Having the Whole Company in a Bag: Mediacom’s Real-World Use of Automated Access Network Design and Optimization Technology (2021)

By Bill Wegener & Mike Oja, Mediacom Communications Corporation; Ian Oliver, Versant Solutions Group Inc.

This paper presents findings and insights from Mediacom Communications’ application of automated design and optimization (ADO) technology to its access network strategy and planning activities, and to its business-as-usual network design and implementation efforts. Mediacom’s decision to adopt ADO technology is discussed in the context of having to make decisions on major capital investments in an environment that requires considering multiple, evolving network technologies and architectures as well as serving a variety of markets ranging from urban to rural, while having too little time to perform the necessary analyses using traditional manual methods.

This paper further describes Mediacom’s strategic approach to managing such challenges and how it sees the use of ADO technology being transformative to its operations. The benefits of having ‘the whole company in a bag’ are discussed in detail. Such benefits include having the ability to ask and answer billion-dollar, footprint-wide questions in hours, as well as the ability to quickly react to network utilization issues and implement solutions on a node-by-node basis that are consistent with Mediacom’s network evolution plan. The distinction between the use of actual network designs, as opposed to costing models and rules-of-thumb, in generating bills-of-materials and capital cost estimates, is described in terms of concrete benefits to the capital planning and budgeting process, as well as to construction planning and execution activities.

This paper also describes a unique situation in which Mediacom entered into a competitive bidding process to serve a mid-size US city with symmetrical Gigabit service and, using ADO technology, was able to quickly and confidently evaluate multiple N+X network architectures in terms of technical feasibility and capital cost. Finally, this paper presents and discusses the technical and operational path taken by Mediacom in evaluating and deploying ADO technology.

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