If You Are in the Business of Mission-Critical Communications, How Do You Define Serviceability?

By James Rugg 5 min read

Service providers and operators face a never-ending network expansion process. This is a result of launching new services, evolving mobile network towards gigabit-LTE and 5G, and an increasing customer base and service area. These factors, together with the exponential growth in capacity requirements per customer and per service, also result in an increasing rate of this expansion trend.

How does your Microwave Backhaul stand up to the 2 am TEST? 

When speaking with Public Safety (PS) Communications Officials, we often hear that capacity is NOT usually their issue. They want “Mission-Critical” 99.9999 (or 6 nines) of RELIABILITY. Bandwidth is NOT the #1 thing that keeps them up at night. So, we decided to dig deeper and understand what their #1 issue is in relation to their wireless transport system and what does keep them up at night.

Before revealing what we learned from the “Voice of the Customer”, it’s important to include some background information about how and why PS communications professionals use their wireless transport network.

Over 95% of the PS systems operating in North America use path redundancy to support their wireless transport backbone network.

What does this mean? It means that physically, the sites have two or more separate and distinct paths used to get communications in or out of the location. These paths are often referred to as primary and backup paths. Sometimes, a savvier Communications Director will use the term secondary path instead of backup path as backup typically implies that it is NOT in use until the primary path fails.

In the case of a secondary path, a smart Network Manager can take advantage of the extra bandwidth to enable additional services in the network and in this manner, justify the capital expense that may otherwise remain idle unless the primary path fails. Multiple combinations of wireless transport and fiber interconnect are deployed throughout PS organizations globally.

What happens when one of these systems fails, is disabled or is taken offline?

In most cases, an alert or notification is sent to the technician responsible for maintaining the site where the failure occurred. Issues arise when the troubleshooting, repair and ultimate return of the system to 100% operations is too complex for or beyond the scope of the technician’s capabilities. And that’s where serviceability comes into play!

How easy is it for you to get your wireless transport back up and operational?

The question of serviceability is a big one. When deploying wireless transport in a mixed mode deployment scenario, some customers have business requirements for all-indoor, split mount, or all-outdoor configurations. When considering your operational costs, ask yourself this question: “Do you want to work with a solutions provider that has three different user interfaces for each deployment scenario?” 

The Ceragon IP-20 Assured HW Platform offers PS Communications entities a “best-of-breed” solution that is easy-to-use and includes a common User Interface (UI) for all three deployment scenarios.

How does this affect serviceability?

Consider this scenario. The next time there is an operational failure in your mission critical system and you only have three technicians in your operational budget to send out for repair, would you want to have three technicians that only understand a single deployment scenario; or would you prefer to have all three technicians with training on a common platform that supports ALL deployment scenarios?

We think the answer is obvious. By training all of your technicians on a common platform that supports ALL deployment scenarios, you benefit from far greater flexibility in your ability to get your systems back up and operational as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Because when it comes to mission-critical services, the 6th ninth is the hardest to achieve. To achieve it, you cannot stop at redundant network architecture – you need to select the vendor that you trust, and that will allow you to make the most out of your professional team.

Do you see the value in serviceability now? At Ceragon, we’re asking you, Public Safety Communications Professionals, to challenge us to take you further!



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