In an ambitious bid to bolster its UK network, Vodafone is set to upgrade its nationwide backbone network. This restructuring will heighten capacity and accommodate an expanding customer base, testing the conventional boundaries of telecom network design.
Historically, Vodafone has operated three distinct networks to cater to mobile, home broadband, and enterprise customers. However, the new Redstream Evolution network proposes a unique approach, bringing all these services under one roof. The vision is to have a singular Software Defined Networking (SDN)-enabled, core Internet Protocol (IP) transport network available to UK customers.
The SDN-enabled Redstream Evolution consists of 200 core sites spread across the country, connected through over 11,000km of optical fibre. This innovative integration of services on the same network opens the door to considerable economies of scale. This, in turn, leads to customer experience enhancements and substantial cost savings.
Currently, this backbone network upgrade is in its “final phase.” The transformation sees mobile and broadband customers gradually switching off the old network. As for enterprise customers, the shift will occur “in the near future,” the operator discloses.
The merger of the three networks ensures avoidance of congestion, future-proofing the network to handle a surge in demand. Intriguingly, Vodafone reports an annual increase of 50% in data consumption across the country.
Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer of Vodafone UK, commented, “The massive growth in data-hungry consumer apps and business services, alongside ever-increasing internet usage, simply cannot be supported by traditional approaches to network management and capacity expansion.”
Speaking on the new initiative, Dona added, “Redstream Evolution is a significant investment to modernise this critical link in our Vodafone network, creating a new express superhighway. This development will deliver an amazing network experience for customers today, while also staying well ahead of future data traffic demands.”
This network transformation comes at a critical juncture when UK customers’ mobile data usage has skyrocketed by 300% since 2019. At the same time, businesses are consuming more digital and cloud-based services than ever, necessitating a robust and reliable network.
This initiative is a concrete step towards ensuring that Vodafone remains a major player in the UK’s evolving telecoms landscape. Meanwhile, there are more updates on the horizon with Vodafone UK launching a second social tariff and intensifying discussions around the adoption of 5G technology.