Since the pandemic, many in India have become increasingly reliant on the internet and cloud applications to stay connected for both work and play. As the world’s second most populous country with approximately 1.4 billion people, mobile data in India is set to triple by 2028, driven by increased smartphone adoption and video usage.

Lightstorm Telecom Ventures (Lightstorm), India's only carrier-neutral network infrastructure provider, sees this as an opportunity to “disrupt” how the world’s largest hyperscalers increase bandwidth capacity in South and Southeast Asia. Formed with the objective of building networks for the cloud era and address the high availability and low latency requirements of hyperscalers and digital enterprises today, Lightstorm introduced the SmartNet Network, 12,000km of fibre across five major cities in India. SmartNet’s utility-grade fibre allows Lightstorm to promise 100% uptime, while its spine-leaf architecture and point-to-point linear long-haul architecture ensure the lowest latency.

“As a new operator setting up a network from scratch, our priority was to go live in the shortest turnaround time, do it right the first time and differentiate ourselves by boasting network resiliency and the lowest latency connectivity,” said Rajiv Nayyar, Chief Operating Officer, Lightstorm.

Working Together with Ciena Services

Apart from investing in networking solutions and software from Ciena, Lightstorm sought the help of Ciena Services to deploy SmartNet. The Ciena Services team relied on the following steps to successfully deploy SmartNet:

Planning: Ciena’s project managers, consultants, and engineers worked closely with Lightstorm’s technical and operations teams to draft out Methods of Procedures (MOPs) for every project activity. Looking at past best practices, the Ciena team was able to foresee deployment challenges and prepare mitigation plans well in advance. Furthermore, multiple iterations of lab simulations and trials were done by the Ciena Sales Engineering and Services teams to re-align deployment strategy with network readiness on ground.

Execution: Execution was always going to be a challenge because of the dynamics resulting from ever-changing pandemic related guidelines. However, the Ciena Services team relied on experience, proven methodology, data analysis, automation and preparation. Innovative solutions like remote testing and continuous integration into NMS & OSS, supplemented by automation tools to audit the network helped. Consistent monitoring of the health of the network during build-out was enabled with low level network scan tools, which collected network KPIs (like latency, optical thresholds, debug indicators) against planned values. The Ciena delivery team was able to ensure that key optical parameters were maintained throughout the deployment using these health monitoring and corrective tools.

Closure: The Ciena Services team conducted various network audits and health checks to ensure zero deviations at the time of handover. To further enhance the customer onboarding experience, training and hands-on sessions were conducted for the Lightstorm operations team. As a value-add for their end customers, Lightstorm wanted to have a tool to measure real time latency of their services. The Ciena professional services team build a custom “Latency Calculation” tool to measure latency which is now used as a key KPI for Lightstorm’s end customers.

“Despite the pandemic, Ciena has helped us set up a reliable and scalable backbone in a short span of time. With Ciena Services’ expertise, we now boast a scalable, flexible and extensible optical network with the ability to handle multiple concurrent faults and guarantee service in a cost-effective way. Ciena’s support has helped us in keeping SmartNet up and running 24x7, meeting service level agreements and delivering on end-to-end customer experiences,” said Nayyar.

Ciena Innovations Supporting Lightstorm

Lightstorm is using Ciena’s 6500 packet-optical platform with Layer 0 control plane, WaveLogic 5 ExtremeWaveserver AiManage, Control and Plan (MCP), and Services.

To learn more about Lightstorm’s SmartNet, you can watch this video or see the press release.