Eurofiber has begun to optimize its network infrastructure to provide an even better service to its Belgian clientele. To this end, fiber optic rings will be rolled out in large parts of Belgium in the coming period, explains Hessel Idzenga, Design and Architecture Manager at Eurofiber.
“We partially use the Belgian railway manager Infrabel’s fiber optic networks for our digital infrastructure in Belgium,” adds Hessel Idzenga. About fifteen years ago, the company initially rolled out such an infrastructure for its own use and eventually transferred it to a telecommunications branch called Syntigo. Some five years ago, Eurofiber took over Syntigo and thus gained access to that fiber optic network. However, the technology on which the Syntigo network is based no longer fully meets the connectivity needs of organizations. That’s why we’ve come up with a major upgrade on parts of it.” Upgrading the infrastructure is no small feat. Firstly, this is due to how the network is constructed. Over time, Infrabel has built its nationwide fiber optic network along the railways, often via catenary portals. The cables usually end up in Infrabel’s premises. Our mechanics can’t always go there quickly to weld fiber optics for clients, for example. This is why we’re moving the connection points for the fiber optic cables to cabinets outside the Infrabel buildings. That’s the first skirmish of the optimization battle,” says Idzenga.
“The second step in the optimization of Eurofiber’s Belgian digital infrastructure is more technical,” explains Hessel Idzenga. “Fifteen years ago, Infrabel opted for a specific fiber optic technology, Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH), which has since become outmoded. It does not offer enough scalability in terms of bandwidth these days. For example, the maximum bandwidth is now 300 Mbit/s, while organizations always want to take bandwidth from us to give substance to their digital transformation. This is why we’re going to install separate fiber optic cables in parallel on Infrabel’s infrastructure. We can offer Ethernet services on this infrastructure using a DWDM underlayer. Connections normally go from point to point, but we’ll build this in rings in order to offer redundancy to our clients, which makes us able to offer our clients an SLA once again. This also applies to the maximum bandwidth. This increases to 2 Gb/s for both Ethernet and Internet access. We call this an ‘aggregation network infrastructure’. Incidentally, the network nodes are housed in new street cabinets that meet the most modern requirements in terms of equipment, redundancy, cooling, and of course, security.”
“The optimization of the Belgian digital infrastructure has already started,” says Idzenga. “The entire preliminary process, from concept to hardware selection, has been completed. It’s a great collaboration between our Infra department, which is responsible for fiber optics and cabinets, our Network Operator department, which deals with the active network, and, of course, the Belgian and Dutch Eurofiber organizations. We want to go live with one or two rings by the end of this year. The roll-out sequence then depends – in part – on specific client questions.”