In this case study

The emergence of 5G will transform the way people and businesses consume and utilize network connectivity. But from a network architecture vantage, the single biggest change will be the number of radio cells deployed

Unlike 4G, which used the massive cell towers scattered throughout a region, 5G will utilize smaller radios that are connected to a light pole, placed on the side of a building or scattered throughout a stadium. And to support the exponential bandwidth demand expected to be brought on by the likes of the Internet of Things, more 5G small cells will be needed. 

Light beams
Monetize 5G Infrastructure: Service Providers Need to Invest in These Technologies.

Instead of one 4G radio tower providing coverage throughout a 25-mile radius, 5G will require 25 radios to provide the high speeds and low latency needed to support next-generation 5G applications. This proliferation of radios is fundamentally changing the way service providers' networks are architected.

Optical networking, which covers a broad range of technologies and solutions, stands as a critical piece to the 5G puzzle — providing efficiency, flexibility and scalability — particularly as it relates to supporting bandwidth demand. 

Telco in need

A Tier 1 network service provider preparing for the imminent rollout of 5G needed to upgrade its legacy network architecture across more than 2,000 nodes and engaged World Wide Technology to leverage its expertise and experience with optical technologies. 

The telco was operating with dozens of legacy platforms and hundreds of thousands of network elements and needed to consolidate its network to provide simplicity and enhance scalability.

The service provider wanted to deploy approximately 5,000 optical racks to 2,250 sites and needed WWT to centrally configure, stage and ship the racks. Further, because of the complex nature of the optical solutions, the service provider needed their on-site engineers educated and trained in how the technology was to be set up and implemented into their existing network architecture.

WWT staged the entire solution in its North American Integration Center — from rack and stack and cabling to configuration, validation and crating — to minimize the labor needed onsite to assemble the product.

North American Integration Center
Learn More: Simplified IT deployments that accelerate time to market, predict workflow and reduce costs.

At the same time, WWT leveraged its optical expertise to develop a tailored optical curriculum — consisting of trainings and modules encompassing the entire portfolio of optical technologies — to upskill and mentor the service provider's engineering team to ensure they were fully capable of installing the solution in the service provider's network without setback.

By centralizing supply chain and integration functions, and training on-site personnel, WWT effectively cut in half the service provider's initial seven-year rollout plan, taking deployment time per node from 14 weeks to just two weeks. This accelerated the service provider's ability to deliver and monetize 5G services, making the deployment process more predictable and reducing capital in progress.

In the process, the customer leveraged the full range of WWT's resources to accelerate the deployment with just-in-time delivery that met the telco's "need by" date:

  • Pre-sales engineering and BOM validation
  • Rack elevations and cable diagrams
  • First article build/validation
  • Complete documentation package
  • Project management
  • Hardware and software procurement
  • Order and demand management for multiple OEMs
  • Rack and stack
  • Configuration
  • Cabling
  • Software loading and testing
  • Custom crating


Optical U

Wrench and screwdriver
Get Hands On: Custom Optical Training in the Advanced Technology Center.

Since creating the optical curriculum, the service provider has sent more than 1,500 employees — spread over a variety of groups such as central office and NOC technicians, network planners and Tier 2 network operations — through the program as it seeks to upskill its workforce on the new platforms going into its network. 

This has proved critical as the complicated nature of optical technology has led to a shortage of expertise across the industry, placing skilled optical technologists and engineers in high demand. 

Today, more than 25 modules are available for organizations looking to enhance their optical posture. The class material is customizable based on needs and the equipment used within a network, and students of the curriculum can select from a set of standard training modules and a specific duration, or custom training classes hosted on-site can be developed in collaboration with a customer.

Optical is evolving

Optical is the foundation for all wide area networks (WAN) — if data is leaving a building, it's more likely going to go over an optical network regardless of whether it's a service provider, data center or government facility. 

Optical was originally designed to support service providers' need to overcome physical limitations of moving large amounts of data over increasingly greater distances. Today, optical transport technology is rapidly expanding to accommodate long haul and back haul requirements that are growing at incredible rates, and allows for greater bandwidth, with more flexibility, security and reliability.

WWT offers a comprehensive approach to optical networking that affords customers carrier-grade implementations of innovative, industry-leading solutions that reduce costs and accelerate revenue growth. 

Our Optical Networking practice includes experts with deep industry knowledge and experience in designing and deploying optical networks. Using our Advanced Technology Center, we're able to showcase various optical platforms on their own or in conjunction with other network components. We can even set up custom test scenarios based on customer requirements to ensure the solution will deliver specific business outcomes. And through global integration centers, we can stage fully-integrated solutions prior to deployment, which allows us to accelerate deployment, increase predictability and cut costs by: 

  • Consolidating hardware.
  • Reducing the number of packages shipped to site.
  • Identifying dead-on-arrival (DOA) equipment before deployed to the field.
  • Pre-configuring solutions, so less time is spent in the field during deployment.

Learn more about WWT's Optical Networking practice and explore our optical labs to gain hands-on experience to make sure your network architecture can meet the needs of the ever-growing amounts of data being produced.