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The Capacity Crunch: What Causes It?

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December 23, 2010

The Capacity Crunch: What Causes It?

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

According to a recent study from Amdocs (News - Alert) titled “Key Strategies For Solving The Capacity Crunch,” the capacity crunch is a business problem due to the fact that “revenues are not rising in line with demand. This creates a revenue gap which is making it harder to create a business case for further network investment.”

The capacity crunch, company officials say, “is not just about managing overall data growth, but is concerned with meeting the demands of both customers and services while maintaining an appropriate quality of service.” This QoS is impacted substantially by bottlenecks in the network, the Amdocs study finds, adding that “peaks in demand for capacity, and the proliferation of certain types of capacity-hungry or QoS-sensitive services. Capacity demand is also becoming harder to predict and therefore to manage.”

Demand or capacity is not evenly spread, resulting in time-of-day and localized congestion. There may be excess capacity at certain times of the day, the study found – “for instance, during the night” – but not sufficient capacity at other times: “There also might be plenty of capacity in certain localities and not enough in others. Likewise, some services require more bandwidth, or are more QoS- sensitive, than others.”

And of course some users also require or desire a higher level of QoS (business users or gamers). Thus, the study concluded, “the capacity crunch is about having sufficient capacity where it is needed, and not simply about overall capacity in the network.”

Due to competitive and commercial pressures, “traditional strategies to manage QoS, such as over-provisioning of capacity or provisioning in advance of demand, are less useful or harder to sustain,” the study found. This is because CSPs need to show greater return on investment from network equipment they deploy and they cannot afford to waste capacity -- “for example, while waiting for demand to rise.”

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Erin Monda

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