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Driving the Green Digital Economy with the World's Largest All-optical Switching Hub

Businesses in the Greater Bay Area are greatly benefiting from all-optical networking technology that's not just fast, but comes with a much smaller carbon footprint.


As one of China's most economically developed regions, China's Greater Bay Area, covering Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao, boasts a complete industry system. As part of its shift to green and low-carbon network technologies, Huawei and China Mobile Guangdong have built an all-optical network cluster – the world's largest green all-optical switching hub and one that is enabling thousands of industries with advanced network technologies. 

Replacing legacy devices

Optical fibers have huge advantages over copper lines when it comes to bandwidth, latency, anti-interference, and reliability. As the greenest communication medium, they reduce power consumption by 60% to 75%. Huawei's OTN devices apply optical communication technologies that have enabled China Mobile Guangdong to retire its power-hungry and inefficient SDH devices in multiple cities. So far, 5,000 SDH devices have been replaced, saving 3,000 square meters of space, 7.9 million kWh of electricity, 5,000 tons of carbon emissions – the equivalent of planting 196,000 trees.

China Mobile Guangdong has introduced Huawei's innovative all-optical cross-connect (OXC) and deployed more than 110 OXC devices in the Greater Bay Area, building the world's largest green all-optical switching hub. In each equipment room, just one cabinet is required rather than five to eight, slashing footprints by about 70% and power consumption by around 30%. The grooming capability of a single node is ten times higher, with 3D and mesh networking in up to 32 directions now possible. The hub also reduces electricity use by about 2.3 million kWh and carbon emissions by over 1,400 tons every year – the equivalent of planting 49,000 trees.

The 2,000 OTN optical nodes deployed on the all-optical network cluster cover 21 cities and more than 130,000 villages in Guangdong province, enabling ultra-low latency circles in the Greater Bay Area, comprising 1-ms intra-city, 2-ms inter-city, and a 3-ms latency circles.

Driving a green digital economy 

In 2021, Guangdong released Digital Government 2.0 Plan to provide leading government services, with 100% of high-frequency, intra-province, and cross-province services in the Greater Bay Area processed locally.

In Guangdong's Zhongshan, for example, each government department built and managed its own network, resulting in information silos where data could not be converged, cross-departmental data-sharing was difficult, and poor services for enterprise and individual customers. In 2021, Zhongshan integrated multiple departments' networks into one all-optical e-Government extranet by building an OTN premium private network. The network connects 24 towns and subdistricts, extends to 277 village nodes, and provides local, one-off service handling anytime. Now, 3,387 administrative approval items can be handled online, requiring just one visit, and 3,206 items can be handled locally.

The major financial hub of Shenzhen has a strong demand for network services that can handle financial transactions. To meet this demand, China Mobile Guangdong worked with China Mobile International to build private lines tailored to suit financial services: ultra-low latency, ultra-high reliability, ultra-fast provisioning, and ultra-high assurance. High bandwidth and convenient capacity expansion can better satisfy the requirements of financial customers on latency, security, and reliability.

Due to the pandemic, online activities, such as cloud-based exhibitions, shopping, and music festivals, have presented new opportunities for the digital economy. In southern China, for example, a large number of flowers and plants are sold around Chinese New Year. In 2022, the Cloud Flower Fair was launched, allowing one-click flower delivery that kept businesses flourishing while reducing person-to-person contact – 114 million units were delivered in Guangdong alone, half of which were sold through the Cloud Flower Fair, generating 1.6 billion yuan (US$253.4 million) in revenue.

The all-optical network cluster in the Greater Bay Area serves over 110 million individuals, 18 million households, and 2 million enterprises. It uses 10 million kWh less in electricity each year, cutting carbon emissions by over 6,400 tons. The network is supporting the digital transformation of 17,000 enterprises and enabling around 550,000 MSMEs to migrate to cloud, which will improve service speed and quality, reduce costs, and enhance efficiency. Overall, the network has reduced carbon emissions by over 800,000 tons and has proven its worth in a range of business scenarios. 

With all-optical lighting up the future, the future is bright in China's Greater Bay Area.