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Are You Infrastructurally Enabled To Optimize the Cost per Bit?

Posted by James Donovan on 11 October 2017 Connect with James on LinkedIn Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Bandwidth or Capacity?

As technology continues to evolve and bandwidth demands increase, it remains important that infrastructure solutions facilitate a better cost per bit. Is your network able to achieve that?

Remember what information technology was like 20 to 30 years ago? A cross-country telephone conversation would often start with “please hurry, I’m calling long distance”. Documents were read over the phone when content was urgent. A “fast” PC connection was one where the ASCII text would display faster than you could read it. Electronic typewriters with memory were hot items!

How Drastically Things Have Changed!

However, through the changes one thing has been apparent – optimizing the cost per bit has been a factor in technology adoption whether you have been aware of it or not.

In my opinion, decisions made on high performance infrastructure solutions should be no different. The impact an infrastructure solution has on facilitating a better cost per bit is a simple yet effective measure of the solution’s value.

In both wired and wireless/mobile voice and data networks, disrupting technologies are having a big effect on the cost structure of transporting a bit over any distance. Three basic technologies – microelectronics, storage, and photonics – are disrupting the communications market-place.

bandwidth and network infrastructure

Richer applications need increased bandwidth and improved network infrastructure


  • Microelectronics – or chips – are continuing to follow the famous Moore’s curve and are doubling in processing capability roughly every 18 months. As dramatic is the Moore’s curve, it is the slowest of the technology curves.
  • Storage capacity – the amount of storage capacity on a given chip is doubling every 12 months driving increases in Storage Area Network, Direct Access Storage, and Network Attached Storage connectivity and demand for access to the network
  • Optical transmission capacity is doubling every 9 months – by increasing the capacity of a single wave length of light and by putting multiple wavelengths of light on a single fiber. Presently, 1 Terabit systems are already available. 1Terabit is enough capacity for all the voice calls that take place around the world at any point in time. Developers know how to build 10 Terabit systems. The underlying technology will allow at least 100 Terabits.

These technology changes along with the introduction of IP networks are driving the march to next generation networks. The industry is embracing limitless bandwidth based on the lowest operational cost of transporting a bit a kilometer. I believe only the infrastructurally enabled will survive.

Now that’s a great question to ask – “Is your network infrastructurally enabled?”

Network owners need to put in the most coverage, capacity and bandwidth they can justify, knowing it will quickly be consumed. Our imagination of how it will be consumed is only limited by our wallet. The statement “I want it” gets balanced with “can I afford it”. Once the degree of need overcomes the price/affordability hurdle, the purchase is made.

Network designers are seeking to rid network architectures of costly and increasingly unnecessary hierarchies, while optimizing their networks to eliminate delay. Like the virtually free transistors on a microprocessor, latency-free networks and virtually free bits will spur the development of new applications. When transport costs are no longer a barrier to market adoption, the demand for these applications mushroom – resulting in a second order impact of increased capacity demand.

What has this to do with network infrastructures?

Well, it is clear that increased bandwidth is emerging in the wide area and access networks, both fixed line and mobile, and at a low cost per bit. The hardware at home, at work and on the go will continue to increase its capability with a reduced cost per bit, and the electronics that link this hardware to the network are increasing in performance with a reduced cost per bit. So surely the trend for network infrastructures is no different. The right choice of infrastructure should take into account its ability to optimize the cost per bit of the network.

CommScope Infrastructure Academy course’s can help students gain the ability to optimize the cost per bit per meter in this new era of being ‘infrastructurally enabled’.

Our Passive Infrastructure Training courses cover every aspect of passive network infrastructure, to ensure you and your networks are prepared as infrastructure evolves. You can learn more about the courses and certification we offer here.