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LIME team first to design, successfully deliver operational NGN

LIME team first to design, successfully deliver operational NGN


An engineering team at LIME created history when it became the first in the world to design and successfully deliver an operational all Next Generation Network (NGN) telecommunications infrastructure.{{more}}

The members of this distinguished team are all Vincentians: Anthony Balcombe, Manager of Technical Operations; Troy Jack, Engineer Core and Fix; Sharon Cyrus, Engineer Desktop, LAN and ISP; Shaka Delpesche, Engineer Mobile and Power; Shaka King, Technician Core and Fix; Shyam Weekes, Technician Mobile and Power; Glenroy Fergus, Contractor with responsibility for Migration and Nicholas Greenidge, Technician Desktop, LAN and ISP.

On Tuesday, October 4, 2010, LIME, as a result of the team’s efforts, was able to officially launch the NGN at its Arnos Vale site after a period of four years, which saw the design and implementation of the project, as well as the ironing out of a few teething problems.

The feat also allowed St Vincent and the Grenadines to become

the first sovereign nation in the world to be NGN enabled, evolving from a conventional circuit–switched telecommunications network to a total “next-generation” network.

An elated Balcombe in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Friday, October 8, disclosed that some developed countries had attempted to implement the “full NGN”, but had failed in their bid to do so.

He said the new NGN system replaces the aged Marconi Telephone switch also known as ‘System X’. He, however, noted that the NGN had worked in tandem with the System X until that system was fully turned off on October 4.

Balcombe noted that the contract to provide equipment for the project was awarded to Chinese company ‘Huawei’, US company ‘Sonus Networks’ and Ericsson. The equipment was then mainly put together by the local team.

The venture cost LIME over US$8 million to deploy the network throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Jack, who also sat in the interview, said one of the most significant benefits of the NGN is that St.Vincent and the Grenadines now enjoys Universal Broadband access, as every fixed line customer in the country in a few minutes can self-install Broadband service. He said the NGN, with 28 remote sites across the country is capable of delivering over 24 megabites.

‘System X’, installed 25 years ago, served just over 23,000 fixed line customers and lacked the capability that the NGN has to accomodate over 25,000 customers. The NGN is also capable of delivering a wider range of new services.

SEARCHLIGHT was told that based on the Internet Protocol (IP) backbone, the NGN infrastructure is a convergence of Voice and Data, transported over fibre Optics and Microwave, and include upgrades to existing copper lines to deliver broadband Voice over IP (VoIP), Broadband Data and the ability to provide IP television (IPTV) to every fixed line customer.

The project entailed: Upgrading the entire transmission backbone throughout St.Vincent and the Grenadines to a modern IP based infrastructure to facilitate increased bandwidth demand from customers. It also involved replacing and upgrading the fixed-line Access and Core network infrastructure, adding new access nodes to improve service to existing customers and provide access to new customers.

Another vital component of the project saw the replacement and upgrading of the voicemail platform to a more modern feature rich solution with multiple functionalities and options for users.

It also saw the installation of a converged Fixed and Broadband network solution, to effect a more simplified network architecture, enabling better management options, quicker fault resolution, improved network resiliency, and more bandwidth and service options for customers to take advantage of.(HN)