An innovative global media network meeting diverse customer demands
As part of the Tata Group, one of India’s most respected business conglomerates, Tata Communications delivers managed solutions to multi-national enterprises, broadcasters, service providers and Indian consumers. To do so, Tata Communications utilizes one of the most advanced and largest submarine cable networks and a Tier-1 IP network with connectivity to most countries in the world across 400 PoPs.
In 2008 Tata Communications started to plan for a broadening of their service offering to include comprehensive support for professional media services. The network should cover the major cities in India and offer international connectivity to Europe, North America, and other countries in the Asia Pacific region. Net Insight was involved early in the process to share information on how the Nimbra platform is used by other major operators worldwide and how it could give Tata a competitive edge.
Up to now, Tata had offered support for video services over its legacy SDH network. However, a new network was needed to provide an integrated solution for native media formats such as ASI, SDI, HD-SDI and AES/EBU as well as IP. The platform should be fully flexible on the network side, interfacing to both PDH (DS3) and SDH (STM-1 through STM-64) links and offer a migration path for video over IP/MPLS.
Perhaps even more important was to deploy a fully managed solution, allowing Tata to have a full graphical overview of the status of all network resources, to quickly provision services end-to-end, and to monitor the service quality and performance. When required, the network management system should also allow Tata’s end users, broadcasters as well as other service providers, to manage their part of the network themselves using secure and highly granular client management definitions.
Service availability is one of the most important parameters for broadcast customers. Tata therefore wanted a solution that would support a range of service classes with varying availability.
After thorough evaluation and testing in Tata Communications labs and in the field, Net Insight was selected to deliver the solution for the new global media network. Key reasons why Tata chose the Nimbra platform include its multi-service capabilities, future scalability, quality of service, and wide range of network restoration options. Tata was also impressed by the strong features of the Nimbra Vision network management system.
The comprehensive set of network restoration options in the Nimbra platform is used to implement the different service classes. The Platinum+ service for instance uses the fast open-ended 1+1 protection for multicast services, while the Platinum service uses high-priority automatic rerouting combined with headend protection for hardware redundancy.
A high-availability solution has also been implemented for the network management system. At the Network Operations Centre (NOC) in India, redundant Nimbra Vision servers are connected to the network elements using both the inband management channel of the Nimbra network and outband connections over Tata’s IP/MPLS network. The end-to-end provisioning capabilities and graphical overview featured in the Nimbra Vision management system makes it easy to manage and monitor the network and allows for easy setup of services either with pre-defined or dynamic allocation of bandwidth. The flexible multicast solution of the Nimbra platform also enables Tata to monitor the actual video feeds at the NOC.
The new global media network was installed during the 4th quarter of 2009 and successfully launched in December 2009. Customers using the network include other media operators as well as local broadcasters, who are able to exchange content between India, Europe, USA, Australia, and other countries in Asia. Some of Tata Comunications’ customers are actually also existing Net Insight customers who have deployed their own Nimbra networks and now have the ability to reach India using Tata Communications network.
Due to the positive reception and increasing bandwidth demands from customers, further expansion and scaling up of the network is already under evaluation.