The KonMari method is an approach to organisation based on a simple principle — keep everything that serves a purpose and sparks joy, toss the rest. Its aim is to declutter and simplify our lives by eliminating everything that’s redundant. Could telco operators apply a similar approach to their inventory stocks? Here Marcin Bala, CTO of telecommunications networks specialist Salumanus Ltd, explains how to eliminate hardware redundancies and increase the flexibility of network operations.
It’s fair to say that messy warehouses don’t spark joy. When the amount of components in stock starts to build up, teams can spend too much time tracking down inventory and can ultimately make mistakes and select the wrong ones for a given installation. So, how can telco operators keep up with demand while decluttering their stock and reducing costs?
Working with universal optical transceivers can be the first step to leaner operations and to a more organised warehouse. Vendor-agnostic transceivers can help users make the most of their inventory space by eliminating redundancies and reducing the amount of stock keeping units (SKUs) stored for future installations.
The process is simple — with a recoding device such as the GBC Photonics Simple Recode Device, users can adjust optical transceivers right before the installation, making them compatible with equipment from any vendor. This has several benefits in terms of stock reduction, cost savings, ease of installation, and increased flexibility.
Telco operators tend to stock equipment from a variety of providers, usually two for OTN/DWDM networks, two for routers and switches and sometimes a different one — or several ones — for firewall purposes. This means that a customer will have a network with hardware from at least five different vendors. As most vendors require the use of proprietary transceivers, operators will have to keep equipment from all of them in stock.
For example, a customer might need five units of each interface type — SFP, SFP+, QSFP+ and QSFP28. This makes up a total of 20 SKU. Each SKU needs to be compatible with the hardware solution of each vendor. In the case of the five vendors mentioned above, we will have a total of a hundred different parts.
For each part, operators will have to forecast the right quantity, negotiate the price, process the order, and finally keep it in stock. The GBC Photonics Simple Recode Device could reduce this number to just 20, as each transceiver could be recoded as needed by the field engineer prior to its installation.
The share of equipment from a specific vendor in a network can change over time, as customers might decide to replace existing hardware with solutions from a different provider.
The Simple Recode Device allows operators to change the compatibility of optical transceivers not only prior to the installation, but any time that the need for it arises. This applies to newly installed modules, spare parts, or when migrating equipment from one vendor to the other. For example, if a customer decides to swap all the switches in his network from Nokia to Cisco, it won’t be necessary to buy new transceivers to match.
Another issue to consider is that Ethernet networks require single rate transceivers, while OTN networks require dual rate ones. For telco operators managing both OTN and Ethernet/IP networks, this could lead to having even more transceivers on stock to cover both technologies. This could easily be solved by reconfiguring dual rate transceivers so they could be used in both DWDM/OTN and IP/Ethernet devices.
The flexibility afforded by universal transceivers can lead to significant savings, as well as prevent compatibility errors that might happen when purchasing new transceivers. Moreover, universal transceivers help reduce the lead times of a project, as operators will have a large stock of products that are readily available and just need to be adjusted to satisfy the customer’s needs.
So, are you ready to KonMari your inventory? If so, Salumanus can help. Salumanus has longstanding expertise in providing compatibility for third party pluggable optical transceivers. Its GBC Photonics devices, manufactured in house, are guaranteed to be tested and validated to the highest quality standards, leading to long-term partnerships with global telco operators.
For expert advice on how to optimize networks performance, minimise stock and reduce costs, visit www.salumanus.co.uk.