Scaling for Video Binge-Watchers

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Addressing Broadband Demand With Wireless InnovationBy Brian Schrand

Mobile video, podcasts, photos, and many types of shareable content, proliferate today’s tablets, phones, and laptops. And thanks to ultra-high-bandwidth capabilities and the combination of global IP networks and 4G LTE wireless, video is the pervasive and preferred communication vehicle. The result is that you, as a wireless carrier, are scrambling to meet your video binge-watching customers’ never-ending broadband appetites.

Equally as interesting is that most bandwidth today is consumed by residential customers — not traditional business subscribers. When you add that to the mix, it’s imperative that you and your teams continue to deploy more fiber to support the increased traffic on your wireless networks.

Faced with the need to increase fiber density and the speed of connectivity to help solve the ever-expanding need for bandwidth consumption, how can you keep pace? The answer depends on the network architecture.

Video-Friendly Infrastructure
Outside plant network architectures continue to evolve as service requirements change and bandwidth demands increase. In 2015, there were approximately 75,000 outdoor small cell backhaul connections. With the rise in broadband consumption, the market is expected to grow to 960,000 connections by 2019. With this growth trajectory in mind, the challenge becomes greater when you consider that labor costs can contribute up to 70% of all network build costs. So what’s a cost-conscious carrier to do?

3 things to keep in mind as you evolve your network for the future
1. Deploying scalable and modular fiber solutions enables you to work from one common network footprint: to small cells, macro cells, or anywhere else in the wireless network you are looking to terminate fiber. These solutions also allow technicians to deploy one universally compatible solution across the entire network. The ability to deploy a solution with a common footprint to any spot in the network offers you, your network engineers and technicians significant installation time and labor cost savings.

2. Real estate matters. Given that you may lease the necessary space to turn up and support your networks, that real estate can become a large portion of total deployment costs for your wireless network. That means whatever solutions you use must be extremely dense so you maximize the value of each square foot of the leased space.

Many times, however, in an effort to deploy solutions that are extremely dense, fiber management is sacrificed. This opens up the network to potential outages. The solution is to deploy a modular solution that allows for density. Just be sure it has an increased number of ports and reliable jumper connections, so it does not compromise good fiber management for the network.

3. Reliable jumper connections are important. And effectively managing these jumpers and their connection points is key. Over time, if there is no intuitive route path for jumpers to follow — from the equipment to the fiber terminations that disseminate out to the network — technicians are left to create multiple routing paths. This will continually make it more difficult to manage and follow. A more efficient model to streamline your fiber network may be using a plug-and-play fiber deployment solution.

Regardless of the varying network infrastructures, cost will always be a top consideration in the deployment of fiber. And since labor is a huge part of your expense, it helps to embrace standardization with modular, plug-and-play products that are easy to deploy across all areas of the network. Then, you can rely on less experienced labor to speed up fiber rollouts while using the services of more highly skilled technicians to install the high-count fibers required in the core of the network. This two-pronged strategy allows you to build your networks more efficiently and cost effectively, and to meet the demands of your video-centric customers.

Endnote
For more information, please see “Small Cell Backhaul a 5-Year $6.5 Billion Opportunity, http://news.ihsmarkit.com/press-release/technology/small-cell-backhaul-5-year-65-billion-opportunity?page=1, posted Tuesday, December 15, 2015 10:01 am EST.

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About Author

Brian Schrand is Director of Application Engineering, Clearfield. He has more than 29 years of experience in engineering and installation. For more information, please email sales@clfd.net or visit www.clearfieldconnection.com.

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