Designing a broadband network means considering everything from the needs of present-day and future subscribers to network planning, architecture, and deployment. The Design for Broadband Services course, offered online through Calix Broadband Academy, helps broadband service providers (BSPs) gain an in-depth understanding of their subscribers, service area, technology options, and best practices so that they can design a reliable and high-quality home network.
Below are five key takeaways from Broadband Academy’s design course to help you design a scalable, dependable, and valuable network that will set your broadband business up for success.
- Consider subscribers’ current and future needs—and expectations. Today, subscribers rely on the internet for everything from work to learning to telehealth and beyond. Providing a sub-par experience is simply not an option. The first lesson in Broadband Academy’s design course covers the different elements of network design that you need to consider to create an always-on, future-proof network. These include bandwidth and speed, network resiliency, and network operation software. Coupled with key information on end-to-end network visibility, you’ll have the data and insight you need to grow your business and serve your communities for years to come—just like the electric cooperative, Centranet.
- Get to know your service area. Your feasibility study likely covers (at a high level) the geographic landscape, existing infrastructure, subscriber demographics, and local planning regulations applicable to your proposed service area. Now’s the time to create more detailed designs in preparation for the actual network build. For example, the location of rivers and railroads will influence the placement of your broadband cables. It will be important to estimate how many houses, farms, multi-dwelling units, or commercial locations you’ll be serving. You’ll also need to know if you’re allowed to hang cables overhead, or if that’s prohibited. Broadband Academy will explore these factors and more in the second lesson of the design course.
- Understand the access network. The access network starts at the Central Office, which houses critical networking hardware. From there, fiber cables carry the internet signal to the neighborhood. There are then a few different options to make the final connection to subscribers, including fiber-to-the-home (FTTH). After completing the third lesson in Broadband Academy’s design course, you’ll understand how the access network functions and the physical equipment used at each point in the network—and have a fresh vocabulary of access network terminology.
- Realize the critical role of the middle mile. Middle mile infrastructure is crucial to the broadband ecosystem because it acts as the “middleman” between the global internet and local BSPs. Without it, you won’t be able to offer quality broadband services to subscribers in remote and rural communities. Yet many rural areas don’t have access to the middle mile due to distance and lack of investment. Thankfully, there are funding options to help cover the cost of middle mile build outs, such as the $1 billion Middle Mile Grant Program administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The fourth lesson in Broadband Academy’s design course will go over some key planning and design considerations as you learn about the importance of middle mile infrastructure.
- Turn on the subscriber home network. The final lesson in Broadband Academy’s design course will walk you through the process of getting internet access into the home so that subscribers can connect their devices. You’ll learn how the subscriber home network works, its different components, and the when, what, and where of installing equipment for optimal Wi-Fi service. With high-quality equipment and a managed Wi-Fi offering, BSPs can reduce support costs, create an always-on experience, and grow their value. Calix customers, such as NextLight, are doing just that—boosting subscriber satisfaction to 98 percent and staying ahead of the competition.
With this knowledge—and a bit of help from the industry experts—you can design a robust and future-proof broadband network infrastructure.