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Issue of November 2002 
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Case Study: Bharti’s Metro Optical Network
Meeting bandwidth needs

Bharti Telenet wanted to upgrade its fixed line network in order to provide additional services. It went in for Nortel's Metro solutions to boost network capacity. by Minu Sirsalewala

Bharti Telenet needs no introduction. With brands like 'Airtel' and 'Magic' in the cellular space, Bharti has been one of the most prominent companies in telecom with interests in cellular, fixed line, and Internet access. It has over 2,673,000 customers—nearly 2,293,700 mobile, 261,000 fixed line and 119,000 Internet customers

In a nutshell

The Company
Bharti Telenet Limited offers a range of cellular, fixed line and Internet services in India. The company has over 2,673,000 customers across the country. In addition to providing regular fixed line services, the company also offers nationwide broadband and long distance networks.
The Need
The company wanted to upgrade its TouchTel fixed line network in order to provide additional services and facilitate faster time-to-market.
The Solution
Bharti went for Nortel Networks' OPTera Metro 4000 series of solutions and its Preside range of Network Management Solutions.
The Benefits
Bharti has a new multi-service backbone network that provides high scalability and enables the company to provide a wide range of services to its subscribers. Now, the company can deploy new services in the shortest time possible.

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The company's strategic objective for its fixed line business is to have a strong presence in data-centric circles (telecom areas) with a particular focus on high-density business and industrial districts. This encouraged Bharti to set up a high-capacity voice and data network that would support high data transfers efficiently and effectively.

"We wanted to get the first mover advantage as far as the private operators are concerned in these circles. There is a lot of potential in the data and voice service market in the Delhi and Haryana circles due to high degree of industrialization. Therefore as a part of our strategy we decided to build a high-capacity voice and data network in these circles," said Rohtash Mal, CEO, Bharti Telenet, New Delhi.

"Apart from building a high capacity network one of the prime concerns was to have an efficient network management system in place so as to have quick activation of the network, provide network assurance with fault diagnosis capabilities, revenue retention and enhancement, and operational cost savings."

The earlier backbone
Prior to implementation of the new network, Bharti had a smaller backbone infrastructure for its TouchTel fixed line network in New Delhi that provided basic telecom services. However, the network was restrictive; it was not possible to roll out additional services on the same network due to limited capacity. This made it necessary to upgrade the existing network to handle additional capacity. The answer was to migrate to an Optical Ethernet solution.

A new spine
After evaluating various options from available technology and products, Bharti Telenet chose to deploy Nortel Networks OPTera Metro 4000 series of solutions and its Preside range of Network Management Solutions. "We selected Nortel Networks because of its proven technological leadership in the optical transmission equipment space and experience in setting up optical networks", said Rohtash Mal.

The hardware solution
The Nortel Networks hardware solutions met several important criteria for Bharti's network requirements and allowed high capacity provisioning. The company deployed OPTera Metro 4000 hardware. It is an STM-4 (622 Mbps) and STM-16 (2.5 Gbps) full access high port density multiplexer which can be configured as a terminal multiplexer, an add drop multiplexer, a small cross connect, and as a regenerator. It also has Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) capabilities and has seamless interoperability with the OPTera Metro 5000 Optical services platform. This ensures flexibility and a scalable evolution path to increase capacity as further wavelengths are added. Therefore, it meets Bharti's requirements of provisioning high capacity into the network and scale up as the demand increases.

OPTera Metro 4000 harnesses the power of SDH/SONET and Ethernet technology to extend the value of optical networks, and positions service providers to offer innovative and profitable voice, multimedia and data services.

Enabling multi-service
The solution helped Bharti provide a variety of services and a wide range of interfaces for various types of bandwidth requirements. It can offer interfaces up to 252 E1s or 16 STM-1 optical tributary port per shelf, 2 Mbps tributaries, 140/155 Mbps tributaries, full access to 10/100 BaseT interfaces with Nortel Networks Packet edge.

This allows Bharti to cater to multiple customer requirements. Using this solution Bharti will be able to provide data services like IP VPN, Internet Access, Transparent LAN, and Closed User Group facilities to their customers.

Lower costs
The compact design of OPTera metro series is similar to conventional STM-1 multiplexers but it has 4 or 16 times the tributary, aggregate and switch capacity. The compact size makes it suitable for deployment on customer premises and in street cabinets as well as in central offices. “This helps us in terms of reduced operating costs, as the number of spare unit is reduced up to a factor of 4.” The simple architecture and the reduced number of spare units allows field staff to quickly familiarize with the equipment. This helps reduce the amount of staff training time by up to 40 percent.

Faster time-to-market
Bharti Telnet has deployed Nortel Networks' Preside Network Management solution to facilitate faster time-to-market. It provides remote access to each OPTera Metro 4000 series from a management center, and allows fault and performance monitoring and configuration. It also minimizes service downtime and maximizes utilization of network resources.

The challenge
"We did not face any technical problems with the deployment of the OPTera series. The only challenge Bharti had was to build an entire network in stringent time frames and provide it with the first-mover advantage as a private operator in the Delhi and Haryana circles."

"Clearly the comprehensive nature of the solutions provided to us by Nortel gives us the added advantage of having a faster time-to-market network which translates into cost effectiveness. The condensed footprint of the solutions is cost effective and the benefits of this can subsequently be passed on to the customer," says Rohtash Mal.

Operating in a data centric region the Nortel Networks solutions provided Bharti the required edge to provide high quality data and voice traffic to their customers. The faster time-to-market nature of these solutions gave Bharti an edge over other private operators by giving it the first mover advantage.

Minu Sirsalewala can be reached at

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