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Zain and Huawei to Build Middle East’s First SRv6-Based Intelligent IP Network

Mar 23, 2020

[UK, London, March 23, 2020] At a recent launch event themed "5G, Bring New Value", which was hosted by Huawei in London, Zain Group announced its cooperation with Huawei to build a 5G and cloud-oriented, intelligent SRv6-based IP transport network, which is the first of its kind in the Middle East. It features ultra-broadband, committed SLA, and autonomous driving function.

Zain Group is a leading multinational mobile operator in the Middle East and Africa, serving 49.5 million users. Processing an average of 10,500 TB data per day across its footprint that is ever-growing, reliable connectivity through 5G services is vital for Zain in ensuring a great mobile experience for its users. Therefore, it is vital for the transport network to support 5G services in three major scenarios, namely, enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC), and Massive Machine-Type Communications (mMTC).

Furthermore, Zain plans to develop new services such as VR/AR and high quality private lines. This requires the transport network to support larger capacity and provide committed service level agreements (SLAs) to ensure the bandwidth and latency requirements of various services. Additionally, as the number of IP connections keeps increasing, Zain also seeks quick network deployment and accurate fault locating to achieve autonomous-driving networks.

In preparing for the launch of 5G services in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as well as for other operations on Zain’s roadmap to launch 5G services, Zain began re-planning and re-designing transport networks in early 2019. After an in-depth analysis of the existing network and long-term aims, Zain chose to apply Huawei's committed SLA IP solution. The network slicing function of the solution can ensure bandwidth for mission-critical services in vertical industries. The SRv6 intelligent routing function is at least one year ahead of competition and allows for deterministic paths and committed latency. The In-situ Flow Information Telemetry (iFIT) function can locate faults in minutes to ensure high availability.

SRv6 features simplified network protocols, flexible programmability, slicing, simplified inter-domain transmission, and seamless support for IPv4/IPv6 services. In this way, the best-effort IP network will become an intelligent 5G transport network that can support committed SLA, meeting the most demanding service scenarios such as URLLC and VIP private lines. Zain also regards the slicing technology as one of the key capabilities for building intelligent IP networks, and plans to, in cooperation with Huawei, start the SRv6-based E2E slicing POC test in the near future. The test will confirm the feasibility and business value of the solution from the aspects of planning, design, deployment, and maintenance of network slicing, laying a foundation for further usage.

Mohammed Al Murshed, Core Networks Director, Zain Group, said "Ensuring that our users enjoy an excellent mobile experience on our state-of-the-art networks is key for Zain. SRv6, as a next-generation IP network protocol, is simpler and more suitable for building intelligent IP networks. Zain plans to deploy SRv6 and slicing ready IP networks in multiple regions in 2020, and works with Huawei to build intelligent IP networks featuring ultra broadband, committed SLA, and autonomous driving function.”

Daniel Tang, CTO of Huawei's Datacom Product Line, commented:" Huawei has launched the industry's first committed SLA IP solution to provide premium transmission services for a wide variety of vertical industries in the 5G era. The solution has been widely deployed in multiple leading operators around the world. Huawei anticipates making IP transport networks even more intelligent through our continued cooperation with Zain."