Calix: Speedier Delivery and Impressive Opex Cuts

Shane Eleniak, VP, Product Line Leadership
Calix [NYSE: CALX], founded in 1999, is still “small enough to focus, (and) large enough to deliver,” according to Shane Eleniak, who heads the telecom company’s product line. Its clients include giants such as Verizon and CenturyLink, and partners include Swedish major Ericsson.

Calix’s mantra is disruption. “If we don’t disrupt (ourselves), somebody else will,” says Eleniak, pointing out ways in which Calix bids to differentiate itself and stay ahead amid the flaming competition. “CIOs are surprised, but we recognize the pace of innovation in today’s technology environment,” he adds.

Broadband delivery poses unique challenges. Telecom gear needs to be powerful, innovative, and truly adaptable. Sometimes it needs to be erected on a pole, sometimes in a nice business park. It needs to have a number of powering options to maintain 24/7 connectivity and it needs to be close to the subscriber, come rain, snow or sleet.

Calix is at the cutting edge of broadband delivery, and is a leader in the intersection at which access systems meet Software-Defined Network, or SDN. Growingly, it seeks to leverage its traditional strengths across data centers, as it adds more intelligence to its products. It is also at the forefront of NG-PON2, recently unveiling a new edge router, E9-2, which will soon power Verizon’s network, and the Calix Cloud.

“Still, business transformation is what consumers want,” asserts Eleniak as he outlines two focus areas for the company. Firstly, Calix wants to cut time to services, which traditionally takes up to two years. “We want to collapse that cycle,” says Eleniak, as Calix begins to face up to potential challenges from the entry into the telecom sector of giants such as Google (Gigabit Internet), Facebook (broadband delivery), and Amazon (Echo network device). “That is key to cutting time to revenue, time to service creation, and software distribution,” he adds.

We want to make it a whole lot easier to operate a network, and integrate more functionalities, especially instrumentation and analytics, across the cloud

Secondly, the company wants to deliver more operational control over the network, and help cut opex, an expenditure that is as important as capex to most operators. “We want to make it a whole lot easier to operate a network, and integrate more functionalities, especially instrumentation and analytics, across the cloud,” Eleniak says. Policy management and zero-touch device activation are among the company’s goals, as it also seeks to enable back office integration and further build the DevOps model.

“We are generating real results. With CenturyLink, it was the largest deployment; with Verizon, we are working on NG-PON2 and trying to accelerate time to market,” says Eleniak. “We are delivering in weeks, as opposed to a year in previous years. Clients are demonstrating a ‘show me’ attitude. Deliver today, not just show us PowerPoint slides.” Eleniak has previously worked at Alloptic, Corrigent Systems, Newbridge Networks, and Telus.

Calix’s key difference over rivals is this: It is delivering real commercial deployments, SDN in particular. The UCom implementation in Armenia is a recent case in point. In many cases, it is able to offer virtual deployments ahead of the real thing, helping clients with a head start.


Petaluma, CA

Shane Eleniak, VP, Product Line Leadership

Provider of broadband communications access systems and software