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Embracing Next-gen Networks

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VoicenData Bureau
New Update

With growing hunger for high-speed data consumption in the country, it has become imperative to build networks that can sustain such traffic and offer lightening fast data services. Many global as well as domestic networking companies have started working in various projects of varied magnitude to provide high-speed broadband networks in the country.

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In a recently conducted workshop in New Delhi, prominent Japanese corporates like Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporataion (NTT), KDDI Corporation, Hitachi Limited, along with VOICE&DATA discussed and brainstormed over the issues in scaling up large scale networks.



The topic of the seminar was 'Building and Operation of Next Generation Broadband Networks in India'.



In his welcome speech, Tomofumi Fukamian, 1st speaker, Embassy of Japan in India said, “In order to provide quality services, India needs to work on its infrastructure as in Japan we have achieved 100% broadband services. Convergence turns interoperability into a common problem against development of ICTs. In fact, not only technical compatibility problems but also competitive failures, economic inefficiencies, and hazards to consumer welfare would arise out of insufficient interoperability. As a matter of fact, developers of digital devices, software applications and multimedia services inevitably find themselves in a complex world where they have to find interoperability solutions to compete effectively in the marketplace. To reverse this situation, both intra- & inter-platform interoperability should be ensured with a holistic viewpoint of the ICT industry.”

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RK Upadhyay, chairman and managing director, BSNL talked about the current scenario prevailing in the telecom industy and stressed on the necessary steps which BSNL is taking to increase the broadband availability. According to him, “The total internet connections is estimated to be more than 1 bn and internet connecting devices to be more than 6 bn. Large scale fiber deployment is in access and the country has seen growth in internet subscribers base, but the problem is that, only few are active. The country is targeting 512 Kbps broadband connectivity by 2012 and 2 Mbps by 2017.”



He also talked about the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project which will link around 250,000 gram panchayats or villages or small town and even self-governments.



He further said that Common Service Centers (CSC) is meant to deliver e-governance services to various government institutions to the rural population of India. CSCs would be used for delivery of services and interaction with private service providers. The aim is to create 100,000 CSCs across 600,000 rural and remote locations of India.

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R Chandrashekhar, secretary, department of telecommunications, in his keynote address raised the question, “Has the time come in India to go excited about the broadband?” He further said that today the data only accounts for 5% of the traffic, with tele-density of 77% on national basis. “Voice is yesterday's story and broadband is tomorrow's story. Therefore the answer is yes, the era has begun.”



Broadband is the requirement for social and economic development. It is the main vehicle for all kinds of social sector development. Although in 1999 National Telecom Policy has brought the whole telecom revolution but there is a major problem in NTP as the rolling out of optical fiber is an expensive game and the economics of the rural areas are forbidding. Broadband may not roll out to the rural areas if it is left to the hands of market forces.



The telecom secretary expects the optical fiber to act as the backbone of the industry and since the penetration of the cable TV is high therefore it is quite relevant that the optical fiber will supplement the broadband network.

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NOFN was approved on October 2011 wherein most of the implementation are in place and by October 15, the pilot project which will connect all the panchayats will be ready. The pilot will demonstrate the entire country as to what great work these networks can do.



The government has already `20,000 crore of investment in optical fiber network and while emphasizing broadband its very important to make it affordable. He said, “We have put in place the mechanism to make the spectrum affordable. As the whole idea is to bring down the actual cost at the given level of the technology. The way ahead for the industry is sharing infrastructure and services. The technology should be scalable, affordable, and shareable. The use of spectrum should be at a minimum level so that landlines can also be used wherever possible.”



The other important issue is the security which has brought extremely serious threat to the industry. Lack of security in place can lower the trust of the investors and make the whole environment volatile.

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Takehisa Hayashi, chief technology officer, Alaxcella Networks Corporation, came up with the question, “Why do we need NGN? When we know that all carriers in the world are facing the same issue, ie, of migration telephony to IP, promote broadband, and collaborate with various services, etc.”



By 2016 the NGN will establish cloud type of education system which can be used from home. He further added, “In Japan we have less than 10 mn subscribers so we can cover our investment very shortly.”



He also mentioned that the FTTH penetration, ie, South Korea and Japan account for 50% of the household internet penetration. The number of broadband subscribers is still growing in Japan.

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Some of the challenges were STP and BGP, which should be used to achieve high availability and hardware malfunction should be locally fixed.



He also mentioned the Japanese phenomenon of 'Mottainai', which is based on 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) to create a sustainable society, one that has balance between the economy and environment.



Reduce: Reducing the amount of waste by increasing the efficiency of resource use and extending the useful life of products

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Reuse: Using 'recyclable resources' from used items again, as products or parts, after giving them proper treatment



Recycle: Using 'recyclable resources' as raw materials to make new products







The first panel discussion started with Sanjeev Bedekar, head network quality & governance, mobile services, Bharti airtel, who said that, “Broadband has grown up tremendously in the last 15-20 years and for data we need to push as we have lot of opportunity.” Mobile has reached every nook and corner and apart from 3G even the 2G needs to be upgraded as both the services are going to stay together for years to come. Most of the population first phone is still the feature phone and till this generation will phase out the use of handset supporting the high speed will be limited. He further said that there is a huge chunk of people including the youngsters in the tier-2 and -3 cities who are eager to taste the growing trend of mobile technology.



Anil Jain, general manager, BSNL said that, “The company started its internet journey in the year 2000 and we have already introduced automated dial-up facility. Our focus was to provide internet facility to all the landline users. We have more than 36,000 dial-up users and BSNL stands as the largest copper storage. Today around 1.7 lakh villages have broadband availability and BSNL have already covered 140,000 out of 240,000 which are currently available.”



He further added that, “Different segments of society need different broadband. We will implement YMax in some selected cities, ie, Punjab and Kerala. Around 140 cities across the country will launch FTTH services. WiMax development as a technology is not picking up and out of 7,800 almost 4,000 are radiating. We have market share of less than 60% and will continue to be above 50% in the future. As major telcos have migrated from traditional PSTN technology to the Next Gen (Ngen). We have floated the tenders' rollout for broadband along with fixedline where CDOT stands as one of the prospective partners.”



Ashwani K Khillan said that, “The rural broadband has started in last 3-4 years and to spread any telecom market the way is mobile side rather than from the fixed side. The fixed network has to keep supplementary to the mobile network. We have to look the bigger and more developed countries.”



He added that, “Everything has to co-exist to achieve the NTP, we need to build such ecosystem where the technology should complement each other. The consumer not only needs speed but also consistent user experience. The horizon of wireless network is that the most of the data traffic is on 2G network. The wireless network is challenging wireline with respect to LTE or advance LTE.”



Tatsuro Murakami, senior advisor, global R&D and standardization, NNT said that “In 1999 we had flat rate of internet access and as a result the demand for the broadband dropped. NTP provide FTTH services which drives the demand. NTTP continue to provide new type of services. We have 18 mn FTTH subscribers. The time has come the smartphones open the doors to the internet and to increase the traffic fixedline needed to complement.”



In a separate presentation Masahiro Kobayashi, general manager, product sector, KDDI elaborated about the Japanese enterprise network which works on point-to-point dedicated bandwidth and charges based on distance. He talked about the use of high-quality switches which are highly reliable and highly available.



The next presentation was from CS Rao, president, Reliance Communications who talked about the challenges and opportunities of broadband in India. He said that, “Point of presence of wireless is very important, we have a base station in every 600-700 meters in suburban India.”



“Wireless broadband is the time to adopt and move on as it has different kind of consumers. All kinds of consumers are asking for broadband on affordable rates. The country need to have adequate spectrum which needs to be backed by good national IPV6 migration plan. We also need to encourage distance education, tele-medicine, etc, and the devices should place devices within the range of $100 to $200,” he added.



Sukanta Dey, president, Delhi Management Association started the second panel discussion and said, “A lot of voice will actually move away into the broadband network and the cost of terminal device has to come down as the subscribers are unlikely to give up their 2G phones for 3G instruments. In predominantly postpaid markets like the US, operators have given away handsets at a low cost and recouped it through monthly subscriptions.”



He added that 3G has not been able to keep up with the consumer's expectation and people are still demanding high broadband speed with lower cost. Gaming and social networking has been able to pull the consumer base as everyone wants to be connected all the time and therefore the handset industry is focusing on the products with good processor which can support high-speed internet.



On this Satya N Gupta, chief of corporate affairs, Sterlite Technologies agreed with Sukanta Dey and said, “The government is leaving the broadband access to the operators where capacity remains a key concern. If the content is digital it will travel on broadband and if you pack it well then it will travel free of cost. At the vendor side the biggest worry is the cost of handset, specially the smartphones which are believed to bring a revolutionary trend in the telecom industry.” Most of the smartphones are prices above `9,000, which is still out of the reach of lower middle class society.



The second issue is the buying process as people are willing to owe the product but to shell out their old feature phone and buy the new smartphone is not so easy for them. Keeping the above issues aside the need of the hour for the industry is operators' support as after the cancellation of the licenses, the trust has gone for a toss. Even the infrastructure is highly scarce and with the ever-increasing subscriber base it is further projected to fall insufficient.



Kansuke Kurayanagi, senior dirctor business development operation, telecommunications & network systems division, Hitachi came up with the comparison of mobile market across the globe and mentioned the importance of content business platform. He said that there is continued strong momentum for smartphone uptake in all regions. Approximately 35-40% of all mobile phones sold in Q1 were smartphones, compared to around 30% for the full year 2011. Only around 10-15% of the worldwide installed base of subscriptions use smartphones, which means that there is considerable room for further uptake.



Anshul Gupta agreed to Kansuke and made a very valid point as he said that there will a shortage of 20,000 to 30,000 universities and 30,000 to 40,000 schools in the next few years, therefore, broadband can play a savior role in this case. Broadband can connect most parts of the country, which were not connected earlier. He said that “National Knowledge Network (NKN) is limited to district, therefore the role of NOFN is important, which can connect even the smaller areas beyond district.”



Masahero Kobeyashi, general manager, service planning division, KDDI Corporation highlighted the importance of e-commerce, which has the potential in bringing a significant change. He said that “If the server is connected with the cloud it will further boost the credibility. In Japan we are doing it in a proper way and we are sure that we can do the same in India within few years.”



Tatsuro Murakami, senior advisor, global R&D, NTT stated that M2M communication has expanded beyond a one-to-one connection and changed into a system of networks that transmits data to personal appliances. The expansion of IP networks across the world has made it far easier for M2M communication to take place and has lessened the amount of power and time necessary for information to be communicated between machines.

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