Ryan Perera, vice-president and country head, Ciena India

Despite the Covid pandemic, 2020 turned out to be a good year for the Indian telecom network and technology vendors. Automation, softwarisation and virtualisation emerged as key trends while telcos took steps to make their networks future ready. Network upgradation, especially in anticipation of 5G, will continue to be a key theme in 2021 as well. Ryan Perera, vice-president and country head, Ciena India, shares his views on the performance of the sector in 2020, the key growth drivers, opportunities in the evolving 5G landscape and the future outlook…

How has the Indian telecom technology landscape evolved in 2020? What were some of the key business highlights for your company?

In the past year, new digital consumption models and remote working have catalysed the move towards digital transformation. Specifically, these changes have accelerated enterprise migration to hybrid multi-cloud computing environments. Service providers are transforming their networks through open architectures, infrastructure disaggregation, virtualisation and adoption of cloud-native technologies to reduce costs and improve agility.

Connectivity to support these distributed hybrid multi-cloud overlay environments has never been more important. Improved coupling of connect, storage and compute is becoming essential to cater to the insatiable hunger for cloud computing. As a global leader in this space, Ciena is playing an instrumental role in enabling service providers as they support these shifts.

At Ciena India, we recently marked our 15-year anniversary of local development and network builds in India. We continue to stand by our customers as they enhance capacity and network capabilities to support this next phase of network growth. With a local R&D staff of over 1,250, Ciena India contributes substantial local value across its entire packet-optical and automation solutions suite.

Looking ahead, a new generation of cloud-native applications is emerging in categories such as entertainment, retail, manufacturing and automotive, which will be more compute-intensive and latency-sensitive. Traditional centralised cloud architectures will not meet the expectations of these applications and will require a more dynamic and distributed cloud model. Thus, compute and storage cloud resources need to move closer to the edge of the network, where content is both created and consumed, to meet the expected experience. We call this approach edge cloud.

What are your views on India’s readiness to roll out 5G services? How are you engaging with your partners on this front or contributing to the overall ecosystem?

For a successful roll-out of LTE/5G in India, densification will play a key role. We believe small cells with wireless self-backhaul will be essential. We also expect macro base stations (approximately 800,000 in India) to be equipped with highly scalable fibre-based “any-haul” capabilities to supply multi-generational radio technologies and a mix of architectures.

What are your views on the government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat mission? How are you contributing to this mission? Do you have a policy/regulatory wish list on this front?

We contribute to this mission by actively investing in local R&D activities for products and solutions that Ciena develops in India. Given our past 15 years of consistent research and deployments in India, Ciena is now able to demonstrate substantial “local value add” in its routing and switching, optical and automated solutions.