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Issue of July 2004 

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Bharti Data & Broadband Group

Providing the vital links

In any growing business it's essential the offices and locations are connected all the time in order to share vital business information. The Bharti Data & Broadband group provides connectivity solutions for enterprises. Here's a look at the offerings. by Rahul Neel Mani

In any organization, from a mid-sized business to a large enterprise, everyday work can be interrupted and come to a grinding halt if its offices are not connected. Nationwide connectivity is now a necessity for all businesses.

The Bharti Data & Broadband group provides end-to-end solutions to meet the enterprise's needs. The company uses its own carrier class infrastructure, which includes 24,000 kilometers of National Long Distance (NLD) fiber backbone, and the world's largest submarine cable between Singapore and Chennai. The company claims to have more than 800 user companies hooked to its network for both completely outsourced network solutions and point solutions. It has clientele from industry verticals like BFSI, IT, telecom, ITES and BPO, manufacturing, services, and PSUs.

Points of presence

Based in New Delhi, Bharti has points of presence across the country thus ensuring connectivity and data solutions anywhere. Pure Broadband service is just 35 percent of the company's business. The remaining consists of intensive data services, uniquely customized for the users based on a need-based analysis.

Services Offered

  • IP/MPLS Based Managed Connectivity Service (e.g. MPLS VPNs)
  • Enterprise Connect - Point to Point connectivity
  • Continu-Connect - ATM connectivity
  • Flexi Connect - Frame Relay services
  • GSM Call - GSM based Call Center Solutions
  • International Connect - IPLC connectivity
  • GSM based IP-VPN solutions

Apart from the above, the company offers traditional TDM-based voice network solutions and pure satellite connectivity (VSATs).

IP/MPLS network offerings

As data, video, and voice networks are converging on one platform, the need for Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) is a natural progression to aggregate different platforms and services on one platform. IP/MPLS brings the best of Layer 2 and Layer 3 services thus addressing all the limitations encountered in traditional VPN services.

Initially the services offered through this network will be:

  • Managed MPLS VPN (including CPE router)
  • Remote access to MPLS VPN
  • Integrated Internet access from MPLS VPN
  • Bandwidth on demand and multicast application for video services like streaming broadcast. Bharti offers this service using STM4/STM1 bandwidth.

The company claims that with the help of MPLS-based services, users can bring down their cost by 35 percent, compared to a traditional TDM or ATM-based network. The company offers a service guarantees for prioritization of the services like data, video and voice.

Bharti has invested around Rs 15 crore to build its MPLS network. This network will be suitable for companies that have a large number of locations, and that require low bandwidth for running applications.

Enterprise Connect: Point to Point connectivity

Bharti provides terrestrial data circuits (leased or private lines) for clear-channel point to point/multipoint connectivity that allows businesses to establish high-speed, dedicated point-to-point connectivity.

The ATM switching and SDH Transmission infrastructure provide transparent data transport for seamless integration of multiple technologies.

"Our multiple ring architecture configured on our optical fiber backbone, which is spread over 23,000 Km, and covers over 200 cities, gives users an advantage in terms of covering almost all geographies," says Rajiv Sharma, CEO, Bharti Infotel, Broadband and Data Group. "Instead of the customer coming to us, we reach out to the customers, talk to the CIOs and business heads, understand their business needs, and then provide solutions. This eliminates the need for a separate vendor for bandwidth, system integration, and network management," mentions Sharma.

Continu Connect - ATM Connectivity

This initiative helps customers maximize the value of their network investments. ATM, a cell-switching and multiplexing technology, combines the benefits of circuit switching (guaranteed capacity and constant transmission delay) with those of packet switching flexibility and efficiency for intermittent traffic).

Through this, organizations can have the facility of scalable bandwidth. Organizations can also attain higher speeds, to explicitly control network QoS and use network resources more efficiently. Bharti's ATM network is deployed on Alcatel's 7470 Multi Service Platform switch to offer a superior level of managed network services.

It uses interfaces in speeds of STM4, STM1, DS3, and E1. This ATM network is currently offered in 10 cities across India including Delhi, Chandigarh, Bhopal, Jaipur, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, and Kolkata. By riding on Bharti's ATM network, customers can have distinct QoS for multimedia, Layer 2 redundancy, and a world-class 5620 network management system.

Flexi-Connect - Frame Relay Connectivity

Bharti has a widespread Frame Relay (FR) network that spans a large number of cities. The company provides a secure network that is managed from the Network Operation Center (NOC) for proactive traffic re-routing and network congestion management.

The local lop is created via leased line connectivity. MSP transports the FR packets over logical connections known as PVCs in the FR cloud to the remote end FR device. Users can easily execute applications like span database replication, centralized backup and storage, video conferencing and document sharing, real time FTP, delivering mails with heavy attachments, and heavy file transfer by using the Bharti Flexi-Connect.

GSM-based call center

Since competition in the Indian market has intensified, the discerning customers have become integral, placing all sorts of demands on the manufacturers of goods or service providers. Keeping this in mind, Bharti has launched a concept it claims is unlike the conventional call centers.

This in-bound call center integrated solution has been made possible by leveraging Airtel's GSM network in almost 17 circles in the country. Users only have to invest in the standard LAN, agent PCs, handsets, and the required software. Bharti takes complete ownership to pick and carry call from the originating location to the central location.

An E1/R2 port from Airtel's MSC will be provisioned in each circle. A unique 98xxx xyyyy series number will be provided, where the last four digits are unique and constant. All incoming calls will be routed via the E1/R2 ports to the central location at the centralized call center using a leased line. Central location calls will be directly terminated at the call center's EPABX. Bharti provides a unique GSM number in all the circles where these calls are picked up.

IPLC Connectivity

Bharti can be regarded as the first private telecom service provider in India, and it has also deployed i2i, India's first private submarine cable. The submarine cable terminates in the respective landing stations in Chennai and Singapore. Bharti manages the landing station in India and its partner company Singtel manages the Singapore end.

In India Bharti provides a single window account management to the customers and service providers. The i2i submarine cable has eight fiber pairs to enable eight DWDM links. DWDM technology supports 105 wavelengths over a pair of fiber. Each supports a data stream of STM 64 or 10Gbps.

In all, these eight fiber pairs can support 8.4 Tbps of bandwidth. Customers can have additional gateways to the rest of the world, end-to-end management and an integrated solutions approach for telecom requirements.

Hybrid Solutions

Besides all this there are solutions for those who need hybrid solutions. For example, a customer may need TDM circuits in five locations, FR circuits in two locations, a VSAT in one location, connected in a mesh topology, and Bharti is capable of providing all these services.

"We also use Airtel's mobile network to create unique customized solutions. This network is used for services like GSM-based call center solutions and GSM-based IP-VPNs," says Sharma.

In a manufacturing and distribution company, the requirement is for low bandwidth (usually 6-7 Kbps) but large-scale connectivity. Bharti provides a GSM handset to the people in those locations, which is connected to the Airtel switch. The handset has a RS232 port to connect to a computer. This solution is called a data switch circuit. The entire data is secure and travels on the GSM network.

Service Providers' Facilities

The company has a centralized NOC at Okhla, New Delhi, working 24x7x365. The entire back haul of any customer is connected to the NOC. If a customer's isn't using the last mile from Bharti, then there is a separate NOC at Bharti Broadband Network Ltd. (BBNL), connected to the central NOC.

This NOC is serviced by a very efficient and trained Help Desk facility. It has the facility of proactive monitoring of all the nationwide links.

"If there is any disruption of service, we immediately restore it by using an alternative path, and we dispatch a technical team to rectify the problem," says Sharma.

For the data business, Bharti has a Pan-India network. This is a judicious mix of people working for Bharti and the second tier of service providers. Bharti Authorised Service Providers are present in the smaller locations.

If a customer faces any problem, there is a system of forwarded metrics for troubleshooting. If the Help Desk is not able to solve a problem, it is escalated to the Regional Manager. If the problem persists, it is escalated to the VP Services, and beyond that the CEO.

Benefits to Customers

"The customer does not need to create his own infrastructure and invite problems for her/himself. We offer the full range of solutions when it comes to connectivity and networking," says Sharma.

The company provides IPLC and Internet services to the enterprises. Enterprises are provided Internet access through ISDN, and Broadband through Skymantra. And there is a broad range of hosting and corporate mailing solutions and a premier audio conferencing service called IndiaOne MeetXpress.

"At the end of the day, we can ensure 100 percent flexibility and unlimited scalability for the enterprise IT infrastructure. We don't sell what we have. We sell what the customers need," says Sharma.

Rahul Neel Mani can be reached at


The Bharti Data & Broadband group

Services Offered

  • IP/MPLS Based Managed Connectivity Service (e.g. MPLS VPNs)
  • Enterprise Connect - Point to Point connectivity
  • Continu-Connect - ATM connectivity
  • Flexi Connect - Frame Relay services
  • GSM Call - GSM based Call Center Solutions
  • International Connect - IPLC connectivity
  • GSM based IP-VPN solutions
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