New Delhi. 21.07.2021. With India’s digital ecosystem becoming remarkably dense over the last couple of years, connectivity infrastructure requires a whole new make-over that can thrive in today’s massive volume of data movement. ETTelecom.com and Telecom Infra Project (TIP) organized a virtual summit where experts and thought leaders from the industry came together to discuss how India is planning its road to a transformed network ecology. Titled ‘The Built in India Virtual Summit’, it explored the capabilities of India’s rich domestic telecom ecosystem that is all set to cater to the country’s fast-growing data needs.
The Local Supply Panel Discussion: Building for India and Beyond gathered eminent panelists from Indian technology suppliers developing hardware and software products for OpenRAN and open transport, and system integrators that contribute to building end-to-end solutions combining these products. The primary discussion topics included: Why India needs reinforced networks to address a growing data traffic demand; The advantages and caveats of open and disaggregated interoperable networks; Strengths and weaknesses of India’s domestic telecom ecosystem; and, Where India stands on last-mile connectivity.
Emphasizing on TIP’s pivotal role in making India’s rich ecosystem of domestic players adequately capable of driving this transformation self-reliantly leveraging the global trend towards open and disaggregated technologies, moderator Hutton said, “In order to maximize the value of open and disaggregated networks, it is key to make it possible that a community of diverse technology suppliers and system integrators work together with service providers to build, test, and validate solutions delivering the technology requirements for critical connectivity use cases.”
Balram Sharma, Senior VP & COO Access Business – 5G, STL, emphasized STL’s role in the ecosystem. “People have started moving away from monolithic proprietary systems to open, disaggregated, and virtualized web-scaled systems. We are playing in two major areas — fixed and wireless networks. On the fixed network side, we are building programmable FTTx solutions, for home connects and enterprise markets. On the wireless network side, we saw that the software system was maturing well, but not the hardware one, so we started investing in building a hardware ecosystem which is ORAN-compliant, with a product portfolio covering enterprise and telco markets. Additionally, we have also invested in a company building software stack for the enterprise market.”
Joseph George, VP – 5G & Datacenter, VVDN, underscored how the role of innovation and highly optimized hardware designs contribute to cost-efficiency, one of the benefits of OpenRAN, “We have our in-house hardware capabilities, which we can leverage to make highly cost-efficient hardware platforms for deployment. To control the costs, we have very strategic relationships with all the supply chain, with a very tight control over it, together with an in-house manufacturing facility which can produce very large volumes of this equipment in a short lifespan.”
Nitesh Bansal, SVP & Global Head, Engineering Services, Infosys, talked about how they are building that level of confidence and assurance in disaggregated solutions and accelerating the time to market, working within TIP’s community-based approach. “As a system integrator, it is key for us to understand how networks are going to be consumed. With basic commodities and services, like education, banking, and more, getting consumed in a dispersed manner, the role of the underlying connectivity has become a fundamental lifeblood to existence and for us to grow in the future. Enterprises have been in this digitization journey for several years, but only in the front-office. The back of the house, where production happens, is not yet digitized, and that became apparent during the pandemic. Open and disaggregated networks can facilitate that process. The whole knowledge of bringing this carrier-grade ecosystem together is what makes system integrators relevant for the enterprises on one hand, and also the network operators and network companies on the other hand. The work that TIP is doing provides us with the ability to not just validate the concept designs and performance that we bring to the table, but also becomes a great partner for us in working towards the journey of automation.”
Manish Mangal, Global Business Head, Network Services, Tech M, discussed how they are addressing the challenges of integrating the different elements of open and disaggregated networks. “We originated as a telco-centric company and have been part of network transformations since the invention of networks. 5G is not just about serving more data. 5G brings virtualization and IT agile principles into network design, with the most important area being the radio network, because that’s where 70% of the capital from any carrier goes in. In this context, the fundamental challenge when you start disaggregating is how to put it all back together and still have the assurance that it will work well. We solve this problem in two ways: we need a tremendous amount of integration and testing activities to go together, internally and as part of a public ecosystem, which is why TIP is a great place to be; rather than a system integrator, we now call ourselves as a ‘continuous integrator’, software centric, with deep network domain knowledge, with full accountability and responsibility of continuous integration for our customers.”
Abhijit Chaudhary, Founder and CEO, Niral Networks, shed light into the innovation in the transport space, without which the impact of 5G and Wi-Fi 6 might not be realised, and revealed how his company “is developing an open, disaggregated, and affordable network operating system for the transport infrastructure.” He also mentioned “a miniature version of the packet core for 5G, which would be used by enterprises to create their own private 5G solutions.” Chaudhary shared his experience working within TIP: “We have been working with TIP since we started the company. TIP has created an interesting ecosystem that includes our partners (SIs, ODMs, chipset manufacturers), our competitors as well as our customers – mobile operators and Internet service providers. TIP has provided us an important platform to showcase our product, to collaborate with our partners, get feedback from our customers as well as other stakeholders, and access to test labs, to test our interoperability, scalability, performance and feature support, which is crucial for a small start-up like Niral.”
Poised to drive last-mile wireless internet and edge access as well, India’s rich ecosystem of domestic open network players is prepared to work within the TIP community, to drive this transformation in a self-reliant way.
India’s rising connectivity needs call for stronger telecom infrastructure. Experts point to open and disaggregated networks as the key. How ready does our speaker line-up think India’s telecom sector is for the future? Check out what they had to say in this session and all other sessions at the ‘Built in India’ Virtual Summit. Click here: https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/built-in-india.