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China Unicom Guangdong's Top-Quality SD-OTN Network Promotes Industry Upgrade in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

China Unicom Guangdong has built a top-quality SD-OTN (Software Defined Optical Transport Network) network covering the Greater Bay Area based on the in-depth analysis of user requirements in various industries, such as finance, cloud VR, government, healthcare, and education. This network leverages the operator's advantages in cloud-network integration, and lays a solid foundation for digital transformation of various industries around the Guangdong area.

By Luo Kai, Transmission Marketing Support Dept of Huawei

The digital economy has become the main driving for China's economic growth. According to the Digital China Construction and Development Report 2018, China's digital economy reached CNY31.3 trillion in 2018, accounting for 34.8% of China's GDP and contributing more than 67.9% to China's GDP. Guangdong is the pioneer of China's digital economy development. In recent years, China has launched the strategy for developing digital economy and created the opportunity for building the Greater Bay Area. Guangdong actively promotes the digital transformation of industry clusters to improve industrial competitiveness. This province strives to cultivate 30 pilot projects for the digital transformation of industry clusters by 2022. It also seeks an industrial Internet platform for 20 specific domains (regions) to drive the cloudification of 20,000 enterprises. Against this backdrop, the digital transformation of various vertical industries in Guangdong is in full swing.

China Unicom Guangdong's Top-Quality SD-OTN Network

Industry Digital Transformation Drives the Evolution of Information Infrastructure

Guangdong's government has formulated a series of policies to help various enterprises implement systematic transformation, covering not only large enterprises such as government, finance, and Internet enterprises, but also a large number of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). As the main information carrier of Guangdong's digital transformation, Guangdong's communications networks also face big challenges.

The favorable conditions in the Greater Bay Area and Shenzhen pioneer demonstration zones have led national and international financial resources to quickly gather in the Greater Bay Area. Guangdong's financial growth rates such as those in the bank credits, securities, futures, and insurance markets are higher than the national average. The Shenzhen Stock Exchange, the core financial institution for the economic development of the Greater Bay Area, is serving 2,205 listed companies with a total market value of CNY23.7 trillion and an annual stock of CNY508.93 billion. The finance industry values low latency for transaction processing. According to the evaluation of the market research institute TATB, in financial electronic transactions, a transaction processing latency of 5 ms higher than competitors will reduce profits by 1%, and a transaction processing latency of 10 ms higher than competitors will reduce profits by 10%. In other words, a latency of 1 ms will cause a loss of US$4 million. For example, Shenzhen Stock Exchange's fifth-generation trading system can process 300,000 transactions per second, which is three times greater than its predecessor. The average entrusted processing latency is about 1.1ms.The financial industry has entered an era where every millisecond counts.

Furthermore, Guangdong's gaming industry has led to an emerging trend in recent years. A large number of game companies have begun investing in the VR game industry, especially in cloud VR. This has also led to various cloud VR experience arenas starting to emerge. For large-scale cloud VR games, a network latency less than 20 ms, a frame rate greater than 60 FPS (Frames per Second), and a terminal-to-cloud latency less than 70 ms are standard specifications for ensuring a smooth game experience. Several Gbit/s of bandwidth is required when dozens of users are playing in an arena.

Guangdong gathers Internet giants such as Tencent and NetEase, which places greater requirements on data center interconnection. At the same time, enterprise cloudification has become an inevitable trend, which China is vigorously promoting. It is predicted that 85% enterprise applications will be migrated to clouds by 2025, which will bring explosive growth of inter-DC (east-west) traffic. It is also estimated that traffic will increase four-fold (CAGR: 32%) in the next five years. The migration of an increasing number of enterprise core services requires higher DR and backup for data center interconnection. How to ensure the normal operation of services, when traffic surges such as the "Double 11" shopping event in China occur, poses a great challenge to the entire private line network. Network bandwidth, reliability, and latency must correlate with traffic increase.

In addition, healthcare, government, education, and a large number of SMEs require high-quality private line networks to carry their cloud services. This both benefits and burdens China Unicom Guangdong.

Top-Quality SD-OTN Network Facilitates Differentiated Service Innovation in Various Industries

China Unicom Guangdong has built a top-quality SD-OTN government and enterprise network covering the Greater Bay Area based on the in-depth analysis of user requirements in various industries, such as finance, cloud VR, government, healthcare, and education. This network leverages the operator's advantages in cloud-network integration, and lays a solid foundation for digital transformation of various industries around the Guangdong area.

China Unicom Guangdong has invested huge manpower and resources to reconstruct the basic communications networks in the Greater Bay area. It took six months to successfully build the world's largest all-optical top-quality network with optical-electrical integration, centralized management and control, and flattened architecture. To retain the world-leading network innovation capability, China Unicom Guangdong and Huawei deployed the world's most advanced optical network products and solutions, such as the all-optical grooming OXC and 20-degree ROADM. They used the flattened network architecture to cover more than 530 core and aggregation nodes in Guangdong, achieving the shortest route between two points and instant connection between any two points. They deployed iMaster NCE to meet the requirements of continuous network innovation in the future. With the top-quality SD-OTN network, China Unicom Guangdong will provide five differentiated network service capabilities for enterprises and industry customers:

  • Ultra-high bandwidth: Compared with the traditional MSTP solution, the E2E all-optical network greatly increases the user access bandwidth. The bandwidth can be adjusted from 2 Mbit/s to 100 Gbit/s and the maximum bandwidth is 600 Gbit/s. The network supports 10GE bandwidth to business buildings and GE bandwidth to enterprise desktops, leading the industry into the Gbit era of enterprise private lines.
  • Ultra-low latency: The flattened all-optical scheduling network reduces the inter-city latency in the Greater Bay Area to between 1 and 3 ms and the DCI latency to only 1 ms. This forms a 1.5 ms latency circle in the Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Zhuhai free trade zones, meeting the optimal experience requirements for industries such as finance and healthcare.
  • Ultimate availability: The much improved optical cable routing adopts a fully-connected network architecture and uses intelligent technologies to implement millisecond-level fault self-recovery. Huawei is the first in the industry to guarantee a network availability of 99.99%.
  • Self-service: The industry's first Internet-developed self-service app can implement self-service rate adjustment, latency and traffic visualization, and differentiated services such as network topology self-management for end users.
  • Cloud-network integration: The interconnection between multiple local networks and the cloud backbone network provides users with all-scenario access capabilities. Currently, the network has been pre-connected with third-party cloud pools such as China Unicom Wo-Cloud and HUAWEI CLOUD. It can fully take the advantages of network resources and multi-cloud aggregation to meet enterprises' requirements for fast cloudification.

China Unicom Guangdong, leveraging these capabilities, launched customized premium private line services for all enterprises and industry customers in the Greater Bay Area to fully support their digital transformation.

  • Financial industry: China Unicom Guangdong has built low-latency financial private lines. For example, a securities company that rented an MSTP private line to carry out transactions with an E2E latency of up to 12 ms, far higher than that of other securities companies in the industry, severely affecting the development of customer transaction services. Therefore, China Unicom Guangdong analyzed the live network and found that the problem was caused by both optical cable route wrapping and long latency of Ethernet over SDH (EoS) boards on the MSTP network. After the top-quality SD-OTN network was deployed, the transaction private line latency of the securities company was reduced to 6.5 ms, greatly improving the transaction efficiency and directly driving the growth of the operating revenue.
  • VR game industry: China Unicom Guangdong and various cloud service providers launched the one-stop cloud VR game solution. In one case, China Unicom Guangdong helped a game company deploy VR games on China Unicom’s industry cloud platform, and built dedicated site-to-cloud private lines for the customer using the top-quality SD-OTN network to optimally deliver cloud VR game services. Currently, China Unicom Guangdong has migrated VR game services to the cloud for two stores of the game company. VR game services of other stores (over 60) of the company will also be gradually migrated to the cloud.

China Unicom Guangdong is responsible for the integrated network construction of the Greater Bay Area. By upgrading the communications infrastructure, China Unicom Guangdong provides smart top-quality network products that are a first for customers in the Greater Bay Area. China Unicom Guangdong has taken great strides to develop the Greater Bay Area and contribute to the digital and intelligent construction of the Greater Bay Area.