STL “Designing” the Future of MahaNet

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We discuss the following topics in this blog:

  1. Mahanet, a part of the overall BharatNet program.
  2. STL’s intense planning and futuristic vision.
  3. iCORE approach for network design.

In addition to these topics, we shall also be answering the following FAQs:

  1. What is WiFi?
  2. What is an Optical Fibre Cable?

How will Mahanet Bring About Digital Connectivity?

Mahanet, a part of the overall BharatNet program is an initiative to bring digital connectivity in the state of Maharashtra. STL is a design and implementation partner for a part of this mega-scale project in the Vidarbha region which has directly brought a digital inclusion to over 7.5 million citizens.

STL, taking on the “design challenge” head on, has delivered a comprehensive network design at 2X the industry speed, a massive feat for a project of this scale. Here is how STL has changed the DNA of the project using its #SignatureSTL iCORE approach for network design.

How STL Implemented a Step-Wise Approach to Tackle the Problem?

A project of this magnitude is only possible with intense planning and futuristic vision. STL’s team did tremendous groundwork before executing the project.

  • Pre-cursor to planning: Even before the planning stage, STL undertook a comprehensive desktop design process using GIS mapping to gain critical insights about project complexities.
  • Scenario-based planning: A complex project is not just about an intelligent design but also about cost and consensus. STL, with its meticulous scenario-based planning thoroughly evaluated all permutations and combinations to arrive at a design solution which is true to the ask, capex optimised and mutually agreeable.
  • The iCORE formula: STL’s indigenous iCORE approach, solved many challenges with its:
    • Integrated: Taking the integrated route, we synergised the planning across all three layers – physical, logical and application. This helped in minimising design gaps between layers and increasing agility with minimum cost.
    • Converged planning: For the long-term sustainability of BharatNet project, understanding various trade-offs is essential. STL took a converged view of the requirements and delivered an appropriately converged design.
    • One backbone: BharatNet envisages a digital highway which is capable of democratising advanced data use cases like e-tutoring, AR/VR based skill enhancement, haptic trainings, telemedicine and many more. Hence, BharatNet network should be capable of supporting all kinds of traffic. With focused problem solving and by working around topology constraints, STL conceptualised ‘one backbone’ for a common block to build in scalability and agility.

FAQs

What is WiFi?

Put simply, WiFi is a technology that uses radio waves to create a wireless network through which devices like mobile phones, computers, printers, etc., connect to the internet. A wireless router is needed to establish a WiFi hotspot that people in its vicinity may use to access internet services. You’re sure to have encountered such a WiFi hotspot in houses, offices, restaurants, etc.

To get a little more technical, WiFi works by enabling a Wireless Local Area Network or WLAN that allows devices connected to it to exchange signals with the internet via a router. The frequencies of these signals are either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidths. These frequencies are much higher than those transmitted to or by radios, mobile phones, and televisions since WiFi signals need to carry significantly higher amounts of data. The networking standards are variants of 802.11, of which there are several (802.11a, 802.11b, 801.11g, etc.).

What is an Optical Fibre Cable?

An optical fibre cable is a cable type that has a few to hundreds of optical fibres bundled together within a protective plastic coating. They help carry digital data in the form of light pulses across large distances at faster speeds. For this, they need to be installed or deployed either underground or aerially. Standalone fibres cannot be buried or hanged so fibres are bunched together as cables for the transmission of data.

This is done to protect the fibre from stress, moisture, temperature changes and other externalities. There are three main components of a optical fibre cable, core (It carries the light and is made of pure silicon dioxide (SiO2) with dopants such as germania, phosphorous pentoxide, or alumina to raise the refractive index; Typical glass cores range from as small as 3.7um up to 200um), Cladding (Cladding surrounds the core and has a lower refractive index than the core, it is also made from the same material as the core; 1% refractive index difference is maintained between the core and cladding; Two commonly used diameters are 125µm and 140µm) and Coating (Protective layer that absorbs shocks, physical damage and moisture; The outside diameter of the coating is typically either 250µm or 500µm; Commonly used material for coatings are acrylate,Silicone, carbon, and polyimide).

An optical fibre cable is made up of the following components: Optical fibres – ranging from one to many. Buffer tubes (with different settings), for protection and cushioning of the fibre. Water protection in the tubes – wet or dry. A central strength member (CSM) is the backbone of all cables. Armoured tapes for stranding to bunch the buffer tubes and strength members together. Sheathing or final covering to provide further protection.

The five main reasons that make this technology innovation disruptive are fast communication speed, infinite bandwidth & capacity, low interference, high tensile strength and secure communication. The major usescases of optical fibre cables include intenet connectivity, computer networking, surgery & dentistry, automotive industry, telephony, lighting & decorations, mechanical inspections, cable television, military applications and space.

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