Vodafone has entered the final stages of its multi-year Redstream Evolution project, a significant upgrade investment to converge all mobile, home broadband and business customers onto a single, future-proofed network.
The new, upgraded network will provide a vastly improved digital experience for all Vodafone customers. It introduces greater capacity to meet the needs of a growing customer base and the exponential growth in data consumption.
Redstream Evolution is the backbone network that transports all of Vodafone’s telephony, video, and data traffic around the UK over a superfast nationwide highway of the latest fibre optic technologies. Having previously managed three separate networks, the Redstream network will deliver a single, future-proofed, Software Defined Networking-enabled (SDN), core Internet Protocol (IP) transport network for UK consumer and business customers.
A basic guide to Vodafone UK’s network
Vodafone UK’s high-speed network is state-of-the-art, the result of billions in investment over the last five years. But how do all the parts fit together?
Vodafone has now started connecting home broadband, mobile and business customers to the converged network. By converging all three services onto the same infrastructure, Vodafone can benefit from economies of scale to vastly improve customer experience and further reduce the environmental impact of network operations.
A highly scalable, high-capacity core network is critical for Vodafone to deliver on customer experience as ever-growing usage continues to dramatically increase:
Vodafone’s home broadband customer base has increased from 687,000 in February 2020 to 1.2 million connections in February 2023;
customer mobile data consumption in the UK has increased roughly 300% between 2019 and 2023; and
business customers are increasingly adopting digital and cloud-based enterprise applications, further increasing the amount of data which traverses the Vodafone network.
The rearchitecting of Vodafone’s UK transport network has been vital to ensure an optimal customer experience today, and to allow for increased data consumption in the future.
This investment means Vodafone can ensure the highest levels of customer experience as more customers join the Vodafone network and new data-hungry services are launched by businesses and developers. And due to how it has been built, adding additional capacity is now a much more simplified and automated process, allowing Vodafone to quickly react to how customers are using digital services in the future.
Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer, Vodafone UK, said, “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. Data is subject to the same rules as road congestion – if the transport network gets congested, we can’t get where we want to be as quickly as we want to.”
“Redstream Evolution is a significant investment to modernise this critical link in our Vodafone network, creating a new express superhighway bringing more than enough capacity to deliver an amazing network experience for customers today, while also staying well ahead of future data traffic demands. This will be crucial as our home broadband customer base continues to grow, more of our business customers go through digital transformation programmes, and 5G and IoT usage rapidly increases the amount of data we use each day.
“Operationally, the edge-based SDN design will allow us to partially decouple the data explosion and usage growth we’re seeing from the associated capital and running costs, through better, automated network and capacity management.”
As a result of Redstream being edge-based and using Software Defined Network (SDN), Vodafone will be able to work with business customers and technology partners in new and interesting ways.
An edge-based and SDN-enabled network is the foundation for embedding more intelligence in the network. This is important for several reasons, including improving streaming services.
With more adaptable and flexible infrastructure, content partners can host content in more strategic locations closer to the consumer, reducing the risk of buffering and lag when streaming content. It will also enable a differentiated approach to net neutrality. A greater emphasis and understanding from policy makers to ensure networks remain sustainable economically will hopefully allow us to continue to satisfy ever increasing consumer demand for data in the years ahead.