February 27, 2020 by Tom Schroer

Don’t Let Network Bottlenecks Hold Back Your Network Transformation


Broadband traffic continues to explode, and your network is probably seeing the effects. Cisco’s Annual Internet Report projects North American fixed broadband speeds to increase to over 140 Mbps by 2023. This represents a 20 percent average annual growth since 2018, with almost 43 percent of the connections will exceed 100 Mbps. The number of connections and devices per person is forecasted to grow as well - over 63 percent during that same time frame. This is forcing many Communications Service Providers (CSPs) into a seemingly constant cycle of infrastructure exhaust followed by reactive adjustments to increase network capacity that often provides a temporary fix.

Highland Telephone Cooperative (HTC) is one of those CSPs experiencing rapid growth and seeing their broadband usage explode exponentially. The growth curve on its subscriber traffic indicated it was close to exhausting some Ethernet rings. HTC knew the short-term fix was to use additional fiber plant and physically rearrange nodes. But with the demand continuing to ramp, the HTC team knew they would soon grow beyond short term fixes. They needed to look at the bigger picture to put a long-term plan in place to account for the coming growth.

CSPs faced with this kind of challenge should evaluate the different network transformation options available and determine what allows them to most cost effectively stay ahead of the steep traffic growth curve. The answer could involve increasing transport ring sizes, incorporating IP/MPLS and leveraging higher transport speeds, or looking for temporary stop gap measures to reduce the congestion through traffic load sharing. However, in many cases CSPs need technical guidance to help evaluate these options. Or, in the case of HTC, it may have experienced network engineers on staff but would like an additional industry perspective to help validate plans.   

Calix Network Consulting Services is an extension of a CSP’s network engineering and technical teams and provides expertise across IP, access, and premises networks. In the engagement with HTC, the Calix Network Consultant was able to help the team move forward with a robust plan for network growth and gave them the confidence that they were making the right decision. The Calix consultant also added immediate value by zeroing in on network issues that were creating bottlenecks and helped HTC’s network engineers correct them to limit subscriber impact. If you’re seeing looming challenges with network traffic or are in the midst of a reactive fight to stay ahead of the bandwidth curve, a trusted partner like a Calix Network Consultant can be the extension of your technical team you wish you had. To find out more, schedule a consultation with a Calix Professional Services expert.