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Mar 07, 2024
4 min

4 Recommendations to Design a Highly Resilient Broadband Network

A woman monitoring broadband network performance

Today, broadband services are essential for working, learning, and supporting a connected lifestyle. Subscribers expect continuous and uninterrupted services. However, broadband service providers (BSPs) are challenged because traditional broadband networks are still designed and built for best-effort applications. The gap between subscriber expectations and the network's ability to deliver highly available services has significant consequences.

Unpredictable service downtime leads to frustration, increased support calls, truck rolls, and lost brand reputation—and ultimately is a major cause of subscriber churn. BSPs must rethink how they deploy networks to deliver what subscribers want and need. So, how do you ensure a cost-effective, highly available network that operates continuously without disruptions or intervention?

The best time to consider resiliency is during the network design phase because adding it later is costly and disruptive. To design a resilient network, you must first understand what causes downtime. While natural disasters, fiber cuts, and power outages can cause issues, most failures are due to human factors such as misconfigurations, network changes, or software upgrades. Equipment faults, security threats, and software bugs can also cause downtime. Deploying redundancy is a crucial mechanism to ensure resiliency against these common faults.

However, redundancy can come at a high cost. To manage this, consider the needs of your network, subscribers, and services. Redundancy is important for duplicating critical components, functions, or connections that increase reliability.

Considerations To Enhance Network Availability

First, understand and document the availability requirements for connectivity and value-added services. Outline residential versus business versus community connectivity and define appropriate service levels to provide the best network availability options. Also, consider your internal communication requirements, such as business applications, security video, etc.

Next, it’s essential to consider the territory and geography. Network solutions with higher-layer protocols can use route and geographic diversity for redundancy capabilities. By planning the expected traffic load growth for links and network element locations, you can implement redundancy where it makes sense.

  • Where are the network landing points to connect cloud providers, the internet, and outside the community?

  • Where are you anticipating growth in the market?

  • What resources are essential to support services, and where is the best place to locate them?

Consider deploying a higher-availability network in business cluster areas to prepare for service needs. Due to capital investments and project timelines, it's more cost-effective to design redundancy into the infrastructure as fiber is deployed rather than retroactively. Take a proactive approach and consult with your town's planning department to determine which areas have business zoning and plans for new development.

Finally, identify the redundancy capabilities needed in every broadband solution you deploy and those needed when deploying a resilient network to deliver highly available services. Beyond physically diverse paths, consider network power sources. Generators and battery backups ensure network survival for critical services in areas that may impact the most subscribers.

4 Network Resiliency Recommendations

Here are four areas to assess when building resiliency into your broadband access network:

  • End-to-end network: Look at the network from subscriber service flows to service delivery, application, and internet—then segment your network by failure impact and acceptable downtime. For instance, a network failure in your aggregation network would impact many customers, and downtime of more than a few seconds would have significant business consequences.

  • Transport and aggregation network: The transport and aggregation network connects to the internet, applications, services, management channels, etc. You should consider deploying a Layer 3 network and implementing redundancy technologies, load balancing, and routing protocols to deliver high availability. Consolidating and moving Layer 3 routing functions closer to the subscribers also lowers broadcast traffic, reduces network latency, enables traffic segmentation, optimizes network performance, reduces the number of network elements, and simplifies troubleshooting and fault isolation.

  • Access domain network: In the access domain, look to consolidate and move service-enabling functions—such as service routing, subscriber management, and service delivery—closer to the subscriber. Leverage G.8032 rings, link aggregation groups (LAGs), and redundant cards to increase availability.

  • Community and business needs: For business areas and essential community departments, deploy geo-diverse passive optical network (PON) protection to support higher service availability for critical applications. In addition, ensure redundancy for IP address management so you can continue to connect subscribers with their services.

A solid broadband access network foundation is a competitive differentiator. Build your network with reliability, service availability, and scalability in mind. Plan based on your target locations, service offerings, and community growth. And leverage simple networks with deployment flexibility to deploy a resilient and highly available network architecture.

To learn more, download our eBook, Subscribers Are Demanding Highly Available Broadband—Here’s How To Deliver It.

Director, Access Network Product Marketing, Calix

Andre Viera is the director of access network product marketing at Calix. Andre spearheads the creation of marketing initiatives that help service providers overcome obstacles and achieve growth. Before Calix, Andre worked at Fujitsu Network Communications, Oclaro, EMC, Alcatel-Lucent, and AT&T Network Systems. Andre has an MBA from and holds MSME and BSME degrees from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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