National service provider Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) has been at the forefront of driving its country's economy and supporting its digital transformation, making Sri Lanka well connected in today’s hyper-connected world.
In this interview, SLT senior engineer -- and also a speaker at NGON & DCI Europe 2018 -- Anuradha Udunuwara, spoke to KNect365's Logan Armendone-Mowbray for Broadband World News about how the service provider is revolutionizing Internet use in the country, its most recent tech developments, his top tips for better data center interconnect (DCI) capacity planning and data center best practices.
BBWN: How is Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) revolutionizing Internet use and enhancing the user experience in the country?
Anuradha Udunuwara: We use the latest technologies in all three media (i.e., fiber, copper and wireless) like GPON, ADSL2+, VDSL2, LTE TDD, LTE FDD and Carrier Grade WiFi to bring affordable and consistent broadband Internet and other digital experiences to our customers. SLT customers can take their broadband connection with them as we provide seamless access to high-speed WiFi access in many public locations in Sri Lanka. With FTTH download bandwidths as high as 100 Mbit/s and expanding, SLT customers' digital experience has been revolutionized as never before.
BBWN: Can you please tell us a bit more about the most recent developments?
AU: The Sri Lankan population is distributed in different geographical areas. Correctly understanding our responsibility for providing connectivity to all citizens irrespective of their geographical locations, SLT started combining multiple technologies and networks to both expand the footprint and bandwidth delivered. Customers can choose from multiple broadband packages to suit their needs and through an easy to access web portal they can manage and get access to many value-added services.
BBWN: When looking at DCI, is scalability really essential, and why?
AU: With today's skyrocketing data consumption, both DCI and DC are pressurized to cope with the demand and supply. DCI scalability and availability is really essential as the demand for storage is increased and the amount of data transfers between DCs is increased for day-today operations and as well as for growing disaster recovery and business continuity requirements. As telecom operators embrace softwarization (SDN, NFV and cloud), DCI scalability and reliability will become paramount. Concepts like the virtual central office, CDN and network virtualization with edge computing will result the number of DCs to go up and so the DCI requirements.
BBWN: What's has been done to meet scalability needs?
AU: As the only licensed National Backbone Network (NBN) provider in the country, SLT correctly and well in advance identified both data transport and storage requirements. The fully redundant SLT NBN with massive 8Tbit/s (and expandable) transport capacity acts as the superhighway for low latency and reliable data transfers between more than 60 major locations in 65,000 sq km footprint of Sri Lanka. Being the only operator of having five DCs in three different geographical locations, SLT has established a reliable DCI between all DCs.
BBWN: What's been done to expand Sri Lanka's broadband capacity?
AU: Together with our sister company Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel, we serve over 6 million customers in Sri Lanka. Being the only wireline service provider in the country SLT alone serves over 1 million households reaching millions of telephone, Internet and IPTV users. Altogether we touch the lives of more than half of Sri Lankan population everyday with quad-play services. We have adopted multiple ways to expand the broadband capacity in Sri Lanka. We have modernized our access network with NGN and have introduced FTTH and LTE early. These networks are now being expanded to the underserved areas. These expansions have been easy as we have established the NBN almost five years ago. As of now, we have over 25,000km of fiber deployed in our network. This is more than twice the total class A, B and E road distances in Sri Lanka. SLT is also the only operator in the country that is connected to five submarine cable networks -- SMW5, SMW4, SMW3, Bharath-Lanka and Dhiragu-SLT. These provide the reliable international connectivity including Internet peering. Today's total ISP capacity of nearly 100 Gbit/s is unmatched by any other operator in the country.
BBWN: What are your top tips for better DCI capacity planning?
AU: Although the traditional DCI capacity planning has relied mainly on the optical capacity, the future DCI capacity planning will be better done with collaborative work between optical networks and SDN. While the photonics layer provides the required bps scale, the virtualization layer (with SDN) provides the agility, flexibility and efficiency; supporting the dynamic DCI requirements of today and future.
BBWN: What are the top data center best practices?
AU: An operator must have a clear DC strategy and that needs to be linked to the overall company strategy. DCs need to be purpose-built and need to be open, simple and scalable. Getting certifications and maintaining them is also really important. The design concepts need to adopt Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) methodologies.
BBWN: How can data centers be used best and streamlined for operability?
AU: Traditional DC OAM best practices together with softwarization concepts will make the most efficient, flexible and agile DC operations. Visualizing the interconnected DCs as an innovation fabric, and making them open to third parties with required security and policies, operators can start monetizing the DCs really fast.
Meet with Anuradha Udunuwara at the NGON & DCI 2018, taking place in Nice, from June 26-28. Download this year's brochure to find out more about the event.
— Logan Armendone-Mowbray is content marketer at KNect365.