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Online Network lights up its fibres
a high-tech DWDM optical fibre network that spans the length
and breadth of Mumbai city, India Online Network is all set
to give users a taste of its SpeedMelon broadband Internet
seems Mumbai city is all wired up for broadband services,
what with different service providers digging up the whole
city to lay their cables and ducts. One such Broadband service
provider is India Online Network Ltd (IOL). It has already
installed an end-to-end optical fibre network in Mumbai. IOL
launched its SpeedMelon broadband Internet service in June
2001. Since this is an 'always on' Internet service, it is
regarded as an extended intranet. To speed up access and optimise
the usage of bandwidth, it is hosting broadband content (like
movies) and popular website home pages on its own intranet
network infrastructure is designed on the lines of an intranet.
In fact it's a WAN with an intranet design," says Porus
Tavadia, General Manager, Strategic Alliances, IOL.
IOL began work on its DWDM fibre optic network about a year
back when it started laying the backbone, a 48-core fibre
optic cable with a capacity of 48 Gbps (full-duplex). The
100 Km backbone runs through Mumbai city, beginning at Cuffe
Parade in South Mumbai and extending northwards to Andheri.
POPS AND RINGS
A bird's eye-view of the network shows a series of rings around
points of presence (PoPs). A PoP in this case is a combination
of routing or switching equipment, and IOL has chosen Cisco
equipment for this purpose. The PoP is connected to the backbone
and to the Ethernet rings. PoPs and rings are currently located
at Cuffe Parade, Marine Lines, Andheri and various other parts
of Mumbai. Typically, each POP can service 16 rings. Each
ring is a six core fibre with 2 Gbps capacity that can service
248 ports or users. The fibre optic cable from the ring terminates
at the router on the building. A CAT-5 cable is drawn from
the router and leads to the user's premises, where it terminates
at the Ethernet card in the users PC. Hence no cable modems
Connectivity at the customers end could differ slightly. In
case of a corporate customer, the LAN could be connected to
a Proxy server or firewall, which in turn is connected to
the ring via a router.
The core of the network is the Data Centre, located at IOL's
Marine Lines office in Mumbai. The broadband service provider
has an intranet for internal use within the data centre. The
backbone is connected to the intranet via a switch. The intranet
has mail servers, application servers, and DNS servers. The
servers are a mix of Sun Solaris and Windows 2000 boxes. IOL
maintains separate mail servers for internal use and for SpeedMelon
accounts. There is also an additional Relay server that schedules
downloads and transmission of e-mail at different periods
during the day. This enables efficient usage of bandwidth
and helps administrators keep a check on e-mail viruses.
The Application Servers run authentication software, monitoring
programs and billing applications. The DNS servers resolve
a domain name to its numeric IP address.
The intranet at the data centre also has a Cisco Cache Engine.
Home pages of popular websites are stored in the cache for
Moving away from the intranet towards the Internet, there
is a firewall connected to a router, which is in turn connects
to the gateway. Currently IOL utilises Internet gateway services
from Global Telesystems.
broadband Internet connectivity, IOL is offering its corporate,
SME and SOHO customers a range of services like Customised
Bandwidth Solutions, VPN, Video Conferencing, video/music
on demand, e-education and online gaming.
Explaining the concept of 'Customised Bandwidth' IOL officials
say this is a two fold concept. For one, IOL is ready to offer
bandwidth on demand. Secondly, it can reduce/increase the
ratio of users to a pipe.
customer's bandwidth requirements may shoot up at any point
in time and we are positioned effectively to provide bandwidth
at the turn of a tap," says Flynn Remedios, VP, Technology
& Projects, IOL.
IOL is also putting the finishing touches to its Speedmelon.net
website that will have broadband content exclusively for SpeedMelon
subscribers. "The USP of this website will be fast downloads
of broadband content that will be pre-selected and stored
on IOL's intranet servers," says IOL's Porus Tavadia.
"We will host music, movies, games and other broadband
content on our servers and stream it to our customers through
10 Mbps connections."
IOL is also considering the ASP model and will host applications
that can be shared.
With all these services tucked under its belt, it looks like
IOL is ready to give its SpeedMelon subscribers Internet access
"at the speed of light."