Network Planning Automation Using Big Data (2018)

By Ted Boone, Jignesh Patel, Rob Ames, Kyle Cooper & Chaitanya Vasamsetty, Cox Communications, Inc.

Cox Communications is currently transforming its network infrastructure to support gigabit symmetrical speed offerings. This capital-intensive project needs a strategic plan providing prioritization using long term forecast accounting risk and macro-economic factors. Further, adding business constraints, budgetary restrictions, and other operational limitations we produce an optimal actionable plan.

The key business challenges with the current process of producing prioritized plan are scaling, repeatability, and traceability. Today, there are thousands of nodes in the network, but we will scale to a few hundred thousand nodes to meet network and customer growth. This increase made it difficult to continue with the prior manual process of building a strategic network plan. Data preparation relied on a manually extracting data from multiple sources to create a factual view of network bandwidth consumption. Business rules were applied in spreadsheets using macros.

Automation of this process had opportunities on several fronts, notably, providing consistency, repeatability, and modernization with the use of data science algorithms on an enterprise Big Data platform.

Business requirements are made more transparent, and configurable, allowing planners to run multiple what-if scenarios faster to assist with the strategic decision process.

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