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May 7, 2019

Software Licenses Don’t Get Stuck in Customs

By Fady Masoud
Principal, Solutions Marketing

The surge in demand for additional bandwidth and the need to respond to changing network demands more quickly and with less operational impact have always been important business imperatives for service providers. But the current process of adding capacity is slow, and has long presented a major challenge to overcome as it negatively impacts time to revenue – the longer it takes to increase capacity, the longer it takes to increase the speed of existing services or sign up new customers – and customer satisfaction and loyalty.

But why is adding extra capacity such a slow process?

With conventional methods, adding capacity takes weeks, if not months. It is a complex and labor-intensive process that requires involvement from many people, from the planning team to operations and beyond; numerous truck rolls; and quite often, international shipping of equipment like transponders, chassis, etc.

Consider the following best-case-scenario task execution times when adding capacity:

  • Two to four weeks is a normal timeline to perform network and capacity planning. This includes doing an initial assessment as to whether extra capacity can be added between the desired two end points; checking for network coverage, fiber availability/proximity, and equipment availability; and finally a network planner going through points A to Z, selecting a network path, and checking if there are available ports and wavelengths at the end points and at intermediate sites.
  • It typically takes one week for the placement and processing of an order in cases in which new equipment (e.g., chassis, transponders, etc.) is needed.
  • Four to eight weeks are normally consumed by order fulfillment as the order goes through different business processes.
  • Two to four weeks is a typical time frame for equipment to be shipped and clear customs.
  • Possibly months stuck in customs? If international shipping is required – for instance, from a warehouse in the U.S. to a European country – things can get ugly. Unforeseen issues can arise with import/export certificates, product homologations/declarations, certificates of country of origin (for a circuit pack or a chassis), security clearance for encryption products, and all sorts of other things. Even the smallest discrepancy in the paperwork can result in equipment being stalled in customs warehouses for months, significantly delaying the addition of extra capacity to the network and resulting in a process that started out slow and has suddenly gotten waaaaay slooooower.
  • Finally, it normally takes one to two weeks to receive the equipment, inventory and add it to the asset tracking system, and deploy the new gear to add the extra capacity.

And if this whole lengthy process, which takes up to 10 weeks in the very best case, wasn’t frustrating enough, there’s always the possibility that it will have been a complete waste of time if the equipment is damaged while en route – also know as dead on arrival in shipping jargon! – leaving the network operator go back to square one. But there’s a better way!

The key to faster capacity increases is instant online capacity activation!

Infinera’s vision of The Infinite Network centers around providing capacity everywhere that is always available and that can be accessed instantly. With these guiding principles, we solve the challenge of slow and cumbersome capacity addition with Instant Bandwidth. Our vertically integrated fourth-generation Infinite Capacity Engine (ICE4) optical engine, powered by our photonic integrated circuit and FlexCoherent® digital signal processor, enables our customers to reduce the length of the process from 10+ weeks to minutes.

Instant Bandwidth is a software-based solution that lets our customers add capacity in 100 gigabits per second increments remotely via license activation, with just a few clicks of a mouse. No more need to ship equipment internationally! Instant Bandwidth also brings many other capabilities, such as:

  • Time-based licenses: Software activation of bandwidth licenses for limited durations.
  • Transferable licenses: The ability to use software to move bandwidth licenses across the network without restrictions as traffic demands change, whether planned or unplanned, or fiber cuts occur.
  • License pools: The ability to store and reuse an approved pool of software licenses when and where needed, without the need to submit a purchase order.
Instant Bandwidth vs. conventional solutions
Figure 1: Infinera Instant Bandwidth versus conventional solutions

Online software licenses don’t get stuck in customs, and they don’t get damaged while en route!

The ability to add and activate capacity remotely, without shipped equipment or truck rolls, is a true game-changer from both the business and operational perspectives, as it accelerates time to revenue from months to minutes and enables a perfect match between the timing of capital expenditure and service revenue. It also reduces operational expenditure by streamlining operations and eliminating truck rolls.

Visit for more details about Instant Bandwidth and learn how we can change the game for your business.

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