VPIsystems delivers a plan for the future
VPIsystems may have a plan for building the next-generation network, but the OnePlan network planning software it delivered to market today is designed to help service providers plan their own while incorporating technology planning, marketing demands, equipment resources and financial requirements associated with new network buildouts. The company also announced a multimillion-dollar contract with Telstra for its software and services.
VPIsystems has combined its various planning tools and added several more onto a single, server-based and modular solution. This configuration provides planners with the ability to design single network technology plans or plans for systems spanning multiple network layers.
“What we are adding to the market that is unique is end-to-end planning on an integrated platform. With out individual modules, we become the path of least resistance when a transformation takes place,” said Hank Firey, CEO of VPIsystems.
Most carriers have gotten by through overbuilding. But now that they are getting ready to do these huge bandwidth services like IPTV, the engineers are left with a problem,” said Mark Mortensen, senior vice president of marketing at VPIsystems. “If they overbuild now, the CFO is on their back. But on the other hand, the marketing guys are saying, ‘You’d better support this service.’ So we are trying to help them thread the path between these two.”
The OnePlan suite of planning solutions can be used to see current resource availability as well as what resources need to be added for various configurations and growth projections. It can communicate with existing inventory systems’ equipment libraries to determine availability and resources. And it automates both engineering and decommissioning of network resources from a central server that planning and implementation teams can use to collaborate.
“No longer do the IT people assume that when they are doing their work that there is infinite capacity underneath. And no longer do the transport people ignore what the IT people are telling them,” Mortensen said. “Once you know how to make the best use of your network from an algorithmic standpoint, you can take control of the network and tune it in real time.”
And the software is no longer aimed at network engineers. Users of OnePlan include business strategists estimating investment allocation and return on investment, strategic network planners meshing business policies and network design, carrier network planners who deal with the “what-if” scenarios of both marketing and disaster recovery, and marketing planners trying to determine new service pricing and the availability for roll-out. Equipment vendors also may use OnePlan for responding to requests for proposal and system integrators would use it for their own design planning.
“The job of network planning is to ensure when a customer is provisioned that the right network resources are available to give that customer the right quality of experience. If you find yourself not ready to serve the customer, your network planning is not doing its job,” Mortensen said.
Larry Goldman, analyst at OSS Observer, said in a statement that some forward-looking service providers have already started implementing integrated network planning, but that virtually all of them will have to revamp their network planning to make their networks capable of supporting convergent IP-based services.
The strength of this suite is to help carriers transitioning from traditional networks to IP-based networks. One of the ways it does so is by integrating the planning requirements of engineering, marketing and network operations departments.
Telstra chose it to help with its multi-billion dollar transformation initiative. The carrier began implementing the OnePlan solution in the third quarter and will use it to plan its next-generation IP-based network, including new digital access technologies, the metropolitan Ethernet aggregation network, and the IP core network.
The OnePlan software suite gives Telstra a common working environment that connects marketing and engineering planning teams to the outside systems integrators that are involved in viewing, designing and planning the new network.
Mortensen said that through its work with Telstra, “We now have a package we can use to teach other carriers how to plan next generation networks.”
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