanner guides in-house network planners and design engineers through the various steps and decisions of FTTH network planning, helping identify the best network topology and product solution sets for their specific use case.  

How the FTTH Network ePlanner tool can help.  

In using the FTTH Network ePlanner, engineers provide input regarding demography type and density, take-up rate business cases, and any infrastructure constraints. The tool then walks them through the various network design aspects to be considered, explaining the available options and pros and cons of each. 

Specific considerations covered include:  

  • Network topology options—from the central office and outside plant to the customer premises 
  • Standard and hardened connectivity options  
  • Connectorization options: pre-terminated, spliced, and field terminated  
  • Traditional versus rapid technology MDU topology solutions  

After working through the decision tree, the FTTH Network ePlanner provides the recommended topology, optimized cluster size, physical deployment options, and consideration for optical line termination (OLT) port utilization for the best-case scenario. The results can also be used as a guide in developing a detailed BOM to be used in estimation.  

For tier 3 network operators, local electric co-ops, and municipal utilities, tools like the FTTH Network ePlanner can help network planning and engineering teams ensure a more efficient and scalable design and build-out of their high-performance broadband network.  

 

Your Recommended Action Plan  

Calix Academy

Great Tools From Calix To Train Your Teams Remotely 

In 2020, we all had to quickly adapt to new, remote ways to share knowledge in our personal and professional lives. (In a recent article by Training Industry magazine, 56 percent of industries are having to retool their training programs to meet today’s work environment.) Luckily, Calix Education Services has the tools to help with training today’s remote workforce. 

On-demand learning: 

  • Available 24/7 in Calix Academy.  
  • Features learning modules from foundational learning to advanced student guides. 
  • Offers new versions of purchased courses that can be added to your transcript. 
  • Updates to the latest product versions each release cycle. 

Virtual, instructor-led training: 

  • Led by instructors virtually.  
  • Include student guides and hands-on lab exercises.  
  • Offer best practices and expert guidance from certified instructors.  

Dedicated, virtual instructor-led training:  

  • Offers virtual training for up to 10 students in your organization. 
  • Allows you to work with Calix instructors to develop custom agenda based on your training needs. 
  • Includes student guides and hands-on lab exercises.  

Contact your account manager or Training@Calix.com to learn more about how to best train your teams in today’s digital world. You can also check out our current Calix Course Catalog and our Events Calendar.  

 
 

Calix Community News

Featured Blogs and Resources

Top 5 Recent Blog Posts

 

Each month, we highlight the top five recent Calix Blog posts to make sure you don't miss out on the latest news and insights from Calix experts and industry guests.

  1. Wi-Fi Can Resolve Many of Your Help-Desk Calls
  2. Two Seismic Disruptions Happening in Telecommunications Right Now
  3. Plan for the Unexpected by Getting Network Architecture Fundamentals Right
  4. All the Engineering Elements that Go into the Design of a Carrier Class Wi-Fi System
  5. Yes, You Can Offer Subscribers a Cool-Looking Wi-Fi System for Their Coffee Tables 

And don't forget to follow us and check out other insightful articles here.

TAC TV Featured Video

How to Remove a Stuck OIM

Login required.

 

Featured Resources

Customer Resources to Help Keep You on Track

Webinars

  • Understanding Ultimate Wi-Fi—Using the GigaSpire U6 and Beyond
    Tuesday, February 2
    3:00PM EST | 12:00PM PST
  • Intelligent Access Edge: Network Architecture Best Practices
    Friday, February 19
    1:00PM EST | 10:00AM PST
  • Creating Marketing Campaigns Using Data
    Thursday, February 25
    4:00PM EST | 1:00PM PST

Visit the Calix Virtual Engagements page for a full schedule of sessions (login required).

Release Webinars

  • Marketing Cloud 21.1 Release Update
    February 9, 2021 | 1:00PM EST
  • Support Cloud 21.1 Release Update
    February 10, 2021 | 1:00PM EST

Visit the Calix Virtual Engagements page for registration links (login required).

 

Recent Software Releases

AXOS
Mature Release*
  • DPx 4.2.4 (for E7 EXA OLTs only)
GigaFamily

Early Adoption**

  • GigaFamily 12.2.12 (800E/GE/G GigaCenters and 800G v1 GigaHubs)
  • GigaFamily 12.2.12 (800G v1 GigaPoints) 
  • 804M 3.0.3
Other
Mature Release**
  • CMS 15.1.521

Notes: 

* Mature status means the software release is the latest production version recommended for use.

** Early Adoption status means the software release is with select customers conducting field tests and providing feedback. This program requires Calix pre-approval. If you are interesting in joining an Early Adopter group, please go to the Software Center (link below), select the software in question, and click the "Request Software" link.

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