We discuss the following topics in this blog:
- Importance of Digital Supremacy for the Navy
- Why Upgrading Defence Systems is the Need of the Hour?
- STL strategising Project Varun’s battleplan
In addition to these topics, we shall also be answering the following FAQs:
- What is an Optical Fibre Cable?
- What is WiFi?
Infinitely important! Just ask the Indian Navy – the 7th largest in the entire world.
Today, they might stand tall as India’s maritime guardians, but even on the digital front, they haven’t let their guard down. Equipped with a next-gen integrated digital communications network with 1500 network sites for ubiquitous connectivity, 44 network locations and 40 secure data centres with custom enterprises application solutions, the Indian Navy has created a formidable digital fortress to protect the interests of the nation.
This new defence network was born out of STL network modernisation solutions in partnership with a leading national telecom operator. We proudly call it Project Varun – a timely response to iron out the vulnerabilities of critical communications in the Navy and open the frontier to new-age defence applications, smart weapons systems, real-time situational awareness and faster decision-making.
Why Upgrading Defence Systems is the Need of the Hour?
It’s no surprise to see global superpowers allocate billions of dollars to upgrading defence systems, and India is no different. A vital part of this investment also goes towards upgrading military communication systems that ensure a secure connection with the command-and-control centre, reliable communication on the battlefield and amongst comrades, and the safety and security of our personnel. Additionally, with cyber warfare growing at a rapid scale, a stable, secure and robust defence communication network becomes extremely crucial.
In the Indian Navy’s quest for a modern network that would strengthen homeland security for the country, while improving voice, video and data experience across its fixed and mobile sites, lie several obstacles.
- Dependence on public network backbone – Network bandwidth constraint – Information security concerns
- Fragmented ecosystem – Disaggregated network & data management across 1,31,000 sqft – Isolated orchestration & de-centralised control mechanisms
- Complex stakeholder management – Involvement of private, public and government bodies – Co-ordinating 1000+ strong labour force across multiple layers
- Challenging accessibility – Remote locations spread out over difficult terrains – Limited hours of work in mission-critical establishments
A huge task lied in front of STL to clear these obstacles by identifying vulnerabilities. There was only one solution: a large-scale network modernization. And thus, Project Varun was initiated.
Codename: Project Varun
To solidify the communications network for the naval soldiers of the country, STL had to think like a soldier. The answer lied in a unique approach – consolidate, secure, ready.
First, consolidate the multiple isolated and far-flung sites. Second, secure them with reliable links. Third, ready the network for the use of digital technologies such as virtualisation, big data analytics, and customised enterprise applications. And voila! Independent high-capacity end-to-end communication network now linked multiple naval sites and Indian islands – 44 network locations and 1500 network sites to be precise.
This strategy was at the heart of Project Varun’s battleplan – a complex, one of its kind greenfield project to build a robust, integrated communications network spanning converged network design, fibre & ICT deployments, data centre ecosystem and network security that ensured a secure, reliable and seamless digital highway for administrative and various mission-critical operations.
- Network design excellence using DNA with iCORE – STL’s network design philosophy
- Execution excellence using Lead 360° – STL’s signature network deployment method
- Project governance using STL’s digital governance platform
- Strategic partner ecosystem
All under a stringent timeline of 12 months! Today, the Naval network boasts a 100% private backbone; 40 secure data centres with custom enterprises application solutions; 30,000+ Endpoints enabled with high QoS AV/Data communications; and wide see-through optical fibre sensing, software-defined applications and integrated command and control centres.
Project Varun epitomizes the great ability of digital transformation to serve and protect the people of a nation. The Indian Navy has much to leverage from the network modernization achieved in record time that will enhance military communication bandwidth and accessibility, enable superfast action orchestration and introduce multiple efficiencies in storage and sharing of sensitive, mission-critical data of national importance.
A bespoke, highly advanced defence communication network now brings the Indian Navy on par with the greatest armed forces in the world, turning India into a force to be reckoned with. It’s truly an honour to serve such a greater purpose through digital technology that is shaping pretty much every aspect of our lives.
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.
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.).