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When Converge ICT Solutions brought its fiber broadband technology to Manila, it faced three entrenched rivals. Today, Converge boasts a 50% market share and is quickly expanding into the Internet Data Center (IDC) field.

"Converge is striving to advance the country's digital economy. Providing reliable IDC services based on future-proofed DCI technology lies at the heart of this vision. By cooperating with Huawei, we have learned about Huawei's leadership in the DCI field, and we are confident that we can thrive more in it."

— Ronald Brusola, Converge ICT Solutions

In recent years, the Philippines has become an even bigger market for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) than India, and is becoming an increasingly popular destination for offshore programming services.

As a nation of more than 7000 islands, the internet is a way to further unite the country. However, its application poses significant challenges too. Converge is one of several companies that has taken advantage of these booming market sectors in more ways than one. Originally established as a provincial cable television operator, Converge today has transformed into the only pure End to End (E2E) fiber internet service provider for residential and business customers and is currently expanding its coverage to the entire country.

"In addition to our own services, we carry numerous Internet and enterprise applications, including video, digital payment, online education, and telecommuting. These new services are based on Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data, and cloud computing, all of which place higher requirements on Data Center Interconnect (DCI),” said Converge's Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Ronald Brusola.

Since 2016, this leading Philippine fiber broadband operator has built or leased nine IDCs across Manila’s metropolitan area, a region with 12.9 million people and one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The demand for data center services has dramatically increased so much that Converge is already engaging in a new series of major upgrades.

As the company’s IDC services have been growing, customer demand has grown even faster, with bandwidth demand increasing ten-fold in just two years, straining legacy DCI systems.

But given physical constraints, any new upgrades needed to be carefully thought through. The physical footprint had to be kept to a minimum, with hardware future-proofed to be able to match predicted increases in bandwidth demand. Furthermore, rollout needed to be quick and efficient, and simplified Operations and Maintenance (O&M) were a must, to minimize the risk of downtime.

Converge looked to implement upgrades that could be deployed quickly in order to maintain the company’s reputation for high-speed, low latency services and network reliability. Following an in-depth evaluation, it selected Huawei’s DC OptiX 2.0 Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) solution that, Brusola believes, is capable of handling the company’s burgeoning IDC traffic not just right now, but for the next decade too.

"The solution consists of Huawei OptiXtrans DC908 and iMaster Network Cloud Engine (NCE). It brings the benefits of high integration, ultra-broadband, and offers an excellent O&M experience," Brusola said.

Indeed, Brusola believes that Huawei’s DC OptiX 2.0 Solution offers Converge a number of key advantages over other DCI solutions.

First, it has a smaller physical footprint — reducing the use of physical space by more than 70% — and can adapt to multiple services, deploying optical and electrical layers in one box. In a city as busy and crowded as Manila, a significantly smaller footprint is a big win.

Next, it can deliver 20 times the bandwidth to the DCI, reducing fiber costs and providing a high-level of future proofing.

Brusola added: "Huawei OptiXtrans DC908 supports a maximum of 800 Gbit/s per wavelength and up to 88 Tbit/s per fiber, which is the largest single-fiber capacity in the industry." In short, the solution supports Converge’s long-term data center development plans.

One-click automatic commissioning also slashes deployment times and, according to Brusola, has helped to reduce the time it takes to commission such equipment from several days to less than 10 minutes.

"This can be easily completed by our Information Technology (IT) and Internet Protocol (IP) engineers, which greatly improves our ability to respond to any market changes," Brusola said.

Finally, there are all-important O&M advantages. Based on iMaster NCE, Huawei DC OptiX 2.0 provides fiber fault prediction, enabling preventative maintenance to be scheduled, avoiding downtime. The system intelligently determines whether the working and protection fibers are on the same route or cable. This is useful in scenarios where fibers are leased to configure DCI protection, avoiding ineffective investment. Additionally, it helps Converge’s data center staff to filter out noisy alarms, and quickly locate root causes.

This data center upgrade has not only helped Converge to meet increasing customer demands but also supported the company’s massive growth in recent years. In 2020, the company nearly doubled its customer base as it expanded the reach of its fiber cable network to over six million Filipino homes. The company also had a record new share offering on the Philippines Stock Exchange in October of the same year.

The funds generated by the successful Initial Public Offering (IPO) are set to be invested in expansion, not just in the Philippines’ residential and business fiber internet market, but also the IDC market.

As a company that has earned a reputation in the Philippines for being highly innovative, Converge is committed to building the largest fiber broadband network, to provide affordable and reliable high-speed internet connectivity to millions of people in the country.

At the same time, it is also striving to advance the country’s digital economy, providing reliable IDC services based on future-proofed DCI technology.

According to the latest DCI market share report by Omdia, Huawei's DC OptiX solution is a dominant player in the global market. In 2021, Huawei OptiXtrans DC908 earned two awards: the Innovation Award from Lightwave and the Best of Show Award from Japan's top Information and Communications Technology (ICT) exhibition Interop to cement its position as a leader in optical transmission.

Learn more about Huawei OptiXtrans DC908: https://e.huawei.com/en/solutions/enterprise-transmission-access/data-center-interconnect-new

This article was originally published by DCD and has been edited. The original title was "Case study: How the Philippines’ Fastest Growing Fiber Internet Service Provider Future-Proofed Data Center Interconnect to Support the Digital Economy."

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