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Vodafone in Final Phase of Major UK Backbone Network Upgrade

Wednesday, Jul 26th, 2023 (10:32 am) - Score 6,240
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Broadband ISP and mobile operator Vodafone UK has revealed that they’re now entering the “final phase” of their multi-year Redstream Evolution project, which reflects the work being conducted to upgrade the backbone of their nationwide network and boost their capacity for future growth.

Redstream Evolution is the backbone network that transports all of Vodafone’s telephony, video, and data traffic around the UK over a nationwide highway of the latest fibre optic connectivity. Having previously managed three separate networks, the Redstream network will deliver a single Software Defined Networking-enabled (SDN), core Internet Protocol (IP) transport network for UK consumer and business customers.

NOTE: The final phase is largely about shifting customers on to the new network.

All of the operator’s home broadband, mobile and business customers are now being shifted onto the same “ultra-high-capacity” backbone transport network, which they hope will be more cost-efficient and result in improvements to customer experience, new products and reduce the environmental impact of their operations.

The more adaptable and flexible infrastructure will also mean that content partners can host content in more strategic locations closer to the consumer, reducing the risk of buffering and lag when streaming. “It will also enable a differentiated approach to net neutrality“, albeit assuming Ofcom allows that (here).

Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer at 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.”

The operator does have a network guide that explains a bit more about how they’re set up, although that was last updated in 2020 and does not appear to be reflecting all the changes that have been introduced via Redstone Evolution. We should point out that network upgrades like this are occurring right across the industry as operators adapt to the need for more capacity and flexibility in the wake of newer technologies like 5G, FTTP broadband and so forth.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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11 Responses
  1. Avatar photo APJ says:

    I hope this means an end to the ridiculous long distance routing that many Vodafone FTTP customers have been experiencing whereby, for example, customers in Glasgow/Edinburgh are being routed through a highly congested London gateway and customers in London and the south of England are being rather bizarrely and frequently being routed through the Edinburgh gateway! Vodafone have know about this for a long time and have been useless in providing or identifying a fix for this and have on occasion told customers this is a side effect of this new ‘backbone load balancing’!

    All this long distance and inefficient routing results in high pings which really shouldn’t be something FTTP customers (via CityFibre) should be experiencing. Ping rates range from 25-50ms and are unacceptable and shouldn’t be something FTTP customers who are playing c.£62 a month, should be experiencing!

    1. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

      25-50ms ping on fttp? That’s dreadful. I’m getting 6-8ms on BT fttp here in Banbury and seen their customers in London getting 2-3ms.

    2. Avatar photo Dylan says:

      I was a Vodafone FTTP Customer in Aberdeen for along time and my first hop was always Manchester, asked for a Fixed IP (for an unrelated reason) and when that change was applied my routing changed to Edinburgh

      So might be worth asking for something similar?

      I’m Now with Converged who are based in Aberdeen so gateway is under 1ms away

    3. Avatar photo chris ray gun says:

      I also left vodafone (aberdeen city fibre) as they kept giving me a vodafone india IP address

      so annoying and never fixed, i also experienced pretty bad ping.

      currently with talktalk but i am thinking of changing.

  2. Avatar photo TomDickandH says:

    I hope they will soon deliver IPv6 😉

    1. Avatar photo Luke says:

      Yes, hopefully they can finally get it rolled out once this is done!

  3. Avatar photo Icaras says:

    So would this be the final part of merging the C&W network that they purchased with the rest of their network?

  4. Avatar photo Jon says:

    Hopefully means they can finally offer services like iCloud calling on connected devices (without mobile present locally). This is one of the main things keeping me with EE, as the only UK network who supports this directly. This is different to the normal iOS feature which routes calls from mac and iPad via your iphone. When enabled at network level like EE has it allows you to call directly using other Apple devices as long as they are logged into sane iCloud account.

  5. Avatar photo Ferrocene Cloud says:

    It’s certainly a lot easier to deliver a project when you cut the budget and work by a factor of 10 call it a day, and then pat yourself on the back.

    Magically, this also means that those 90% older devices no longer need upgrading!

  6. Avatar photo TrueFibre says:

    Would this mean the people that are limited to 200 Mbps would get the full 900 Mbps

Comments are closed

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