Do This One Thing To Increase Your Network Capacity by 100 Percent by Alan DiCicco, Senior Director, Market Insights and Solutions Marketing, Calix

Moving subscriber management closer to the subscriber and consolidating multiple functions related to provisioning, managing, and maintaining subscriber services simplifies operations and saves time and money. Teresa McGaughey wrote an excellent article, “The Easy Way To Simplify Your Network and Reduce Recurring Fees by 95 Percent” on this topic in last month’s Beacon, highlighting Highland Telephone Cooperative’s (HTC) journey to a simplified network.

But consolidating subscriber management functions is not the end of the journey. Integrating routing into your Layer 2 access network architecture is the next step—and it has at least four major benefits for the subscriber service network, including:

  1. Interconnecting access networks to provide resiliency and avoid costly service outages when fibers are cut
  2. Leveraging routing protocols to better utilize network capacity and improve network efficiency
  3. Logically connecting outsourced upstream VoIP services into the local service domain without major capital investment
  4. Implementing a wealth of Layer 3 policy tools to enhance network and subscriber security

All these network architecture choices have direct business benefits that are sometimes as easy to quantify as 100 percent higher network capacity utilization or network redundancy where there was none in the past. Ethen Webinger, CTO of Acentek, spoke during ConneXions 2020 on how Acentek is leveraging the advanced routing capabilities of the AXOS platform and E9-2 ASM3001 to get their community connected to the most advanced broadband service.

What is a Subscriber Service?

Let’s start by defining a subscriber service by its two end points. One is the home gateway router, where the subscriber’s private home network connects to the service provider’s Layer 2 access network. At the other end of the subscriber service is the broadband network gateway (BNG) router, where the Ethernet connection transitions back to a connectionless IP flow bound for the wide, wild world of the internet

Between these two end points, the service—an IP flow—crosses over the Layer 2 access network, is aggregated by Layer 2 and Layer 3 switches, and finally terminates on the gateway router.  Yes, the service offers a high-speed internet connection (that your subscribers want and need). But the service also makes your network reliable, operationally efficient, and secure for both you and your subscribers.

To achieve these objectives, we need to leverage the best of Layer 2 and Layer 3

The Right Way To Add Beneficial Routing To Your Access Network

Identifying the optimal architecture for the subscriber service network can be a complex task. Put the two gateway routers too far apart and subscribers will experience increased latency as they surf the web. Make the Layer 2 access network too big and it becomes susceptible to broadcast storms; too small and you become vulnerable to service outages when fiber cuts occur. Think of the subscriber service as nothing more than a simple connection and you open yourself up to cybersecurity threats and denial-of-service attacks.

When considered together, Layer 3 networking capabilities make Layer 2 access networks more reliable, efficient, and secure. The networking advantages and benefits of moving routing closer to the subscriber edge are clear and compelling. Calix solutions engineers and network consultants are ready to help you build a subscriber service delivery network that will simplify your business, excite your subscribers, and grow your value.