5G Lies Squarely in India's Sweet Spot: Kumar N. Sivarajan, Tejas

The growth opportunities for India in 5G span the entire ecosystem

Kumar N. Sivarajan, CTO,Tejas Networks

Tejas Networks, an India-based optical and data networking products company, designs and develops market leading products in the optical networking and broadband access (4G/LTE, GPON) segments. Having a strong focus on R&D and IPR creation, Tejas has filed 330+ patents in USA, Europe and India.

Kumar N. Sivarajan, CTO, tells us about the journey of 5G networks and the trends in 2019. Excerpts from an interview:

BW CIO: How is the 5G network going to bring about a revolution in the Indian telecom industry?

Kumar N. Sivarajan: 5G will represent a significant advance over previous mobile technology generations due to an explosion in the number of network-enabled IoT devices, greater fiberization and densification of cell sites and a disruptive cloud-RAN (C-RAN) architecture. The magnitude of these changes is such that it is likely to have a transformational impact on the 5G network architecture extending right from radio access to the optical metro and core segments.

5G is introducing a more open deployment model, whereby complex network functions are decoupled from traditional hardware equipment and realized as software applications in the cloud. Therefore, software and design are expected to be the core competencies and primary differentiators for success in the 5G era.

Since India has a large technology talent pool with world-class skills in design, R&D and software, 5G lies squarely in its sweet spot.  It offers a rare opportunity for India to become a global leader in the telecom sector and maximize the value-addition that we do within the country.

BW CIO: What are the growth opportunities in the 5G networking space?

Kumar N. Sivarajan: The growth opportunities for India in 5G span the entire ecosystem, ranging from handsets, customer premise devices, mobile infrastructure equipment, high-capacity optical transmission equipment and software.

It is estimated that the global 5G RAN market will be ~$14 billion per annum by 2022 and the global mobile handset market for 4G/5G is projected to be ~$400 billion by 2022. Between base stations, core network equipment and handsets, we believe that 5G represents a $100 billion market for India in the next five years.

BW CIO: What iis Tejas' strategy for growth and the industry perspective on innovations?

Kumar N. Sivarajan: Tejas has adopted a novel software-defined hardware architecture that enables the company to deliver highly differentiated network solutions to telecom service providers. Tejas products can seamlessly transcend multiple technology generations (2G/3G to 4G/5G) without network disruption and can scale from a few megabits to multi-terabits of switching capacity within the same shelf.  

Over the years, we have also created a rich in-house portfolio of re-usable “building blocks” of hardware as well as software, which enables us to develop cost-effective and highly customizable products and also gives us a time-to-market advantage while introducing new technology features or upgrading to new industry standards such as 5G, NG-PON or SDN/NFV.

Our software-led approach also enables us to sell the same product globally by making incremental country-specific adaptations.

BW CIO: What has been Tejas's contribution to 5G R&D?

Kumar N. Sivarajan: Tejas is developing comprehensive optical and wireless products that cater to the end-to-end 5G infrastructure market. Our existing optical networking products for Metro Core and Long-haul segments are being evolved to support high-speed 400G/600G interfaces with multi-terabits of packet and OTN switching capabilities.

In addition, Tejas is incorporating new optical fronthaul standards such as CPRI/eCPRI on our optical Access and Aggregation products to ensure that they can serve as versatile and universal mobile backhaul platforms from 2G/3G to 4G/5G network rollouts.

Tejas is designing converged broadband access and packet transport products that integrate 5G base station (gNB) and ten gigabit xPON technologies (NG-PON) along with high-capacity optical backhaul function for highly efficient and cost-effective 5G deployments.

Tejas is also actively contributing to the global 5G standards through its work in TSDSI, India’s telecom SDO (Standards Development Organization), to ensure that both Indian and emerging market needs are fully incorporated in the upcoming standards.

BW CIO: Finally, list the leading five trends that you see in 2019.

Kumar N. Sivarajan: The trends for 2019 are as follow:

* 4G (and upcoming 5G) deployments will drive greater fiberization of cell towers around the globe, especially in India, where only 20 percent of cell sites are currently served by optical fiber.

* Large-scale Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTx) rollouts on GPON and NG-PON technologies will gain momentum to cater to the growing fiber broadband market for homes and enterprises.

* High-speed 200G and 400G DWDM interfaces with multi-terabit packet and OTN switching will see increasing adoption in Metro and Core optical networks.

* Early commercial deployments of 5G technologies based on 3GPP Release 15 will begin with fixed wireless access (FWA) being the anchor use case.

* A continued push for network automation through a combination of SDN (software-defined networking) and NFV (network function virtualization) technologies.

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