Leif Hansen, Vice President of Engineering and Network Operations
LS Networks—a regional facilities-based service provider—was founded more than 15 years ago with a mission to bring advanced broadband and communication services into the rural Northwest. Networking services available in these rural regions were just not keeping pace with those provided in the Metro areas. “Our journey began back in the early 2000s when our owners, who were Oregon electric cooperatives, saw the unmet need for connectivity in the rural areas of Washington, Oregon, and Northern California,” says Leif Hansen, Vice President of Engineering and Network Operations at LS Networks. To this end, LS Networks launched its fiber network in partnership with Bonneville Power Administration and their community purpose fiber program in combination with other regional municipal and private sector partners. Since then, the company has been providing resilient high-capacity transport and Internet communication services to urban and rural communities alike.
“Optical technology has always been the foundation for our services, underpinning almost everything we do. Although we might not be always leading with 'optical' as the product, it is the engine underneath that powers us,” says Hansen. The company caters to wholesale providers, including mobile operators, power and cable companies, internet service providers (ISPs), and national or international wireline operators along with government entities, healthcare organizations, education institutions, and a growing commercial segment. To support the changing business requirements, LS Networks offers a lightning-fast symmetrical Fiber Internet service, with speeds up to 100 Gbps delivered on a network purpose built for the Pacific Northwest. LS Networks also delivers its carrier grade Ethernet network to support up to 100 Gbps of high-speed point to point and point to multipoint transport services while also providing private connectivity into the cloud and its local data centers.
Hansen explains that the capacity needs of the carrier community have changed over the years, scaling from 1Gb to 2.5Gb to 10Gb and even 100Gb bandwidth levels. Beyond just throughput carriers are now increasingly interested in route diversity, path protection, and framing/ interface options for their optical network. As such, ISPs and small telcos are weighing the pros and cons of using an optical vs. an MPLS Ethernet service.
“Originally built on a dense wavelength division multiplexer (DWDM) platform and distributed high capacity MPLS, our network addresses the evolving higher performing needs of the carrier community,” notes Hansen. While engaging with customers, the LS Networks team thoroughly understands their needs, be it around 5G deployment, submarine backhaul deployment, or rapidly changing needs of the business community. When it comes to requirements around the largest capacities (100Gb or greater), LS Networks provides customers with native optical service, which typically offers the greatest scale at the least cost.
“Beyond capacity growth we have also been introducing optical technology alongside our long-haul fiber routes and our high-capacity access network customers. Rather than deploying a premise device at each customer location, we leverage automatic optical cable line monitoring technology to terminate the service, troubleshoot the local loop, and DMARC (demarcation point) our service footprint cost-effectively,” explains Hansen. This provides LS Networks with a superior monitoring capability, whereby the company can remotely detect faults to ensure seamless and continuous operation of the network without the need for a technician dispatch.
Optical technology has always been the foundation for our services, underpinning almost everything we do. Although we might not be always leading with 'optical' as the product, it is the engine underneath that powers us
What differentiates LS Networks is its desire to create ubiquity within its footprint and service offerings. The company has moved with the industry away from narrow slices of its purpose-built network to more of a multi-purpose platform with a keen focus on its scalability and resilience. LS Networks is agile in mixing and matching network technologies for a wide range of customers while automating the implementation of services and making the entire process of service delivery and how the network is built as transparent as possible.
With a robust expansion plan in mind, LS Networks intends to widen its footprint in the Northwest by not only growing into new markets but also densifying its services in the existing markets. The company is intently focused on its rural service areas and pushing its fiber network to those not yet experiencing the benefits of advanced communications technology. At the same time, the company is aiming to improve its ability to connect to large data centers and internet/ content/application exchange points in the Metro areas which provides an ever increasing array of options to its entire user base.