It’s an age-old story of good news and bad news… The good news is that escalating demand for data and cloud services continues to drive network growth worldwide with no signs of slowing down. The bad news is that as a result, many network owners – including communication service providers (CSPs), utilities and transportation agencies – are struggling to keep up as they manage aging infrastructure.
Legacy network modernization enables network owners to deliver new services and provides a path to improved network performance, greater sustainability and reduced security risks. Yet, network modernization is no trivial undertaking. How do you know when it’s time to update your legacy network?
Timing is everything
Delivery of tomorrow’s digital services opens up lucrative new markets, providing considerable new revenue sources. However, this is not possible with yesterday’s inefficient network infrastructure limiting the space, power and cooling resources available to respond to new business opportunities.
Knowing the right time to implement network modernization is critical to long-term profitability. Here are the top five signs that it’s time to transform your network.
1. Spares are hard to find
As network infrastructure becomes outdated, equipment spares become harder to find — particularly when dealing with proprietary vendor platforms. Even if decades-old synchronous optical networking (SONET) elements are still carrying traffic, they may no longer be supported by their manufacturer; and in some cases, the original vendors are no longer in business. This means that spare parts can be increasingly difficult to find, leading to longer downtimes and higher chances of traffic outages that cannot be restored within agreed customer service level agreement (SLA) timeframes.
2. Network is difficult to maintain
Legacy network elements that have reached end-of-life (EOL) tend to have higher failure rates, increasing the risk of outages and service degradation. Compounding this is the fact that management systems for these elements are no longer supported by their manufacturer. Not only does this impact the customer’s quality of service (QoS), but these maintenance issues also become a drain on the network as technicians spend time and budget that could be better spent on network advancements to enable lucrative new services or market expansion.
3. High heating and cooling costs
Older network equipment lacks the energy efficiency that the latest packet-optical infrastructure offers, resulting in costly energy bills and a large carbon footprint. This translates to increased operational expenditures (OpEx) and much higher total cost of ownership (TCO), typically outweighing the amount of revenue the legacy network is capable of generating. Moreover, this higher power consumption impacts the ability to meet sustainability goals and emissions compliance requirements.
4. Difficulty meeting customer needs
Stagnated infrastructure leaves untapped bandwidth, throttling the network’s ability to scale as needed to meet demand. These outdated systems also present an operational complexity that requires specialized knowledge, which is becoming scarce. With fewer qualified technicians available to support the network, assuring QoS is ever more difficult. And because legacy networks do not offer automated processes, time-consuming manual provisioning and maintenance activities are required, increasing costs and human error.
5. Stalled network evolution
Oversized legacy equipment footprints not only waste space and increase real estate costs, but also reduce the ability to deploy new infrastructure to enable innovative, value-added services. Constrained rack capacity and cluttered floor space means that facilities are not fully utilized and the network cannot scale. Furthermore, many network owners have an urgent need to replace outdated equipment or element management systems that pose security risks.
The presence of one or more of these signs indicates that it’s time to think about a strategic migration to newer, more efficient network infrastructure. Together, these challenges create a perfect storm that can overwhelm even the most established network, drowning the business in debt and inefficiency.
Network modernization roadmap
For some network managers, the prospect of taking on a network transformation project can be daunting, leading them to postpone network modernization that is critical to improving performance and supporting security initiatives. Unfortunately, the cost of doing nothing will only escalate. Yet, moving forward requires broad-ranging technical, business and planning expertise.
When working with an experienced partner, network modernization can be handled simply, seamlessly and with minimal risk. Fujitsu network modernization service provides highly skilled, hands-on support and an array of tools and automation technology to enable the modernization of legacy network infrastructure.
For example, Fujitsu’s multi-certified network modernization specialists are expert at the Circuit-Emulation Migration (CEM) approach that allows CSPs to maintain customers currently running on legacy systems, while simultaneously eliminating those systems from the network. By replacing legacy time division multiplexing (TDM) infrastructure with IP-based circuit emulation technology, traffic can be migrated to packet-switched networks with lower cost, less complexity and higher reliability, facilitating a smooth upgrade to the network of the future.
In fact, Fujitsu network modernization specialists have migrated over 1.2 million circuits across more than 500 projects, using a proven methodology that mitigates the risks of live traffic migration with a track record of consistent high quality and continuous improvement. With a holistic and vendor-agnostic approach, our network digital transformation experts deliver smooth, timely completion of even the most demanding modernization projects.
Road to revenue
Legacy equipment can erode the health of your network and your business. Moreover, outdated network infrastructure actually generates less revenue per square foot than up-to-date technology.
Migrating to a modern, IP-based network helps reduce costs, improve efficiency and boost capacity, leading to more optimized operations today and a future evolution path. And by working with the right partner, you can overcome the challenges and risks of network modernization to ensure that your network transformation goals are achieved on time, within budget and without disrupting traffic.