Zayo slashes time to turn up bandwidth with Waves on Demand

Zayo’s quest to revamp its network and services continued this week as the operator announced plans to build eight new long-haul fiber routes and debuted a new Waves on Demand product for customers looking to rapidly light up added bandwidth. Chaz Kramer, Zayo’s VP of Product Management, told Fierce the latter will cut the time required to add wavelengths from 45 days or more to just hours.

Waves on Demand will initially focus on providing 100G services across eight routes, though a 400G route between Newark, NJ and New York is available. Five additional routes are planned.

To achieve rapid enablement, Kramer said Zayo pre-provisioned 100G services across the designated routes and currently has them sitting idle on the network. Available waves can be activated through Zayo’s customer portal, he added.

Though timelines to turn up new bandwidth used to be shorter, Kramer said the current industry standard has risen to between 45 and 60 days due to supply chain constraints. But with Waves on Demand, customers should have access to the purchased wavelengths “within hours if not minutes.”

Zayo eventually plans to add more 400G routes on-demand, but Kramer said its priority right now is meeting existing demand and growing its network portfolio with new routes.

“I’d say 80% of our services right now are 100G services at the moment,” he said. “Our focus is trying to solve the customer requirement for that time lag in terms of service delivery.”

That said, Zayo has been hustling to upgrade its backbone network with 400G capabilities for years now. In 2023, it expects to complete another 32 400G routes, including 14 in the first half of the year. Approximately 22 of these will be Tier 1 routes, with the remainder Tier 2 and 3 routes. It also plans to deploy three new dark fiber routes and upgrade another five with 400G capabilities.

In terms of how it is deciding where to build new dark fiber, Kramer said Zayo is looking for areas of the map where there are gaps – not just in its own network, but in the networks of competitors. It also builds where it sees growing demand.

For instance, he pointed out Columbus, Ohio is emerging as a data center hot spot. That’s in part why two of its forthcoming routes will run to the city, with one of these connecting Columbus to current data center capital in Ashburn, Virginia.

Zayo also trotted out some security enhancements, deploying Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI) filtering and two-factor authentication for Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) route management across its network.