‘Operators who don’t rebuild risk losing customers’

By Manishika Miglani

Carrying an experience of over 20 years in the Telecommunications industry, Drazen Lukic heads Alcatel Lucent’s optics business in APAC with the objective to promote ALU optics solutions. As the Vice President, IP Routing & Transport APAC, Drazen in an interview with Voice&Data, shared his insights on the company’s optics product strategy & its business expansion plans including its deal with Nokia Networks.

Voice&Data: What is Alcatel-Lucent’s optic products strategy in IP transport?

 Drazen Lukic: We offer what customers want in Agile Optical Networking, which solves concerns on scalability, efficiency and intelligence in a cohesive way.  The Agile Optical Networking combines packet, electrical and photonic switching technologies, making it easy to connect customers to the services they crave and realize the network’s full potential.

Voice&Data: What is the present market scenario in IP Transport and highlight the trends you foresee?

Drazen Lukic: The seemingly insatiable demand for mobile, video and cloud-based services pressuring the world’s networks shows no sign of slowing down. Also bigger pipes and more capacity alone won’t relieve the burden.  Telecom operators and sectors that don’t rebuild or re-tool to stay competitive and meet their financial performance expectations risk losing customers. Yet as bandwidth utilization continues unabated, today’s high-speed, high-capacity 100G optical networks may not be sufficient just a few years down the road.

Telecom operators and sectors need a scalable, versatile and dynamic networking solution that can adapt to the ever-changing needs of users in a cost-effective way. Tomorrow’s networks will have to provide the flexibility to drive down costs, the intelligence to easily add new services, and the agility to scale bandwidth where and when it is needed.

The economy of India is developing very fast, in the speed of China, if not faster.  The population is also increasing fast which will create a robust foundation for more bandwidth.  Service providers and sectors are building up 100G networks, with some looking at 100G+ super pipes.  To deal with unexpected fibre cuts, this market also requires ultra-high network availability where control plane intelligence is a must to have.

Voice&Data: What are Alcatel Lucent’s future company’s plans with respect to the IP transport for APAC region?

Drazen Lukic: This year, we are promoting four key technologies to help customers address concerns on scalability, efficiency and intelligence. The first one is involved metro, which provides high speech transport and multi-layer switching in small footprint optimized for metro networks. The second one is wave router, which scales the bandwidth of light and photonic networks both. The third one being the MRN control plane which provides protection and restoration capabilities for transport services.  It increases networking efficiency significantly, and helps service providers to do “Network as a Service”. The last one is Transport SDN, which can transform the networks into cloud-ready.  It can also slide the physical networks into multiple virtual logical networks so that not only network operators but also end users can enjoy transport SDN.

Voice&Data: Can you elaborate on ALU Core & Metro Network Evolution?

Drazen Lukic: Our wave router solution automates wavelength routing and management tasks. This automation lets customers dynamically adjust wavelength connectivity and pinpoint fibre faults. It also lets customers scale wavelength capacity without changing your wavelength routing equipment. The zero-touch technology helps you eliminate on-site visits and supports the delivery of new services to market with lightning-quick speed.

We also provide 100G and 200G in a single package that is both programmable and rate adaptive. Customers can double the network capacity at the push of a button without the upfront cost of buying the capacity one requires.

Our new platforms help you keep up with fast-evolving demand for high-bandwidth video, cloud, and data centre services. Built specifically for the space and cost constraints of today’s metro and data centre networks, they are smaller and more powerful than any other available solution. With our platforms customers get support for any mix of packet, OTN, and photonic services along with 50 percent smaller physical footprint and 40 percent lower power consumption.

Voice&Data: How can one maximize profitability with Intelligent Control Plane solution (GMPLS, MRN & GMPLS UNI)?

Drazen Lukic: One can maximize profitability with reduced cost through increased networking efficiency.  With intelligence control plane, more network resources will be freed for data transmission, which reduces both OPEX and CAPEX. Profitability can be also capitalized by improved revenue through Transport as a Service (TaaS) as operators can provide transport services with different SLAs with intelligence control plane.

Voice&Data: Please brief us on Transport- Software Define Networking (T-SDN) & Data Centre Interconnect?

Drazen Lukic: Transport networks provide the base foundation of the networking layer.  SDN has an important part to play in transport networks.  Transport SDN is centered on two key objectives which is to provide service acceleration to meet application networking requirements, and to drive operational efficiency and simplification to reduce capital and operating costs with the aim of delivering networking services aligned with cloud economics.

The new generation of virtual computing and storage resources dictate that SPs need more than a pair of (active and backup) data centers as they typically require many data centers to support their enterprise customer base. Low latency DCi transport enables multi data center architectures, where all data centers are connected together with a scalable and redundant mesh of high-speed links. The data center mesh then delivers processing, storage, and networking to end-user locations for optimal application performance, even though the underlying data may be moving dynamically between data centers attached to the mesh.  In particular, security aspects such as data encryption and key management are important elements of an organization’s response to security threats and regulation.

Voice&Data: Who are your clients in this segment? How many customers have you added in the past one year?

Drazen Lukic: We focus on both service providers and segment customers. Segment customers are our new growth engines, namely government, energy, transport, extra-large enterprises and Webscale companies.

In 2014, we added over 100 customers from 410 to 515.

Voice&Data: Where do you see Alcatel Lucent in the next five years (in terms of its services) given the rapid increase in mobile data traffic?

Drazen Lukic: Alcatel-Lucent has been a leader in Optics transport for over 10 years.  We will keep our leading edge through high speed transport and wave routing technology.  We will also keep investing in software so that we can turn the rigid transport into agile fabric in facing more mobile data and cloud services.

Voice&Data: Please share your business expansion plans and details about any possible M&A?

Drazen Lukic: Alcatel-Lucent is progressing with the proposed combination with Nokia Networks, which is currently only focused on wireless broadband.  We don’t compete with each other in optics transmission.

At this stage and until the transaction closing, Alcatel-Lucent won’t speak about the future decisions and actions of the combined company.

Voice&Data:  Where does Alcatel Lucent stand in the a) Service Provider Router market and b) Service Provider Edge market.

Drazen Lukic: We have more than 20 percent market share for optics transport in India with local market analysis rating Alcatel-Lucent as the No.1 vendor for multiple consecutive years already.  In APAC, we captured 20 percent market share in very competitive markets.  Globally, we also have around 20 percent market share through solid footprint in all key regions.

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