the pace of growth of Wipro's business in recent years,
its network architects had a serious challenge ahead
of them, to keep the network growth-proof. The solution
was a network that leveraged on the existing IP infrastructure
to drive data, voice, and video traffic. by Brian Pereira
New World network will be the key to Wipro realizing
its potential of being among Top 10 IT Service Providers
in the world. This would require us to be among the
top 10 companies with best-of-breed IT infrastructure,
and certainly number one in India"
Wipro Technologies, a business
unit of Wipro Limited, provides on-site, off-site
and offshore software development services. With
over 9,000 software professionals spread across
21 development centers across the globe, the company's
software services business has grown on the foundation
of continued focus on customer satisfaction and
The company needed a high-performance
network that could scale up with growing business.
Since Wipro wanted to offer its employees anywhere,
anytime access, the network was expected to maintain
a balance between Security and Internet Access.
Further, it needed to be future-ready for the
deployment of new technologies like voice and
video over IP.
A comprehensive 'New World,'
IP-based network that leverages on the existing
IP infrastructure to drive converged data, voice
and video traffic.
The new converged network
has already started delivering sizeable cost and
resource benefits. Because the network is future-proof
it will be possible to implement next generation
services such as unified messaging and IP-based
contact centers in a short span of time. Moreover,
the efficient use of bandwidth allows for easier
network management, since the solution is end-to-end
and reduces internal support requirements.
Technologies, a division of Wipro Limited, is in the
business of providing on-site, off-site and offshore
development services. Its core business is IT solutions
and services for the enterprise and technology markets.
Hence its business model relies on the offshore model
of software development, and its intranet was designed
to inter-connect all of the Off-shore Development Centers
Since Wipro's business grew rapidly, it needed a high-performance,
growth-proof network that was future-ready for deployment
of new technologies. It wanted to give its employees
anytime, anywhere access, so it needed to draw a balance
between Network Security and Internet access. Since
the company deploys new technologies every now and then,
its network needed to be future-ready and keep pace
with rapid technology changes.
Designing a new network from scratch was out of question,
since Wipro had already invested heavily in its traditional
network. So Wipro planned an initiative called 'Convergence@Wipro,'
wherein it leveraged on the existing IP infrastructure
to drive data, voice, and video traffic. The 'New World'
network also needed to be based on a new generation
of IP-specific technologies to make the Convergence@Wipro
Wipro's standard network comprises of a converged data/voice/
video communication link connecting every remote client
location to the ODC LAN of one of the development centers
in India. Every development center is connected to the
primary and secondary WAN hubs on 2 Mbps lines. The
interoffice links were designed for high availability
using alternate paths and auto routing network protocols.
Policy-based networking & Quality of Service rules
were defined and configured to ensure the highest priority
for business critical applications. The IT infrastructure
at the Wipro Technologies' office was network-ready
for easy access with 10/100 Mbps bandwidth to the desktop
and Gigabit backbone.
Wipro's network architecture has three dimensions to
it to cater to its business specific requirements. Sudip
Banerjee, Chief Executive-Operations & Staffing
at Wipro Technologies, says the company intranet, extranet
and the Internet form "the 3D network of Wipro
Technologies." All employees, working from any
of the 21 development centers in India and abroad are
part of the intranet. The extranet connects the customer
locations across the globe and Internet is the common
media for anytime, anywhere access to all on-site employees
working from customer sites and also for mobile users.
The components of Wipro's traditional network infrastructure
can be summarized as:
The LAN: Gigabit cabling infrastructure, Ethernet,
10/100 Mbps to desktop, Gigabit with trunking on the
backbone. Campus networking, layer 3 virtual LANs.
The WAN: Redundant E1 links across locations, HDLC
protocol, OSPF protocol, TCP/IP protocol.
Bandwidth: 80+Mbps of domestic bandwidth, 15+Mbps
of international bandwidth and nearly 15 Mbps of Internet
Operating systems: Windows 95, 98, NT and 2000; Solaris
2.x and HP UX 10.x.
Primary protocol and applications: SAP, HTTP, SMTP,
LDAP, POP, IMAP, Netbios, CRM, Computer based training
Desktop applications: Office 2000, McAfee Antivirus,
Outlook 2000, Netscape and Internet Explorer browser.
In spite of having a scalable network with redundant
links, the intranet still had limitations such as:
Lack of reliable Network Performance/Quality of service.
Inability to scale up to demand for more bandwidth.
Lack of scope to maintain the balance between network
security & Internet access.
Deploying complex technologies.
Acquiring new skills and keeping pace with fast technology
Going forward, the key requirements were greater scalability
and decrease in time to deploy new technologies. Also,
there was requirement for greater reliability and higher
time-to-service (high availability). Ensuring anytime,
anywhere connectivity to the intranet with adequate
network security was also a requirement.
Considering the pace of growth of Wipro's business in
recent years, its network architects had a serious challenge
ahead of them, to keep the network growth-proof. Not
only was the network expected to be able to factor in
for future business growth but also have a low level
of obsolescence. Therefore, despite having invested
heavily in setting up a scalable and redundant network,
there was a never ending, always growing demand for
bandwidth that seemed to have constrained the network.
key trends were driving the need for change," says
Banerjee. "One, the change in work styles, with
more employees seeking flexible work hours and work-from-home
options. To address this, the network had to maintain
a balance between the need for network security and
anytime, anywhere access. Secondly, the network had
to keep pace with rapid technology changes. Network
performance was getting degraded as increasingly complex
technologies and applications were hosted on the intranet."
Wipro therefore had its task cut out. Given the high
level of investment already made in setting up the infrastructure,
the way ahead was to leverage on the existing IP infrastructure
to converge data, voice and video traffic, optimize
the resources and bring in significant cost saving,
such as to deliver:
Convergence to the desktop for video streaming, e-learning
and unified messaging.
99.999% availability and 24/7 Global Network Support.
Anytime and everywhere secure, easy access.
Very clearly, the need at Wipro Technologies was for
a network that is 100 percent available, fully secure
and a future-proof network efficiently supported round
the clock. Moreover, since this was business critical,
the time-to-deploy had to be minimal.
For such requirements, setting up a comprehensive 'New
World,' IP-based network seemed to be the only solution.
The technological need was to adopt technology inline
with growing business needs by leveraging the existing
IP infrastructure to drive converged data, voice and
video traffic. The network architecture of Wipro Technologies,
accordingly, needed to be purely based on new generation
IP-specific technologies, to make Convergence@Wipro
Wipro Technologies was very clear about its requirements
the top priority was ensuring that employees got what
they required, by way of the IT experience, to deliver
consistent value to the customer. Care was taken to
choose technology that will enable a scalable network
design to tie into the business needs of every employee.
Given this, the entire LAN/WAN infrastructure were built
mostly on Cisco components. But why was Cisco selected?
The Cisco AVVID (Architecture for Voice, Video and Integrated
Data) solution for IP Telephony was implemented to leverage
the existing Cisco infrastructure with minimal configuration
changes, to define quality of service for different
applications based on business priorities.
Says Banerjee, "Cisco's AVVID was the clear choice,
because it offers an end-to-end networking platform
to configure all the solutions we needed. Cisco is the
only One-Stop shop which could meet our requirements
for an open-standards, converged, IP-based network."
Seeking The Solution
Setting up a comprehensive New World, IP-based network
seemed to be the only solution for Wipro. The technological
need was to adopt technology inline with growing business
needs by leveraging the existing IP infrastructure to
drive converged data, voice and video traffic. The network
architecture accordingly, needed to be purely based
on new generation IP-specific technologies, to make
Convergence@Wipro a reality.
Here are the specifics on the technology implementation.
The Campus LAN infrastructure is an hierarchical architecture
using Cisco Catalyst 8540, Catalyst 6500 switches for
the core/distribution layers. The access switch used
is Catalyst 4006. The desktop switches are Catalyst
29xx, Catalyst 35xx, Catalyst 19xx. The backbone infrastructure
is based on the Gigabit Ethernet Technology. Features
like Gigabit trunking and Layer-3 VLANs are implemented
on the LAN infrastructure. The desktop connectivity
is on 10/100Mbps.
The WAN Network is used for connecting the various Wipro
Technologies offices across the world and also for connectivity
to their customer locations. For the WAN Network, Bangalore
is the hub location using Cisco 7206 routers. Each remote
location has redundant E1 links to the central location.
The routers used in the remote locations are Cisco 3600
and Cisco 2600.
ISDN backup connectivity is used for the remote locations
to access the central locations in case of the leased
line failure. The routed protocol is IP and routing
protocol used is OSPF.
The bandwidth allocation is the same as in the traditional
network (as discussed earlier).
This entire backend infrastructure was set up to support
key front and backend applications, which were expected
to deliver the benefits of a Converged Network Ecosystem.
1. Centralized Applications: SAP; CRM Application, Intranet.
2. Distributed Applications: Computer-based training,
e-mail, Internet access.
3. Voice and Video Applications: Voice over IP, video
conferencing and IP Telephony using Cisco Call Manager.
idea was to enable a New World network that would take
Convergence to every Wiproite's desktop. The network
had to not only improve external communications but
also make it possible to use smarter eLearning platforms.
While applications such as Unified Messaging would make
work management better, technologies such as Video-on-Demand
and Video Streaming would make every employee empowered
by his/her own training and development," says
This New World Network also consists of Cisco IP-based
PBX technology using Cisco Call Manager and Cisco IP
phones, and also incorporates Cisco Unity, an IP based
Unified Messaging Application. Wipro Technologies has
installed about 700 Cisco IP Phones.
In order to offer further productivity enhancement tools,
via video conferencing solutions, Wipro has implemented
IP-based video conferencing architecture using Cisco
IP MCU (Multi Conferencing Unit) and Cisco MCM (Multiconference
Manager). To integrate legacy ISDN video conferencing
systems, Wipro has provided the facility using Cisco
IPVC3520 (H.320 to H.323 gateway), thereby deploying
smarter e-learning platforms using Cisco's IPTV solutions.
Banerjee added, "Our New World network will be
the key to Wipro realizing its potential of being among
the Top 10 IT Service Providers in the world. This would
require us to be among the top 10 companies in the world
with best-of-breed IT infrastructure, and certainly
number one in India."
The project to roll out VoIP services was undertaken
based on an internal audit of the spending on PSTN voice
calls between Wipro offices. A detailed cost benefit
analysis was worked out, to clearly define the benefits
from moving to VoIP. Based on the usage pattern discerned,
the first phase of VoIP implementation was planned with
varying technology like FXS and toll bypass technology
in three months.
The next stage involved drawing out an exhaustive network
design and plan which would connect Wipro offices globally.
Says Banerjee, "It was in this phase that we first
implemented the IP telephony solutions, as well as tested
its interoperability with FXS and voice gateway solutions.
However, before that could be done, we had to go through
the entire process of designing the network topology,
estimating bandwidth sizing, predicting the number of
active trunk channels, analyzing infrastructure readiness
like voice cabling, space, mounting of PBX and finalizing
the actual configuration and testing of all equipment
to implement the network."
Since this implementation was the first of its kind
in India, it was a learning experience for both Wipro
and Cisco engineers. Among the key lessons learnt were:
Configuration size increases required on routers.
As soon as there is any new location brought into the
VoIP network, the network needs a configuration change
in all routers.
No tool to identify/monitor the quality of the voice
and check the effectiveness of QoS.
Accounting of VoIP usage, bandwidth utilization and
capacity planning is a concern area.
Initial delay of 25-30 seconds before the VoIP call
Says B. Ashok, Vice President, Cisco India, "Cisco
has tried to address each of the implementation issues.
The Cisco Gatekeeper seems to be the solution for the
huge configuration issue but it is a solution that needs
to be evaluated. On other fronts, the Cisco Voice Manager
is highly recommended as the solution for VoIP Usage
Accounting. However, this again needs to be customized
for India. QoS has been partially implemented across
the network we are confident that it will be manageable
once it is implemented across the enterprise."
The objective of Convergence@Wipro was to build not
only a single converged network to carry voice, video
and data traffic, but also one that would be scalable,
secure and reliable. The benefits of managing a single
converged network, instead of two or three, has already
started delivering sizeable cost and resource benefits.
Wipro now has an IP-based, scalable and future-proof
network. Such a network makes it possible to implement
next-generation services such as Unified Messaging and
IP-based contact centers within a relatively short time
span. Moreover, the efficient utilization of bandwidth
allows for easier network management since the solution
is end-to-end and dramatically reduces internal support
requirements. An IP-based network allows for enhanced
internal communications through delivery of eLearning
modules to employee desktops, better information sharing
between offices, effective training modules.
Brian Pereira can be reached at email@example.com