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Optical transport demand to soar 2022-23 – Ciena India head

The demand for latest-generation optical transport networks is likely to skyrocket in 2022 and 2023, believes Ryan Perera, Ciena's India head.

Apart from the impending launch of 5G, the growing data center ecosystem and activities in the submarine space will result in an exponential growth in the optical transport segment in the country.

"India only has two landing stations right now, one in Chennai and another one in Mumbai," said Perera.

Linked in: The growing data center ecosystem and marine networks mean exponential growth in India's optical transport segment, says Ciena's Ryan Perera.   (Source: the lightwriter/Alamy Stock Photo)
Linked in: The growing data center ecosystem and marine networks mean exponential growth in India's optical transport segment, says Ciena's Ryan Perera.
(Source: the lightwriter/Alamy Stock Photo)

"A couple of very large networks are getting commissioned into those two locations by early to mid-2023. It is estimated that somewhere around 72Tb of new capacity will enter through these networks. These are unprecedented levels of capacity that will enter the country both from the east and the west side."

This will lead to growth in demand for optical networks.

Data driven

The second reason is India's growing data center ecosystem. Data localization requirements coupled with increasing consumption have led to a growing data center network.

Most of the players are investing in expansion. For instance, in 2021, Google opened a center in Delhi's National Capital Region after opening one in Mumbai in 2017.

Microsoft recently announced plans to acquire land in Hyderabad to set up new data centers. In addition, Nxtra by Airtel is planning to invest INR50 billion ($654 million) by 2025 to scale its network of large and edge data centers.


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The latest report by JLL says India's data center capacities are doubling from around 499 MW in 2021 to over 1008 MW by 2023. In addition, the government recently announced it would award infrastructure status to data centers, which will make it easier to access long-term institutional funds.

"This will, of course, drive [demand for] metro level DCI transport activity and also NLD [National Long Distance] like data center interconnectivity," said Perera.

Other priorities

Meanwhile service providers are investing in preparing networks for the upcoming 5G launch.

"We've seen major investments happening in NLD, metro and regional networks," said Perera.

On top of this, operators could not expand in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID-19 restrictions.

"The operators made vendor selections but could not roll out. We will see the real implementation happen this year and in the coming year," added Perera.


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The company claims to be the biggest beneficiary of the Indian government blocking Chinese vendors from operating in the country.

Chinese vendors were prevented from participating in 5G trials and have yet to be award trusted source approval.

"We entered Vodafone Idea only in 2021, but [at] others [Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio] we already had incumbency, and we increased our share because of the ban India put on the Chinese vendors," says Perera.

India is one of the largest optical transport markets in the world. Ciena competes with Nokia, Tejas Networks, Juniper and ECI, among others here.

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— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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