In conversation with Tata's Tejas Networks: a deep dive into 5G innovations and global telecom ambitions

Prasanth Aby Thomas, DIGITIMES, Bangalore 0

Credit: AFP

As technologies continue to evolve, there is a rising need for quick and economical deployment of mobile and fixed broadband networks across the globe. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the existing urban-rural "digital divide," magnifying the urgency to efficiently address this broadband deficit in isolated regions.

In an interview with DIGITIMES Asia, Kumar Sivarajan, CTO and co-founder of Tejas Networks, part of the Tata Group, outlined how the company is poised to address this and several other global telecom concerns. He highlighted the TJ1400 Ultra Converged Broadband (UCB), a pioneering product that combines wireless and wireline access technologies, offering an efficient solution for telecom service providers (TSPs) worldwide.

"It provides TSPs the flexibility to deliver high-speed Internet services either as fiber broadband (FTTx) or as 4G/5G mobile or fixed wireless to reach customers in remote areas with difficult terrains where laying fiber is a challenge," Sivarajan said. "In addition to providing broadband access, there is also a need to efficiently aggregate and transport this data within the networks. By achieving an unprecedented level of broadband access and packet transport technology integration in a compact platform, TJ1400 UCB delivers significant capital and operational savings for telecom operators."

Offering optimized scaling options for telcos

The TJ1400 UCB has been enhanced to support advanced IP/MPLS routing functionality and has been selected by India's largest public sector telco to upgrade its pan-India access and aggregation networks.

"Our TJ1600 Core Switch is one of the world's largest disaggregated multi-terabit packet-optical switches that adopts an innovative breakout architecture bucking the traditional industry approach of building large monolithic systems," Sivarajan said. "It supports dynamic capacity scaling using the same hardware through incremental "pay-as-you-grow" investments and is ideal for telcos, utilities, and web-scale companies building national and regional backbone networks, backhauling 4G/5G mobile broadband traffic, and for delivering high-capacity wholesale and enterprise bandwidth services."

The company's advanced alien wavelength solution for seamlessly transporting high-capacity 100G/200G+ wavelengths over third-party 10G DWDM links without guard bands offers telecom carriers a cost-effective way to significantly scale-up network capacity through incremental capital investments.

A key supplier of RAN products

Tejas is focused on creating end-to-end wireless and wireline products for telecom customers deploying 5G networks worldwide. In 5G, their initial focus is on developing and commercializing world-class RAN (Radio Access Network) and Crosshaul products. The company is partnering with leading system integration partners, Core and OSS/BSS vendors both within and outside the Tata Group to deliver an end-to-end 5G stack.

"Our company, along with its subsidiary Saankhya Labs, has already launched a diverse range of high-power 5G radio units operating in multiple frequency bands, delivering advanced features such as massive MIMO, 5G broadcasting, and software-defined radio (SDR) designs," Sivarajan said. "Tejas is currently one of the few telecom equipment companies in the world to offer both 3GPP and O-RAN compliant products for 5G RAN (Radio Access Networks) and is well positioned to be a key supplier of RAN products for a pan-India 4G/5G network rollout this year."

Targeting global telecom OEM leadership

Tejas Networks aims to establish itself as a global-scale, end-to-end telecommunications and networking OEM based in India. The company recognizes the necessity of anticipating and rapidly adjusting its product portfolio to remain on the cutting edge. By keeping a close eye on the latest industry trends, technological advancements, emerging standards, and shifting customer needs, Tejas Networks aspires to maintain a "future-ready" position in the dynamic telecommunications landscape.

"Over the last few years, we have significantly accelerated our R&D investments in next-generation wireless and wireline technologies to become one of the top-3 R&D spenders as a percentage of revenues among all publicly listed companies in India. To cater to the ever-increasing demand for carrying high-speed data over longer distances, we are enhancing our optical networking products to support long-haul transmission, 1.2 Tbps capacity per wavelength, and multi-terabit OTN switching.

The company is also upgrading its FTTX products based on GPON/XGSPON technologies to support 25G and 50G speeds (HS-PON), making it ideal for non-residential applications such as enterprise broadband and 5G fronthaul. Tejas is also making significant investments in developing higher-capacity packet switching and routing products based on IP/MPLS technologies to address the needs of next-generation access, campus, and metro networks.

Sustained impact on the telecom scene

Tejas Networks, in its strategic move in 2022, acquired a controlling interest in Saankhya Labs, a Bangalore-based start-up. This acquisition has acted as a catalyst, speeding up their 5G program while simultaneously amplifying their expertise in related technology areas, including 5G broadcast, satellite IoT, and semiconductor chip design.

Tejas also holds a unique position as a founding member of India's Telecom Standards Organization (TSDSI). Senior members from its R&D and technology departments are also instrumental in contributing to international telecom standards bodies such as ITU and 3GPP. This involvement stands as a testament to the company's commitment to leading and shaping the future of the industry. With continued efforts, Tejas is poised to make significant contributions to the global telecom industry.

Kumar Sivarajan, CTO and co-founder of Tejas Networks. Credit: Tejas

Kumar Sivarajan, CTO and co-founder of Tejas Networks. Credit: Tejas