In the race to keep up with evolving digital demands, many communication service providers (CSPs), utilities and other network operators are in the position of maintaining legacy equipment that is unable to meet today’s networking needs. Not only is this outdated equipment operating well below necessary traffic capacity, it is more costly to operate and maintain, and prone to increased risk of service outages — particularly when it is no longer supported by the original manufacturer. A sustainable network transformation is required.
Upgrading and modernizing legacy infrastructure helps network operators restore lost competitive advantages and expedite the evolution to new network architectures. Equally important is the ability to migrate to a more sustainable network, which not only helps shrink operating costs, but also enables operators to improve their business model through lower energy consumption, disaster preparedness, reduced waste and CO2 emissions, and corporate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) achievements.
For many enterprises, governments and communities, sustainability has become an urgent focus. In fact, many state and local governments have enacted various laws aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting clean energy and efficient power usage. For example, Boston, California, New York, St. Louis and Washington have all established building ordinances to reduce carbon footprint, with compliance deadlines beginning as early as this year, in some cases.
Sustainable network vision
Growing pressure to make more sustainable choices is impacting network managers in every aspect of their business. Network modernization can be a powerful tool for decarbonization of the global economy, significantly reducing the network’s carbon footprint while focusing on business growth to build a sustainable model for the future.
As network data demands escalate, overall electricity usage continues to rise. The relative inefficiency of legacy infrastructure further contributes to higher power consumption, making it increasingly difficult for operators to meet sustainability goals and emissions compliance requirements. Replacing outdated and underutilized legacy network equipment with smaller, more energy-efficient components significantly reduces power consumption and excessive heat production.
Moreover, this transformation frees up valuable floor space, reducing real estate costs as well as the amount of square footage that needs to be cooled for lower total cost of ownership (TCO).The environmental impact of these modernization efforts can be measured in several ways, including energy consumption per customer, percentage of refurbished network equipment, renewable energy shares and the network’s overall carbon intensity.
Depending on each network operator’s unique needs, a network modernization project can range from element management system transformation, to retiring equipment in place, to a complete site exit. Regardless, a crucial consideration is how to implement sustainable network transformation while maintaining quality of service (QoS) for a seamless customer experience.
Sustainable network transformation roadmap
Migrating from legacy equipment to next-generation architecture allows CSPs and network operators to evolve toward a scalable, flexible, high-performance network in a sustainable manner. Yet, this major undertaking can be a daunting prospect due to the complexity and potential risks involved in assuring existing network traffic while swapping out infrastructure. Before you embark on a network transformation journey, it’s critical to plot a strategic course to achieve modernization at your own pace.
In fact, implementing these complex and often challenging network modernization projects requires broad-ranging technical, business and planning expertise, monopolizing skilled staff that are needed elsewhere for critical customer-focused growth. Therefore, experienced partners, effective planning and the right tools are essential in order to minimize risk and optimize accuracy.
For example, Fujitsu network modernization services provide highly skilled, hands-on support and an array of tools and automation technology in a turnkey solution that can be tailored to suit each operator’s individual situation. These vendor-agnostic network modernization solutions are based on a core set of services that operators can select, customize and implement as needed:
- Analyze – Engineering and network analysis enables strategic assessment
- Retire – Rapid turndown of non-traffic bearing equipment helps recover assets
- Groom – Compression of live traffic to minimal hardware necessary returns spares
- Replace – Discontinued systems are replaced with modern, sustainable architecture
- Migrate – End-to-end traffic migration enables one step movement to a new network, reducing risk.
With access to specialized managed network services, network operators can meet their specific modernization goals in their timeframe. This might include vacating sites to reduce leasing costs, decommissioning legacy equipment to comply with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) national security mandates, or migrating live traffic from a legacy Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) network to packet-switched architecture using the circuit emulation migration (CEM) approach.
Build resiliency for tomorrow
Sustainability transformation is the networking industry’s most important long-term challenge. A sustainable economic model not only helps restore the environment, but also builds economies that can achieve growth within the planetary boundaries. At Fujitsu, we are working with customers and industry partners to explore how sustainability can be wholly integrated into business, driving technology evolution in a way that helps organizations transform to create a more resilient society.
With the right tools, a strategic approach, and a partner experienced in diverse configurations and technologies, network operators and CSPs can implement sustainable networking to not only meet ESG initiatives, but also recover floor space, reduce power consumption, improve operational efficiency, and invest in next-generation infrastructure that is more scalable, resilient and profitable.