Three key criteria for easy-to-use optical networking solutions
Optical networking solutions are frequently advertised as easy to use. But what does that really mean? As a rural communication service provider (CSP), you don’t have a huge team working day and night. Ease of use reduces the time you spend on installation, operations and troubleshooting so you can focus more on strategic network decisions – and avoid having to sacrifice your precious evenings and weekends to solve problems. Let's explore some criteria that can help you compare ease of use and find the best solution for you.
1. Easy to deploy
If a network element is a hassle to get up and running, this does not bode well for how easy it will be to continue using after that. You should be able to feel that all the ease-of-use pitches you heard were truthful from the very moment you unbox and start setting up your new gear. This means it should be easy to mix and match, enable simplified network architectures, and be easy to set up.
Three things to look for to get off to a good start:
- Interoperability: Network elements built on open standards with a track record of compatibility with other vendors minimize the chance of hiccups during installation in a multi-vendor network.
- Support for embedded optics: In certain cases when you don’t need an active transponder-based solution, support for embedding optics directly into routers and switches can help you cut costs and streamline deployment.
- Plug-and-play deployment: Plug-and-play allows you to rapidly deploy individual network elements and turn up the network faster with minimal manual configuration required. This means your solution works from day one as opposed to merely being scalable in the case of zero touch provisioning.
2. Easy to operate
Once your new gear is up and running, it also needs to be easy to optimize and change how it operates. After all, we live in a constantly changing world – regional networks included. After a while, you may need to add additional wavelengths, extend coverage, update bitrates, or adapt to geographical changes in usage patterns. This requires flexibility and automation.
Three things to look for to streamline operations:
- Active/passive back-hauling: Whether you’re back-hauling from a cell tower or PON traffic from a remote cabinet, automated balancing with the latest active-passive solutions supporting whatever bitrate you need simplifies your backhaul operations. Automated balancing also helps when adding channels and ensuring power levels are continuously optimized.
- Easy management software: Open management software with a strong UX, a streamlined upgrade process, and powerful automation features simplifies operations and improves flexibility.
- Combining the best of active and passive: Active-passive open line solutions deliver many of the benefits of a ROADM solution with the simplicity, cost efficiency and ease of use of a passive solution.
3. Easy to support
Easy to use should also mean easy to fix if something goes wrong. Nobody likes having to be bounced around between call centers on an evening or weekend spending precious extra time to get equipment back up from outages. To ensure maximum uptime, it’s helpful if you have reliable solutions that don’t break easily, direct access to expert support, and easily accessible troubleshooting data.
Three things to look for to minimize downtime:
- Simple and durable: Complex solutions, all-in-one solutions may be more likely to suffer downtime. More durable, disaggregated solutions are simpler, smaller, and use the latest technology.
- 24/7 expert support: Your call should go straight to an expert who can help you solve your problem – no being asked if you’ve restarted the gear first before you even get to someone with the right competence.
- Open network management: Running open network management software gives you easy access to data points even across multi-vendor networks in one consolidated view so you can quickly and easily get to the bottom of any errors.
Across-the-board ease of use with Smartoptics
At Smartoptics, we pride ourselves on delivering optical networking solutions that are easy to use in every conceivable way, tailored to the needs of rural CSPs like you. We have always been a champion of true openness and have a proven track record of interoperability and zero-touch deployment. Regardless whether you want a simple embedded solution or a powerful and flexible yet still easy-to-use transponder-based solution, we’ve got you covered.
Our open line systems make your life easier with zero license fees for alien wavelengths and automated wavelength balancing. From simple optics to the most complex modular systems, all of our products are designed in a compact, simple, and durable form factor for maximum cost efficiency and ease of use. Our SoSmart open network management software suite helps you quickly and easily manage, optimize, and troubleshoot multi-vendor networks. Last but absolutely not least, our team of expert support staff has got your back 24/7.
Learn more about why and how we deliver easy-to-use and flexible solutions for rural CSPs like you in our guide “Opening up a new era of flexible networking”. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or would like some help simplifying your network operations.