While enterprise-wide applications
help you deliver better products and services to customers,
it's connectivity that ties it all together and makes
between different office locations or to the Webforms
the backbone for any enterprise-wide application.
That's the reason why enterprises
are serious about Bandwidth/ connectivity (B&C)
options. In the last one year, 68 percent have invested
in some kind of B&C solution. Most of these investors
(80 percent) are large companiesthis is an indication
that large companies are either extending their WANs
to more locations, or have upgraded existing WANs to
build redundant connectivity.
Bandwidth requirements are growing. 70 percent of the
respondents said their bandwidth requirements are likely
to increase this year, and this requirement comes mainly
from the large and medium-sized companies. 38 percent
said their bandwidth requirements increase by a factor
of 1x to 2x every year.
However, compared to last year,
overall investment in B&C is likely to decrease
in 2003-04. The only exception to this is the Auto/Auto
components verticalmany companies in this vertical
will spend more on B&C this year, compared to last
year. Automobile manufacturing companies will require
reliable connectivity as they move to streamline their
What are the factors driving increase in bandwidth?
According to CIOs, the most important factor driving
increase in bandwidth is enterprise-wide applications
like ERP, CRM, and collaboration tools.
Centralizing IT infrastructure
is also contributing to an increase in bandwidth requirement.
Consolidation of servers, storage, and databases has
resulted in increased use of shared resources.
Intranets and convergence of
voice and data networks is another reason for the increased
demand in bandwidth. For practical purposes we have
divided B&C into two areas: Net connectivity and
Inter-office connectivity (or LAN/WAN/Campus connectivity).
Let's look at investments in Net connectivity first.
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to the Net
Dial-up, leased line and ISDN are the primary means
of connectivity for Internet access in enterprises.
75 percent of the respondents use dial-up, 62 percent
use leased line and 59 percent use ISDN. The other means
of Net connectivity are DSL, cable, and satellite. While
cable is more suited for home use, DSL as a technology
has never grown popular in India. Satellite connectivity
for Net access is another area that is yet to pick up
in enterprises as the cost is perceived to be high (just
a quarter of the respondents use this medium).
In many cases, enterprises
are using the dial-up option as a backup link or for
those who want to connect to the Internet periodically.
ISDN offers always-on connectivity
and is usually used as a backup for the leased line
or for branch offices where the volume of data transacted
over the Net is low. A single ISDN channel (64 Kbps)
can be shared between 30 users. This number can be doubled
by going in for an additional channel. ISDN can also
be used for video conferencing and voice calls.
Leased lines offer always-on
connectivity and fixed bandwidth. It is ideal for organizations
that want to set up a VPN, or those that need to upload
or download frequently. That's why most respondents
(39 percent) are planning to invest in leased lines
for Net access this year. Most of these companies are
from the BFSI and Telecom/IT/ITES verticals. This year
enterprises will also invest in leased lines (39 percent)
and ISDN (27 percent).
There are a number of choices available for LAN/WAN/Campus
connectivity. The medium chosen depends on the distance
between two points of connection, the status of telecom
infrastructure in the region and the application.
Leased lines are the most popular
medium for WAN connectivity. 44 percent of the respondents
are using leased lines for point-to-point links. This
year, 27 percent of the respondents will invest in leased
Demand for leased lines comes
mainly from the BFSI vertical. Banks are increasingly
using leased lines (and VSATs) to interconnect branches
Leased lines may not be economical
in some instances. For connecting shorter distances
(line-of sight connectivity) companies are using RF
links. Some companies are also using RF Links for redundancy
within a campusif the main link goes down, they
can still ensure that their network is up and running.
11 percent plan to go in for RF Links this year.
VSATs are the second choice
for WAN connectivity and 30 percent of respondents said
they have invested in VSATs. This medium is ideal for
connecting offices in remote locations, where telecom
infrastructure is scarce. VSATs are also favored for
their reliability. Businesses that extend operations
to B- and C-class cities or rural areas will go in for
VSATs. Banks may also choose VSATs for connecting ATMs.
The other verticals using VSATs are FMCG (with factories
in rural areas) and also the chemical and pharma companies.
When going in for VSATs it is advisable to stick with
a single service provider as different standards or
equipment may not be interoperable.
Virtual Private Networks or
VPN is a more economical method of connecting remote
offices. 28 percent of the respondents chose VPN, a
means of interconnecting remote branches and offices
via public networks like the Internet. VPN is certainly
cheaper than using leased lines and VSATs for point-to-point
connectivity, and it doesn't compromise on security.
In case of Telecom/ IT/ITES and FMCG, a high number
of companies said they invested in VPN.
to catch up
There is a lot of hype
built around Wi-Fi (also called WLANs). The IEEE 802.11
standard (as it is technically known) can extend the
existing LAN by providing wireless interconnections
within the same office, same building or between two
However, unlike in other parts
of the world, WLAN has yet to catch on in India. Just
9 percent of the respondents use WLAN and only 10 percent
plan to do so this year. WLAN equipment is costly and
licensing rules (for campus connectivity) are stringent.
However, with deregulation of the 2.4 GHz spectrum for
outdoor use, we can expect 802.11 WLAN to catch on soon.
Also, there are issues with WLAN security, multiple
standards and costs.
Another area to consider is
Gigabit Ethernet (1000 Mbps). This connectivity is ideal
for the enterprise backbone. Because of the bandwidth
it offers, Gigabit Ethernet can be used for bandwidth
intensive applications like video streaming or CAD/CAM
in workgroups. Currently only 10 percent companies have
Gigabit Ethernet and just 6 percent plan to go in for
Gigabit Ethernet in 2003-04.
- Enterprise applications (like ERP, SCM, messaging,
collaboration) and intranets are driving the
need for more bandwidth/connectivity solutions.
- 70 percent of respondents said their bandwidth
requirements are likely to increase this year,
and this requirement comes mainly from the large
and medium-sized companies.
- 38 percent of respondents said their bandwidth
requirements increase by a factor of 1x or 2x
- Compared to last year, overall investment
in bandwidth/connectivity will decrease this
year. The only exception to this is the Auto/Auto
components verticalcompanies in this vertical
will spend more on bandwidth/connectivity this
year, compared to last year.
- Dial-up, leased line and ISDN are the primary
means of connectivity for Internet access in
- Leased lines are the most popular medium
for WAN connectivity. 44 percent of the respondents
are using leased lines for point-to-point links.
This year 27 percent of the respondents will
invest in leased lines.
- VSATs are the second choice for WAN connectivity
and 30 percent of respondents said they have
invested in VSATs.
- WLAN has yet to catch on in India. Just 9
percent of the respondents use WLAN and only
10 percent plan to do so this year.
- Consider ISDN for Net access. It also offers
the advantage of simultaneous voice calls and
it can be used for video conferencing too.
- Leased lines may not be economical in some
instances. For point-of-sight connectivity consider
other options like RF links or WLAN.
- Leased lines are not 100 percent reliable
and you must have backup links like ISDN or
- When going in for VSATs it is advisable to
stick with a single service provider as different
standards are not interoperable.
- VPNs are a cost-effective means of connecting
remote sites. Since VPNs use public networks,
you should consider the Quality of Service factor.
- Use WLAN for campus connectivity. For WLAN,
consider your bandwidth requirement and check
if a particular WLAN standard can address it.
- Also buy equipment that is compatible
with other WLAN standards (like 802.11a).
- Consider Gigabit Ethernet for converged networks.
This medium is ideal for bandwidth intensive
applications like streaming or CAD/CAM in workgroups.
- Don't unnecessarily buy more bandwidth every
year. First monitor network traffic and bandwidth
usage and take into account the following:
- Bandwidth prioritization for applications
- Perform bandwidth intensive tasks like
backup and FTP after office hours.
- Look for bottlenecks and resolve these.
- Insist on better bandwidth from service
providers, backed by SLAs.
Royal Meridien (LRM) offers its patrons anytime-anywhere
Internet access as a value-added service on the
hotel premises through its WLAN network/connectivity.
The hotel uses Cisco
access points for the private area network. A
guest is given a PCMCIA card for the laptop that
gives access to the WLAN.
at the hotel
LRM initially had CAT 5 cabling in every room
and needed to extend the connectivity to the pool,
bar and lobby area. The wired connections were
limited to the business center, guestrooms, and
Systems Manager, Le Royal Meridien Mumbai says,
"Installing wall sockets taints the interiors
and there are too many wires creating a jumble.
Besides the guests are tied down to one place
and have no mobility. This left us with the only
After evaluating various WLAN vendors, the hotel
settled for Cisco solutions. LRM engaged the services
of Air & Wireless for design and implementation
specifications. The access points from Cisco are
installed in strategic locations within the premises.
The access points are wired to the proxy server
at the backend. The proxy server is connected
to a leased line modem through a firewall. The
modem in turn is attached to the backbone switch.
The access points are mounted on poles, which
are placed at strategic locations in the hotel
where the signal reception is strongest. These
access points have two 6 db antennas for wider
conferences are no longer limited to the rooms
and business center. A more casual environment
is available for interaction as guests can access
the Internet anywhere in the hotel," says
The hotel will allow the guestas they enter
the premisesthe flexibility to access his/her
registration details online through notebook or
PDA. "The guest will be able to check-in
online and not go through the time consuming manual
procedure," explained Pradeep.
Army War College (AWC)
at Mhow, Madhya Pradesha training institute
of the Indian Army uses an LRE (Long Range Ethernet)
broadband solution at its campus to enable training
applications on the network.
The college has a
thin client standalone network to provide classified
material to authorized personnel in controlled
and secure environments. It has also implemented
a converged voice, video and data solution to
provide Internet access and training applications
to over 300 users.
The college wanted to provide the best real-time
training modules to its students to prepare them
for future wars and war exercises. It realized
the need to enhance and optimize training utilizing
the potential of IT and related tools.
Col S.P. Kochhar VSM (Sigs and IT), Army War College,
Mhow says, "The very first step to address
this need was to network the campus."
It opted for Cisco's
LRE broadband solution to extend its reach on
the campus. "One reason for selecting LRE
was the simplicity of the CPE (customer premise
equipment) coupled with the bandwidth delivered,
and manageability features."
The LRE broadband solution extends the reach for
traditional Ethernet from 100 meters over normal
(copper) lines to up to 1500 meters.
The college can now
provide adequate bandwidth and converged voice
and data services to students and instructors
on a 24x7 basis.
The campus has WAN
connectivity with services like e-books, OLAP,
LDAP based smart card systems, server farm, IP-based
video conferencing, learning labs and host of
is justifiably proud of using the latest and relevant
peripherals that aid in training. The benefits
are already visible and the college intends to
continue to grow its IT infrastructure,"
says Col Kochhar.