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46 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | MARCH/APRIL 2016 TECHNOLOGY Constraints in Broadband Networks Broadband networks in dense housing should be designed and operated to avoid imposing constraints on users. By David Daugherty and Marty Wold / Korcett Holdings Inc. I n the July 2015 issue of this magazine, the authors explored the network performance limitations, or constraints, eventually imposed by legacy infrastructure – that is, static infrastructure not designed to anticipate future use cases. Most networks do not exhibit constraint- related limitations when frst installed. Over time, as technology, bandwidth-consuming applications and subscriber expectations mature, constraints are eventually discovered. Tis is perhaps the most elegant explanation for the growing popularity of and demand for managed Internet services. Managed services typically include a proactive element of post-deployment support designed to maintain network health throughout its life cycle. For any recent MBA, this will sound very similar to a management philosophy that Eliyahu M. Goldratt introduced in his 1984 book, "Te Goal," which was essentially a manufacturing textbook in novel form. Te book's success grew well beyond the factory foor to the C-suite and universities alike, as the principles contained therein transcended manufacturing and changed the way the world did business. Goldratt's theory of constraints (TOC) elaborates on the common saying, "A chain is no stronger than its weakest link." As applied to the design of broadband infrastructure, TOC-based design anticipates the weakest network or support components throughout the service term. PRACTICAL APPLICATION As it turns out, TOC-based design is a useful framework for the discussion of next-generation managed services. A network, like any complex system, is made up of a collection of components, each with the potential to become a system constraint. Tese constraints establish the limits of performance for the system. At the heart of TOC-based design is identifying these constraints and working to alleviate the subsequent bottlenecks in the system. Goldratt's theory became associated with another catchy acronym, POOGI, or the process of ongoing improvement. A successful managed service provider (MSP) employs this approach in the care and feeding of a broadband network by always striving to mitigate constraints and improve performance. Performance-limiting constraints typically found in legacy infrastructure include the following: • Financial • Business/legal • Political • Technology • Social networking • Customer expectations and customer support Financial: Network performance limitations are often due to fnancial constraints imposed on network design. Multifamily builders, for example, often attempt to value engineer their infrastructure construction budgets to meet project capital and operating expense objectives. Tis means that project managers recommend budget cuts to communications infrastructure with the aim of increasing the ratio of function to cost. However, if they cut costs without fully understanding the growing importance of reliable Internet access, they can create