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Understanding the Challenges

Traditional branch networks use dedicated network devices with proprietary software and require extensive equipment refreshes every 3-5 years to accommodate advances in technology. Financially, this approach requires high capital expenditure (CAPEX) and technically, requires a compromise in choice of technology. For example, service providers can choose to implement a multifunctional device from one vendor or multiple devices that offer different functions. Choosing a multifunctional device is an expensive option and may not offer optimal performance for all functions. The alternative option, use of multiple devices from different vendors, offers the opportunity to deploy the best device for each function; however, providers then face challenges of integration and interoperability in the network.

Ordering, obtaining, and installing the equipment requires a significant amount of time. In addition, businesses cannot afford to employ dedicated IT staff at branch offices to install, configure, and maintain network equipment. Other staff at branch offices may assume some basic responsibilities for the equipment; however, IT staff must be available for set up, upgrades, and troubleshooting of equipment. Consequently, companies must carefully plan network modifications and analyze the return on investment of changes to network services.

Delivery times for new network services are long, and operating expenses (OPEX) are hard to control. For service providers, time-to-market for new services is slow, and revenue acceleration is difficult. For all service providers, configuration of standard services for multiple sites and customization of services for specific sites are labor-intensive activities.

In a traditional branch network, administrators must manually configure all interfaces for many physical devices, and the probability of configuration errors is high. Manual configuration errors and interoperability issues among network devices cause downtime of the network. Finding and fixing errors can be slow, and monitoring the state of the network is a complex task.

Modified: 2016-10-12