The Physical Network Location Matters and Here is Why

by Joe Scattareggia
April 02, 2019

As we race toward a future in which all infrastructure, applications and data live “in the cloud,” it’s easy to focus attention on the digital destination and give less thought to the physical path. Ultimately, the physical network that connects customers to the virtual world still matters—it matters a great deal.

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The network segment closest to the customer often remains the weakest link in the chain. It’s hard to get “close to your customer” and deliver a superior experience when network capacity and/or performance management are inhibitors rather than enablers. Whether securely processing e-commerce transactions or driving collaboration across a distributed workforce, reliable end‑to‑end connectivity is essential. Beyond reliability, network performance becomes critical to ensuring a seamless end-user experience when streaming video, music or other latency-intolerant content.

Within the core of a Wide Area Network (WAN), Software Defined Networking (SDN) can be combined with a redundant infrastructure to automatically and instantly fail-over in response to an isolated outage or impairment. However, at the edge of a network, redundancy may be unavailable or unaffordable. To minimize potential problems, you want a service provider that owns and operates its own network, ideally including the “last mile” connection to your customer. Software won’t save you when a new copper pair or fiber optic cable must be installed from the nearest traffic aggregation facility to your local operations or end-points.

If your network service provider is relying on other providers for segments of your WAN connectivity, they have no direct control over what happens to your vital connections and when. Even when all is well with respect to availability and performance, your service provider is paying network access charges for the privilege of using each network segment. Ultimately, those costs impact your recurring charges and profitability.

Eliminating as many service provider hand-offs as possible greatly improves network manageability, performance, customer experience and cost. By now, you should have some ideas about why you should seek end-to-end connections with a single network service provider whenever possible.

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Coming soon to a location near you, unless we’re already there

Windstream Wholesale certainly understands why it matters to get as close as possible to our customers and all those who utilize our network, directly or indirectly. We continually make significant investments to further expand the reach of our network. Our strategy includes:

  • Establishing a presence in major data centers where cloud providers and other customers are located
  • Extending long-haul connections to customers on the West Coast
  • Creating on-net ramps from cable landing stations and cross-border locations where international data comes into and goes out of the U.S.

We recently graduated from our status as an interstate network service provider to an international one, when we lit up fiber assets in Montreal, Canada.

On the East Coast, we are overbuilding our unique/diverse route from Wall Township, NJ (with multiple cable systems from Europe) to Ashburn, VA. Other “hotspots” for network expansions to better serve a growing list of international customers based in Africa, Europe and South America include Virginia Beach, VA, Boca Raton, FL and El Paso, TX.

A West Coast expansion project has already created new connections for major metropolitan areas including Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix.

In the Pacific Northwest, we are connecting our metro Portland and Seattle fiber assets to our core network; including the cable landing station in Hillsboro with connections to ASIA-PAC cable systems.

Obviously, our network expansion plans are driven by market demand. When we have specific demands for specific markets from prospective customers we can potentially accelerate or modify our existing plans. If you would like to get as close to your customers as possible by connecting through us, please be sure to reach out to the Windstream Wholesale team.