WAN Circuit Delivery (and tips to avoid surprises)
Are you curious about the delivery process for a WAN or internet fibre circuit? Would you like to know what to expect?
With the help of our expert SAS provisioning team, we've put together a simple overview of what the delivery process for a WAN or internet fibre circuit should look like. It addresses a question that we're often asked by customers, so we felt it was worth taking the time to offer a bit of useful insight.
Before we dive into what the process should look like, here's a bit of background...
Many circuit orders involve over 50 work stages (there's often a lot that goes on behind the scenes in the carrier back office). Circuit and site data might be manually re-entered 4-5 times across 2-3 different organisations (the carrier and their supply chain), and in some cases, in multiple countries!
As you can see, there are many opportunities for a circuit order to go awry with data not being passed on, or simply being re-keyed incorrectly.
There is a common misconception that if you order a circuit it will definitely be delivered on time. Not so! It's essential that you check on its progress - especially if you need that circuit quickly. In the case of circuit delivery, no news is almost always bad news…
The biggest - and most common delay - is in the Sales cycle. People often think that the clock starts ticking from the moment you sign the carrier, systems integrator or managed service provider order form. This is not true. The clock starts ticking only when the circuit has been accepted by the carrier's back office ordering systems.
Depending on the diligence of your carrier's account manager, this can take between 1 day to - in some cases - 6-8 weeks! If the latter is true, then it has already eaten deep into you project plan and your circuit will be delivered late regardless of how much pressure is provided to escalate it within the carrier.
To help you visualise what the 'ideal' delivery process should look like, here is a high level overview using a BT MPLS product called BT IP Connect as an example.
- Customer signs the carrier order form (ie. BT AX), which is sent to the SAS Provisioning Team.
- SAS completes BT's Customer Requirement Form (CRF) and submits it to the BT IP Connect issuing team. The BT CRF collects the technical detail required to order and delivery the circuit.
- BT acknowledges the order and provides a circuit ID. This ID allows SAS to track the circuit through the delivery process.
- BT puts the circuit order details on to the UK Openreach system. (International circuits have a different process!)
- A BT Openreach planner is assigned and conducts a site survey. This survey checks for the circuit route between the exchange and the customer's site.
- If the survey results are positive, BT will issue a Contractual Delivery Date (CDD). (If the results are not positive, the survey will require Excess Construction Charges (ECC). This will be covered in more detail in the next Delivery Process blog.
- Openreach will carry out the Test, Rod and Tube work. This connects the exchange to the customer's building.
- Openreach will install internal fibre tubing to the customer's comms room.
- Openreach "blow" the fibre down the tubing to the customer's premises.
- Openreach fits the Network Terminating Equipment (NTE) and tests the circuit, end-to-end.
- The circuit is handed back to BT. BT completes the 21CN network build - a link is created within the exchange to the BT Core Network.
- Hey presto, the circuit is delivered!
It's worth bearing in mind that this overview represents the 'ideal scenario'. There are many variables that can effect the delivery process, all of which will be addressed in subsequent blogs.
In the meantime, there are some key points to consider when ordering circuits. Here's a checklist:
- Sign the carrier order form as quickly as possible! Any delay will impact the circuit delivery date and cannot be made up later on in the process.
- Ensure that all the data is provided to your carrier promptly and that it is is 100% correct. Any incorrect data concerning site address, on site contacts, location for the circuit to be installed etc. can lead to project delivery delays, your circuit being incorrectly ordered or your order being rejected.
- Make sure that your account manager has given you confirmation that your order has been placed and accepted by the back office systems.
- Get confirmation from your account manager that your order is progressing through each phase of the order process successfully. Have a weekly call with your account manager to identify any hold ups, and keep tracking the circuit delivery date to make sure it has not moved.
Staying on top of this process can represent a considerable overhead for a company to manage, so it may be an idea to use a managed network provider if you have a repeated volume of circuit orders. It will take a lot of the hassle and frustration away and ensure that you circuits arrive on time, each time.