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Issue of July 2003 
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Vendor Voice: MPLS VPN Connectivity Services

Building stronger connections

A look at the unique features of BSNL's VPN connectivity services. by Vinod Chandran

BSNL today is in a unique position to offer VPN connectivity over a dedicated, fully optical long distance network—with automatic re-routing capability at multiple levels. A service over a dedicated and robust network is a strong differentiator for BSNL in the Data Networking area. The high penetration of BSNL's OFC optical network makes it possible to extend highly reliable connectivity for interconnecting various branches, with wide geographical spread within the country.

Within the MPLS-VPN network of BSNL, the gigabit routers are interconnected over a fully optical fiber back-bone through self-healing SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) rings. For instance, an STM-1 link between Chennai and Mumbai is carried over multiple SDH rings connecting Chennai-Bangalore, Bangalore-Hyderabad, Hyderabad-Nagpur, Nagpur-Mumbai. Each of these rings has self-healing capability. In case there's a cable cut in one section, the traffic is re-routed automatically via the other arm of the ring. There is ample bandwidth in the core network that can be upgraded anytime, depending on the traffic. This is made possible through DWDM (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing) systems that have been deployed across the country.

BSNL has vast experience in the field of data networks. Included in its bouquet of data networks are I-Net and Internet services. Since BSNL is the largest communications service provider in the country, it's a one-stop solution for an organization's data communication requirements.

A private IP addressing scheme is followed in the network, which makes it absolutely secure. Moreover, users are also free to use their own private IP addressing even with overlapping addresses.

Last Mile Connectivity
LMC is being provided by BSNL using latest technologies such as MLLN (Managed Leased Line Network), to improve reliability. Since this is the most vulnerable operation of the network, wireless solutions using free space optics and local to multi-point distribution systems using microwave links, are also likely to be deployed.

Network features
The core routers are installed in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Ernakulam, Hyderabad, Kolkotta, Ahmedbad, Pune and Lucknow. The services can be availed at these locations and also at other locations across the country, by connecting to these nodes through physical leased lines. This network enables users to set up a highly secure private network with data rings ranging from 64 gigabits per second to 155 megabits per second, as per requirement.

Security enhancement using encryption and firewall protection, including IP SEC tunneled VPNs, can be supported in this network. The network has a centralized monitoring system called the network operating center (NOC) through which the health of the network is monitored round the clock. Pre-emptive action can be taken to avert any degradation in performance of the network. BSNL can offer its customers managed network services—a concept that allows the service provider to remotely manage a customer's network.

Service Level Agreements
This technology also makes it possible to offer Service Level Agreements or SLAs. Parameters such as latency, throughput and jitter pertaining to the individual customers, is published on a website. This enables customers to assess network performance with respect to assured standards.

The tariff is based on the class of service. The class of service includes Gold, Silver, Best effort, with peak hour minimum assured bit rate on full load as 99 percent, 50 percent and 25 percent respectively. The tariff structure helps in reduction of annual operation costs almost by half compared to networks fully based on physical leased lines.

The writer is DGM, BSNL

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