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Is Now The Right Time To Move To Next-Generation Networks?

Friday 03 February, 2023

The requirement for organisations to provide employees and clients with a network infrastructure that is optimised, secure and resilient is increasingly critical - particularly with the post-pandemic move towards flexible and remote working.


Next Generation Networks (NGN) infrastructure can certainly help with this, providing businesses with improved resilience and security, cost efficiencies, simplified administration and deployment. 

Furthermore, now is a great time for organisations to consider an evolution towards NGN as a part of their network modernization due to the current combination of improvement in technological innovations in the telecoms industry combined with low operational costs. 

In this blog, our expert, Hari Singh, looks at what is actually meant by NGN (and the benefits), common warning signs that you should move sooner rather than later and also lists considerations to take into account before making NGN a core part of your infrastructure sourcing strategy.

What Do We Mean By 'Next Generation Networks'?

Traditionally, separate channels have been used to provide voice, data and multimedia services to end users. Each network requires its own hardware, devices, protocols, and management.

Next Generation Networks (NGN) as a concept is focused on the move to a single network that encapsulates all types of information and services into IP Packets that can be simultaneously delivered via a variety of different transport technologies. 

Demystifying what this change means in practice and what benefits organisations can expect to glean can be a challenge, so let us try and clear things up:

- NGN decouples the service and transport layers of network technologies. Due to the use of the single Next Generation Network, the services that run upon the network do not require changes to hardware, equipment, or lines. Meaning that how the network is used, and the type of data transferred is managed and defined, is via Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN).

- The removal of multiple lines, circuits, and a myriad of hardware endpoints, can significantly simplify topologies leading to far easier management, maintenance, and monitoring of the overall network.

- Proactive and automated monitoring of traffic, allowing traffic to be re-routed during times of high usage ensures:

- Bandwidth availability 

- Network latency and data loss are minimised

- The most efficient and fastest data transfer route is leveraged.

Focusing on Wi-Fi as part of network upgrades removes a significant management overhead and is more closely aligned to users’ expectations on connectivity.

Common Warning Signs You Should Move to NGNsPoor bandwidth availability, high latency, limited application prioritisation and packet loss are all symptoms of an outdated, complex, and often costly network infrastructure. Recently, the COVID pandemic, followed by lockdown, led to significant changes in the working environment. Companies rapidly reacted to these changes and adapted; evolving the nature of how their employees accessed and used critical resources - as well as how they connected with both colleagues and clients. Post-pandemic, many companies have adopted a more flexible approach to office and remote working.Whether the result of long-term network evolution, or the rapid solutions implemented in the wake of an overnight switch to remote working, the challenges faced by organisations seeking to deliver high quality network services are numerous.- High operating cost due to multiple lines (MPLS, PSTN and DIA) and multiple providers being required to serve the organisation- Aging physical equipment (switches, routers, and devices) requiring a higher number of break-fixes- Where traditional MPLS lines are in use, performance is inconsistent and provides limited access to online resources and integration (SaaS, CCaaS, PaaS, etc.)- Complex, time-consuming, and expensive office setup due to reliance upon legacy network infrastructure- Management and troubleshooting difficulties due to the lack of centralised control or oversight - Need for manual checks in several locations to analyse the root cause of connectivity, data loss, or network latency issues.

Ignoring these warning signs can leave employees, clients and communities feeling frustrated and disconnected.

Considerations Before Making NGN A Core Part Of Your Infrastructure Sourcing Strategy

In order for companies to truly embrace next generation networking and realise the benefits, it is critical to assess the need for NGN across the whole organisation. Making the leap towards NGN should be at the core of IT transformation, helping build a solid foundation for years to come. A clear sourcing strategy along with a sound understanding of NGN benefits and how they align to wider business objectives are crucial to successful procurement and delivery.

To help you on your journey, here are some key areas we recommend considering:

- Understand your current challenges and identify the benefits of upgrading legacy networks to NGN.

- When looking to consolidate suppliers, be mindful of exactly what services are provided directly by partners and which are sub-contracted. Multiple levels of suppliers in the chain can quickly increase costs which are often difficult to pinpoint.

- Although it can be tempting to invite solely incumbent suppliers to tender, it is always worth reaching out further afield. A fresh set of eyes can often perceive opportunities and innovative ways of solving challenges that can be missed by those close to the day-to-day.

- Factor existing broadband delivery into your delivery plan. Most UK fibre is supplied by one of two suppliers; always check which underlay is in place at your offices and which providers your prospective suppliers use.

- The option of leasing hardware can be an appealing way to spread the cost of equipment - over a longer period. However, the complexity added by introducing a third-party lease company to the process can be legally prohibitive and the penalties associated with missing or broken equipment on return can ramp up the total cost of ownership.

- Organisations should look at TCO to compare the acquisition and run costs of new versus maintaining the status quo without attendant service benefits.

- Global chip shortages have led to significant delays in delivery of many hardware items; check these ahead of contract signature and ensure where possible these are minimised by planning delivery around anticipated lead times.

- When hardware is being purchased through a third party, ensure discounts are passed on.

- Simplify pricing models by focusing on two core areas: setup (including installation, hardware, and professional services) and run costs (circuits, support, and maintenance).

Getting Started With NGNs

The good news is that Coeus has helped a number of UK organisations to scope, source and ensure the adoption of NGN capabilities to replace their traditional hub-and-spoke model of network delivery and management.

Coeus works hand-in-hand with clients to understand their current challenges, identify the benefits of moving to NGN, manage the vendor selection and deployment contracting. With a thorough requirements gathering, tender and procurement process, it isn’t unusual to expect significant operating expenditure reduction either, with run cost savings of more than 50% not unusual.

Now is the time to reach out to us to make your network services more secure and resilient.

Contact our team.

Read about Coeus advice on Network Sourcing here.