One of the most important yet misunderstood services in the telecommunications industry. It combines elements of civil engineering, electrical engineering, facility management, real estate, and standard bits and bytes. By definition, collocation is the leasing of available space and power within a facility in order to operate telecommunications equipment. A network without collocation facilities—rack counts, square footage, amps, and conduits—is like a car without seats: Although the engine is in place, the car is not fully functional. Carriers back in the 1980s needed and present-day carriers continue to need somewhere to house their equipment so that they can use and manipulate the bandwidth being purchased.
Before American Telephone & Telegraph’s breakup in 1984, the Bell companies rarely considered carrier requests to collocate equipment. Seeing a competitive advantage in the marketplace, however, IXCs (long-haul carriers) and CAPs (local carriers) began leasing space for carrier equipment, giving rise to a new industry product: collocation or collocation facilities.
Today, collocation is not usually offered as a stand-alone product but is a value-added component often made available to carriers purchasing capacity on the network. In short, collocation helps to facilitate the buying and utilization of a carrier’s bandwidth by clients. The main service that collocations provide is up time by providing redundant power supplies with backup generators and redundant links to the Internet. In the end, the client gains by having reduced bandwidth service costs.
Payne, T. Collocation: Never Mind the Spelling, It’s How It’s Delivered. [Online, September 2001.] Phone Plus Magazine Website. http://www.phoneplusmag.com/ articles/191feat4.html.