From a competitive perspective – importance of integrated access devices

From a competitive perspective – importance of integrated access devices – Technology Information

Kevin Walsh

For competitive carriers, the integrated access device plays an essential role in the network. It serves as the service demarcation point at the customer premises that allows a bundle of voice and data services to be delivered over a several varieties of transmission facilities. But perhaps a more important role played by the integrated access device is that it fundamentally changes the service provider’s business model.

By moving the service demarcation point to the subscriber side of the CPE, the more nimble competitive provider can accept customer traffic in native form-such as Internet protocol packets on Ethernet or analog voice-rather than forcing the customer to convert traffic to a format acceptable to the provider. This expands the perimeter of the service provider cloud from the central office to the customer premises.

>From a business perspective this is good-a bundle of services that shares >a single access infrastructure gives the competitive carrier more revenue >sources from a fixed capital investment. Each new service substantially >improves operating margins and lowers customer churn. However, this >expansion of the service provider cloud can pose additional technical >challenges. These come in the areas of management and provisioning.

Because the integrated access device is now part of the carrier infrastructure-not simply enterprise WAN access equipment-it must fit into carrier management methodologies. Among other things, this means that the integrated access device must be manageable from legacy operations support systems in addition to carrier-class element management systems and craft interfaces.

Also, service provisioning orders, regardless of where they originate, should flow through the entire access network all the way down to the integrated access device.

Finally, thanks to today’s more aggressive competitive carriers, this means that individual subscribers should be able to use familiar tools such as Web browsers to dynamically select the services to which they wish to be connected.

These requirements, brought on by the advent of the competitive carrier, create a new carrier-class integrated access device. In addition to providing the management and provisioning capabilities traditional integrated access devices tend to lack, it is the carrier-class integrated access device that enables a new type of competitive carrier business model: the multiservice retailer.

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