Although the world is only now beginning to slowly emerge from a lockdown or semi-lockdown state, the impact of COVID-19 has already accelerated an irreversible shift to remote learning, working, shopping, and entertainment. This has led to an enormous increase in bandwidth requirements throughout the network. Lightwave Online quoted an industry study that bandwidth usage trended 47% higher in Q1 2020 than the year ago quarter. San Francisco-based network edge platform provider, Fastly, provided some indications of the trajectory of change. They tracked traffic volume for February and March on their network and showed the following growth of Internet traffic: France +38%, Italy +109%, Japan +31%, Spain +39%, UK +78%, California +46%, Michigan +38%, and New York and New Jersey +44%. Needless to say, in most of those regions there was a decrease in download speed – degradation caused by congestion in certain key spots.
Communication service providers like other essential businesses have had to adjust to the restrictions imposed by authorities while attempting to cope with the Tsunami-like surge in traffic. But this disruption in traditional practices won’t end with a cure for COVID-19 – in fact, the opposite will occur, as industries and public authorities embrace the many benefits of interaction from afar – reduced infrastructure costs, quicker time to market, accelerated customer reach, easier public accessibility, increased transaction volume, and efficiencies of scale.
Industry experts acknowledge that one of the lessons learned so far is that access to the Internet is paramount, especially when you have to work and learn and can only do that remotely. The gaps in connectivity require innovation in backhaul and a greater focus on cost reduction. Achieving that requires a really big transformation, moving software workloads to the cloud and virtualization. In turn, this necessitates end-to-end network visibility, network understanding, and network automation — all of which must be vendor agnostic.
Atrinet’s NetACE toolkit is perfectly positioned to facilitate this transformation now, enabling operators to seamlessly discover, configure, program and automate multi-vendor technology and infrastructure across both legacy and virtual networks. By replacing the traditional, slow, high-touch, on-premises inventory and network management model with a real-time, automated network approach that can be enacted remotely, CSPs will be able to provision on-demand services and dynamically adjust resources in existing hybrid networks as well as those that are open, virtualized and software defined. They can also significantly reduce mean time to repair that is derived from network understanding.
This approach offers many benefits:
- Agile and rapid response to exponential traffic growth and subsequent network changes
- 360 degree network visibility and network understanding to eliminate stranded network resources (up to 60% in some cases) and reduce dramatically MTTR
- Accelerate deployments of next generation virtual technologies by using Zero-touch service provisioning and automation models for network migration
- Open programmable interfaces to EMS, NMS and OSS systems reducing time to deployment and development
Prior to COVID-19, there was little talk about network infrastructure. Now the spotlight is really shining on this topic because we are all depending on it to work well.
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