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Insights / Blog / Events & Conferences

Network expansion, sustainability & user focus: Impulses from ANGA COM 2022

May 24, 2022
Stefan RotschStefan RotschSenior Solution Architect

On 11.05.2022 we visited the ANGA COM in Cologne, for me the first presence event in over two years. It was a great feeling to be among "real" people again. The conference allowed us to take on completely new perspectives: For example, we looked beyond software development for a change and considered current developments and challenges in the area of broadband networks from the perspective of CSPs. The findings and insights that came with this change of perspective will certainly give us valuable inspiration for current and future projects at AOE.

[Photo ©ANGA Services GmbH]

Bureaucracy & construction slow down fiber optic rollout in Germany

The "Fiber Optic Summit – Full Speed for Network Expansion: Green Lights?" explored the status of fiber optic expansion in Germany. The participants, representatives of national and local ISPs, agreed that sufficient financial resources are available. On the other hand, the different regional regulatory requirements and lengthy approval processes were cited as problematic. The low level of digitization in public administration also slows down providers, as building and funding applications often still have to be submitted in paper form. To stay in the picture: The traffic lights here are "yellow" at best.

Another identified risk to network expansion was the shortage of skilled workers, especially in the areas of planning and civil engineering. In the words of Bernd Thielk, Managing Director of GmbH Hamburg: "Money doesn't drill holes" – capacity bottlenecks in the industry lead to a noticeable slowdown in construction measures.

The companies present also emphasized the importance of Open Access as a cooperation model, an equal partnership at eye level. It offers the opportunity to achieve the goal of complete fiber optic coverage in Germany by 2030.

For AOE, this panel discussion was extremely interesting against the background of our customer projects. From the development of pre-marketing portals for fiber optic expansion, among others for Deutsche Telekom, we are also very familiar with the slowing factors.

Access technologies have low relevance for users

One focus of the "International CTO Summit – What's new with Fiber, DOCSIS and 5G?" was the question of whether the access technology used in each case is still relevant for customers at all or whether they are rather only interested in their preferred services. "The customer has no wire," said Mallik Rao, CTO and member of the Management Board of Telefónica Deutschland Holding AG in this context; what is primarily relevant for users is a stable, wireless connection of their end devices to the Internet, both at home in the WLAN and on the move in the mobile networks. Which technical transmission path is used is of secondary importance.

Another relevant topic for CSPs is the security of their transmission networks and own infrastructure. Legacy components and software are often still in use, representing a potential target for hacker attacks. The panel of CTOs therefore saw the replacement of outdated hardware and software as one of the biggest challenges in the coming years.

Sustainability is key – this also applies to CSPs

The responsibility of network and service providers to provide their services in a way that conserves resources and protects the climate already came up repeatedly in the previous discussions. In the discussion round "Networks and Sustainability" it was once again explicitly addressed. Among others, Dr. Stefan Lietsch, CTO of Zattoo, reported on experiences from their innovative attempt to bring servers with their immanently high energy requirements into close proximity to power generation and to set up a data center inside a wind turbine.

The participants in the discussion also agreed that new transmission technologies are generally more energy-efficient than their predecessors. However, this advantage will only be fully realized when the previous generation of a network is actually switched off in the course of modernization, as was the case, for example, with the 3G networks of the mobile network operators in the course of the introduction of 5G.

In the course of the event, we also had a conversation with Dr. Hermann Rodler, member of the management board of M-Net, Germany's first climate-neutral communications service provider. In addition to obvious measures such as a general reduction in energy consumption or the consistent use of regenerative energy, the company is also concerned with aspects of sustainability in the development and operation of software.

From this we were able to gain valuable impulses and learning questions, for example:

  • The efficiency of APIs or database queries can be improved by transferring only the necessary data and reducing overhead.
  • Code can be optimized to reduce memory and CPU requirements, manually and/or during compilation.
  • When and how long do CI pipelines run, and can they be terminated early in the event of an error, for example, through consistent use of "fail fast"?
  • Are computing and storage capacities in the cloud used in the best possible way and are resources that are not required released as quickly as possible?

By discussing these and other issues, we want to create an awareness of resource-saving software development within our development teams. Since it is very important to AOE to achieve a positive carbon footprint, we want to further reduce the ecological footprint of our work in the future by implementing suitable measures.