Citynet in Nässjö
The article is based on an interview with Jonas Forsum, project coordinator Citynätet and Robert Ljungström, Senior Account Manager FTTH, Netnordic Sverige AB
City network builder in 2021:
Despite a tight schedule, Citynätet i Nässjö AB managed to create a network that exceeds all their expectations. They are very happy with how everything works and are happy to discover what a financially good deal it was to switch to Waystream's equipment.
Citynätet in Nässjö AB owns, develops, and operates the city network in Nässjö municipality. It is Citynätet that ensures that the fiber connection is completed so that households, property owners and organizations can order their own services and freely choose between different service providers in the broadband network. For city networks, it is important to be able to offer its residents and traders a modern and flexible infrastructure with high transmission speeds. This is to maintain competitiveness and drive innovation in the region, so it is an attractive place to live and run a business from.
Previously, Nässjö's fiber network was operated by an external communication operator (KO) *. Citynätet realized that changes were needed. The choice was to either negotiate the agreement with an outside KO or to start exploring other alternatives. In the end, in May 2021, Citynätet itself took over the operation of the equipment that connects all customers in Nässjö's fiber network. Through this manoeuvre, they have better control over what happens in their fiber network and can more quickly remedy customers' network problems.
Preparing for securing the future of the network and taking over the operation is a long-term work that began approximately two years before the actual order for Waystream's access switches was made. The basic question was how Citynätet could most easily build a network that required as little maintenance as possible and with minimal need to change configuration in the switches.
A city network that is facing a major investment and who does not have any experience of what’s waiting, takes a deep look at the costs for buying one or the other equipment. So, the question was how high the operating costs would be? Prior to the procurement, Citynätet looked at Waystream, other players and a larger company, but decided that they wanted a Swedish-based company. They carefully evaluated what types of networks would be built and what the actual costs would be in the long run.
Citynet's technical advisor, Magnus Karlberg, had a good sense of whether it is true that operational costs will be lower with a routed solution with Waystream's ASR switches. Together with Citynet's project coordinator Jonas Forsum and Netnordic Sverige AB's Robert Ljungström, they came to an important conclusion: if you are willing to pay a slightly higher cost of capital, the operational costs will be lower because an ASR solution is a simpler solution, which is both redundant and more robust in that it is based on layer 3.
Citynätet received accurate calculations on the costs and made some minor adjustments. The outcome of the estimated costs for operation and maintenance is almost spot-on, with only a few hundrad dollars difference. Normally there is a difference of 10 - 15 percent but not at all in this case, where the margin of error is only 2-3 percent, which is incredibly good. The larger competitor may have cheaper units, but when Citynätet started comparing and seeing what they got for their money, Waystream appeared to be the better alternative. Today, Citynätet is clearly satisfied that they chose Waystream's ASR8000, which is the leading access switch for city networks. There are 28 or 52 connections in each switch depending on the model that supports up to 10Gbit / s and which also includes telemetry and advanced service diagnostics.
The new equipment is prepared for Internet speeds up to 10 Gbit (10,000 Mbit) per connection, which gives households and companies in the region much faster broadband. With the change to switch to active equipment, it became possible to quadruple the total capacity of the fiber network towards the internet. Now that Citynätet themselves have taken over the role of communication operator, they have better control over everything that happens in the local fiber network. This has led to faster troubleshooting and a more reliable environment for Citynät's continued development. Nässjö has a modern designed network with increased redundancy.
Future security is one of the key features of the ASR8000. As more and more functions end up in the cloud, higher transfer speeds are required for both individuals and companies. There is a rapid development towards more complex services that require high speed, high availability, and fast response times. ASR8000 is designed to meet just that need.
The interest outside the municipality has already raised significant. Citynätet has had meetings with nearby municipalities and also received interest from a little further away where players have looked at the project during the journey. Other city networks have become very interested in seeing how the project has gone, how the outcome has been and whether they could enter a collaboration.
Citynätet will try to include ASR-based networks in its collaborations to simplify and get a cleaner network with layer 3. The driving factor was and is the economic benefits in the future. It was very clear that when Citynätet became its own KO, it provided significantly better financial opportunities going forward.
The fiber paths will be adjusted to further improve redundancy and accessibility.
With the results in hand, the collaboration with Waystream has gone very smooth. The few major problems that have arisen during the journey have been solved in a smooth way, even unpredictable ones. Citynätet thinks that Waystream's switches themselves work incredibly well, but that they are also well integrated with the provisioning solution BECS from PacketFront Software is another advantage.
* A communication operator is the party that takes care of the equipment that enables the Internet to be delivered in the fiber and has contact with the service providers that deliver the Internet and television.