This week, one of our sales guys forwarded an article about strategies for dealing with the much-discussed ‘mobile data crunch’ (by Patrick Lopez). It was a good piece, picking out the usual suspects for the massive growth in mobile data demand, and then setting out five mechanisms for service providers to avoid spiralling costs and plummeting customer experience.

My colleague from Sales asked me: “The five mechanisms are interesting and it’s left me thinking: if Patrick is right, which mechanisms do we fit into?”

I scanned through the article’s list which included, in short, the following approaches to dealing with capacity issues:

  1. Cap usage

  2. Increase bandwidth, everywhere, from the radio, through the backhaul, to the core

  3. Implement deep packet inspection, policies et al to enforce order

  4. Offload traffic with femtocells, caches, gateways et al

  5. Compress high-demand data, like video

After a little thinking, I responded that our products address “all of these and none of them”.

That answer warranted an explanation of why, in fact, that’s a good thing for Aria and our customers.

Let’s be realistic: ‘Planning’ whether that is OSS software or just taking a few minutes to think before you act, is never the ‘solution’. No. Planning is, instead, an essential part of finding and implementing the right solution.

Without planning you pick the wrong approach and have to start all over again when it fails (if you have that luxury). Without planning you might implement the right solution, but too little or too much of it, again risking failure or overspending.

It seems, right now, that service providers are wrestling with some big, fundamental questions. Rarely a week goes by without another news article or report about the mobile data crunch. Usually, these also include the service providers’ options to solve the problem – a recent paper from Amdocs outlined ten such options.

Fixed-line operators, too, have many choices for evolving to a high-capacity IP and optical network. We have been lucky enough to work with Verizon to help them analyze and choose between twenty-four different network architectures.

Planning may not be the solution. But planning is the only way service providers will determine which combinations of options will ultimately deliver an efficient, resilient and cost-effective network.

Aria is uniquely able to help service providers plan for the next five years of their network’s evolution, as well as handle the day-to-day operational planning required to optimize next-generation networks and services.