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Ciena's photonics almost triple fibre capacity for Airtel's 5G roll-out


India's second biggest operator, Bharti Airtel, says it has implemented one of the world’s newest photonic infrastructure designs from Ciena.

 Airtel is rolling out 600G and 800G in India’s largest metros – Delhi (pictured), Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata – to fast-track 5G and support high-growth cloud applications while lowering the cost per bit.

To improve resilience and service availability in cities where fibre cuts are common, Airtel has implemented a self-optimising network design using a C&L-band infrastructure with Layer 0 control plane with Ciena’s 6500 Reconfigurable Line System (RLS).

Low loss tech

Fibre suffers the lowest loss in Conventional or C-band, which ranges from 1530nm to 1565nm, and is also effective for long-distance transmission systems. C-band is used in many metropolitan areas combined with WDM.

Long-wavelength or L band runs at 1565-1625nm and is the second lowest-loss wavelength band, often used to supplement C-band capacity.

The idea is to provide faster deployment of "exceptional services" to webscale, large enterprise, government and SMEs through a network that is high capacity, resilient, and adaptive.

Airtel can also proactively localise, troubleshoot, and rapidly repair fibre fault conditions with Ciena’s Liquid Spectrum PinPoint OTDR software analytics.

To maximise network efficiency and enable fast turn up of new high-bandwidth services, Airtel has deployed WaveLogic 5 Extreme coherent optics along with manage, control and plan (MCP) domain controller.

First in India

Randeep Sekhon, CTO of Bharti Airtel (see this recent interview with Randeep) said, “Airtel was the country’s first telco to demonstrate live 5G service over a commercial network. As we work to deploy 5G more widely, Ciena plays an integral role in providing an agile network foundation to satisfy our customers’ dynamic requirements.”

Ryan Perera, Vice President and General Manager of Ciena India said, “The future of data consumption across India is at the edge – in homes, trains, hospitals, automobiles, factories and many other mission-critical environments. By investing in its metro network with Ciena’s industry-leading technology, Airtel is ideally positioned to support the booming digital economy.”