Monojit Samaddar, Country Director, VIAVI Solutions – India

VIAVI India has been supporting telecom operators and network equipment vendors in India for over two decades now. The company’s products are being introduced to meet the market’s testing and measurement (T&M) requirements, driven mainly by the growth in the wireless and fibre domains. In an interview with, Monojit Samaddar, country director, VIAVI Solutions – India, talks about the company’s focus areas for the Indian market and emerging T&M trends in the telecom space…

What are the key focus areas for VIAVI in India?

Throughout India and the South Asia region, VIAVI is active across many aspects of T&M, enabling best-in-class networks and services. The demand related to broadband network installation, turn-up and maintenance will require stringent test methodology and validation. As the data centre footprint and capabilities continue to grow, VIAVI is engaging with hyperscale data centre operators to reduce testing time, optimise optical networks, reduce latency and ensure 100 per cent reliability. Moreover, 5G will revolutionise connectivity throughout India and the world. The growth of 5G and the disaggregated radio access network (RAN) presents challenges in terms of interoperability of various components, and VIAVI is working with network operators across India to help them address these challenges.

What will be the key requirements for successful validation, testing and optimisation of 5G networks?

As operators build out dense 5G networks, the potential for radio frequency (RF) interference will grow exponentially, increasing the importance of optimised spectrum efficiency. Real-time spectrum analysis in the field will be key to identifying and addressing interference sources. In addition, 5G introduces flexible spectrum usage that relies on adaptive antenna system technologies such as massive MIMO and beamforming. The use of these technologies means that evaluating radio performance can no longer be separated from antenna performance, requiring over-the-air testing and 5G beam analysis techniques in order to validate 5G RAN performance.

What are the challenges faced by network technicians in testing next-generation network components?

Next-generation networks are undergoing a revolutionary transformation, becoming infinitely more complex. Performance requirements are more exacting, and the need for proper testing procedures is more important than ever before. Emerging network architectures require precise timing to synchronise distributed equipment for high quality network operation. This applies to mobile, cable and fibre networks. In all cases, the move to next-generation 5G, remote PHY and other distributed technologies means even more stringent synchronisation targets, which must be met to prevent service degradation. VIAVI offers a range of solutions optimised for fibre characterisation, multiprotocol service activation, troubleshooting and maintenance to address the critical requirements of next-generation network architecture.

What are the best practices in fibre testing? 

The best practices for deploying and activating fibre optic networks include fibre inspection, loss measurements, fibre characterisation and physical layer testing. Once the network is in service, root cause troubleshooting and monitoring practices are required to locate and address problems quickly and efficiently. These testing practices should also include service layer test, remote test, fault detection, automated monitoring and strain sensing.

What are your views on the O-RAN architecture that is being adopted by operators and equipment manufacturers worldwide?

We are seeing a new level of collaboration that is widely expected to drive greater adoption of Open RAN (O-RAN) architecture. While this is encouraging, the reality is that disaggregating RAN infrastructure creates complexities. Going into a live network requires, more than testing, the interoperability of various vendor components. Operators also need to validate how the technology interacts with legacy equipment in the network as well as how it responds to different user equipment environments. Another challenge that operators face is how to solve network issues after the network has been deployed. Unlike a traditional single-vendor network, it is more difficult to identify product-related network performance issues in a multivendor environment. VIAVI works closely with equipment manufacturers and network operators to ensure interoperability, manageability, optimisation and end-to-end performance of networks based on O-RAN architecture.

How has Covid-19 impacted your business?

VIAVI offers T&M solutions that expedite and simplify deployment and activation, reducing the time spent on customer premises and limiting return visits. We also enable customers to leverage process automation and remote troubleshooting solutions, such as virtual activation, fibre monitoring, test process automation and remote instrument access to provide service assurance while reducing or eliminating time on premises. In order to support its service provider and network equipment manufacturer customers, VIAVI is providing remote configuration and deployment support where possible, and offering complimentary remote access through Smart Access Anywhere on supported instruments.