October - 2014 - issue > CXO View Point

Managed Connectivity for Precision Network Views

By Davy Brown, CTO, TE Connectivity
Monday, November 24, 2014
By Davy Brown, CTO, TE Connectivity
TE Connectivity (NYSE: TEL) designs and manufactures products for a variety of industry ranging from automotive, data communication systems and several others. The company has a current market cap of $22.43 billion.

As the world of networking moves towards small cells, the challenge remains as mobile operators deploy tens of thousands of these units to fill in coverage and capacity gaps. With more than 300,000 cell sites and a million or more DAS antennas present, managing the physical layer infrastructure that feeds them is a challenge. What complicates this further is the lack of clear visibility into network configuration, by site access restrictions and the need to be prepared for any eventuality.

A managed connectivity system uses Connection Point Identification (CPID) technology embedded in the physical layer and a network management system to provide real-time reporting on the state of physical connections. It brings the physical layer of the network under the same management visibility, discipline, and control as the other network layers. Managed connectivity has significant benefits for Visibility, Optimization and Efficiency.

With Large mobile operators typically having millions of network devices to inventory and manage, we have had network management systems that track activity at Layers 2-7 of the networking stack. However, operators have been forced to use manual, error-prone systems when it comes to documenting the physical layer. Typically, spreadsheets are used to track network configurations and equipment locations. Efforts to maintain manual documentation on the network require dozens of network engineers� time to update documents. Eventually, this lack of reliable information forces technicians to manually trace and verify connection and equipment locations before they do any work. This is a significant expense on the part of the mobile operator.

Manual documentation also has a big impact on the timeliness and cost-effectiveness of network changes. When a repair is necessary, the technician is dispatched to the tower, rooftop, or customer premise without knowing for sure whether or not the equipment on the truck is adequate for performing the repair. This prolongs the time to repair, uses up network engineer time (in trying to maintain manual documents) that could be better spent elsewhere, and increases the cost of service calls.

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