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Jan 31, 2024
3 min

Want to Keep Your Network in Peak Condition and Your Customers Happy? Automation Is Key

When it comes to keeping your broadband network in good health, prevention is always better than cure. Preventative measures cost less than dealing with problems after they occur—and it means less disruption for subscribers, too.

Nevertheless, upgrades can often mean service interruptions and other issues that can negatively impact the subscriber experience. And in a world where subscribers rely on network connectivity like never before, any downtime is unacceptable. The network must be “always on”—it’s what your subscribers expect.

The good news is that maintenance windows no longer have to be lengthy or disruptive. By using the latest network automation software, it is now possible for broadband service providers (BSPs) to perform upgrades in a matter of minutes, instead of the hours—sometimes days—it took previously.

 

Choosing the Right Network Automation Tools

According to the Gartner report, “The State of Network Automation in 2022,” less than 35% of enterprise network activities are automated. The market is described as “fragmented,” where overall automation levels are not impressive—yet a small group of enterprises automate over half of their network activities. The report goes on to recommend automation for “quick wins,” which include “troubleshooting, baselining, and archival.”

But how do BSPs approach implementing automation? Thankfully the tools are already available. By using Calix Cloud tools on the Intelligent Access EDGE™ platform, BSPs are now able to create autonomous broadband networks that can, in some cases, self-analyze and self-diagnose. By leveraging this approach to network maintenance, operations teams can:

  • Provide seamless network upgrades with zero downtime.
  • Generate and prioritize maintenance recommendations based on past network behaviors.
  • Provide “red flags” on network equipment that is failing or about to fail.
  • Anticipate when degrading ONT light levels will start to impact the subscriber experience.
  • Identify potential security threats by monitoring traffic flows for anomalies.

 

Industry’s First-Ever Live Network Upgrade

Maryland-based Antietam Broadband performed the industry’s first-ever live network upgrade, resulting in zero downtime and no subscriber interruption. Using Intelligent Access EDGE, the entire upgrade took less than 10 minutes per Optical Line Terminal (OLT)—avoiding the need to address each Optical Network Terminal (ONT) manually.

Even more, this experience was the complete opposite of a time-consuming and manual upgrade that Antietam experienced with another vendor’s solution. The prior upgrade took five nights of midnight shifts spread over two weeks—with up to an hour of subscriber outage each night. Antietam also had to touch every subscriber ONT and reset every system in the field manually. This a prime example of how BSPs can embrace automation to drive operational efficiencies, lower costs, and more effectively serve subscribers.

 

Discover more by downloading our latest eBook, "How Embracing Automation Can Boost Productivity, Lower Costs, and Transform Your Operations."

Senior Product Marketing Manager, Operations Cloud, Calix

Alan Marks is a senior product marketing manager at Calix, focused on helping broadband service providers transform operations using SaaS and cloud technologies. He has over 25 years of experience in the broadband industry. Prior to Calix, Alan held product marketing and product management leadership roles at Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent, and AT&T. Alan is graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

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