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How Network Providers are Supporting their Customers: Part 1


Customers’ needs are changing, and network providers are stepping up to help.

Whether an organization is prioritizing digital transformation, rolling out hybrid multi-cloud infrastructure, edge infrastructure, trying to extend automation, or driving digital experiences, network connectivity, performance, and reliability are essential elements of success. Without a powerful network that’s available when they need it, where they need it, with the right capabilities, organizations can’t execute their innovative plans, serve their customers, and succeed.

As a leader with the largest independently owned fiber network in the world, we have a distinctive perspective on what efforts network operators should be making in order to serve their customers. In this post, we’re going to explore the first of four critical areas of opportunity that the best network providers will deliver in 2022. In our next three posts, we’ll explore other opportunities where network capabilities, capacity, and reach will change to help organizations pursue new opportunities.

Number 1: Network expansion

Let’s face facts for a moment. Though organizations like Zayo have worked very hard to deploy fiber where it’s needed, as it’s needed, there’s still work to be done.

Take a look at this map, provided by the ITU.

As you can see, just in North America alone, large areas of the country lack intercity fiber networks. That’s a problem because, with the advent of 5G and the need to deploy edge connectivity to support next-generation services, like autonomous driving, organizations need powerful fiber backbones throughout the country.

The U.S. administration passed the Infrastructure and Jobs Act in part to remedy this gap, particularly for middle mile and last mile infrastructure. Every network provider that’s aligned to their customer needs knows this and knows that they’ll need to expand their networks in order to support their customers. We anticipate that every network provider will be pushing increased capacity, new routes, new capabilities, and market expansion to support emerging needs. Some of the most exciting approaches will include:

  • New Long Haul and Global Routes: Providers will not only be adding new long haul and global routes, but they’ll also be adding new routes to support the lowest latency possible while providing new, unique routing options so that customers can bolster their network infrastructure.
  • 400G and Subsea: Providers will be prioritizing 400G client-side wavelength and 400G IP capabilities for multi-terabit capacity, enabling higher transmission rates, reduced cost per bit, increased data transfer speeds, and significantly greater bandwidth capacity – key features that support enterprises on their digital transformation journeys. They’ll also be extending and expanding highly fortified, hybrid, ultra-low-loss (ULL) subsea links that support the extreme demands of carriers, enterprises, and hyperscalers.
  • Enabling Disaggregation: Expanding capacity isn’t just about adding fiber, it’s also about using fiber more efficiently. Technology improvements and software enablements will continue to support the operation of disaggregated networks. Disaggregation over over line systems gives network operators much more flexible capacity and capability to better serve their customers. Disaggregation not only adds versatility, but it also cuts costs as well as potentially supports new service offerings, like shared spectrum and alien wavelengths, giving network providers opportunities to do more with less.
  • Efficient and Scalable Packet Transport: Finally, we’ll see providers concentrate efforts on increased IP and peering capabilities, making packet transport more efficient and scalable. With the growing need for internet bandwidth due to 5G, remote work, and intensive workloads, providers will be investing here. The obvious advantages of increased redundancy and improved OpEx lead directly to a better user experience.

Of course, it goes without saying that at Zayo, we’ll be working on all these areas, delivering on promised improvements so that our customers can feel confident in our capacity, capabilities, and reach.

Our next post will move from physical expansion to network improvements — keep an eye on this blog for a view of how network providers will innovate in 2022.

Explore Zayo’s expansive, global fiber network here.