Kazakhtelecom Corporation is the leading telecommunications operator in Kazakhstan with an extensive branch network providing a broad range of services from fixed telephony and telegraph to data transfer, mobile communications and Internet access with the use of intelligent and satellite networks. The company has over 2.7 million private and corporate clients. As an international provider, Kazakhtelecom maintains close cooperation with 177 operators abroad including 23 in the CIS and Baltic states.
Today's Kazakhtelecom is a business-oriented company whose stability and high standing are confirmed every year by reputable international auditors. The company has been keenly modernizing the national IT infrastructure and developing regional services to integrate Kazakhstan into the world communications market as a strong player. Kazakhtelecom also deals with social projects such as installation of fixed networks in rural areas and providing rural schools with Internet access.
Despite the spectacular growth of mobile communications and the power of Internet, traditional fixed telephony in Kazakhstan still holds strong among businesses and residential customers alike.
Until 2004 Kazakhtelecom had been using obsolete analog equipment for landline telephony that was incapable of accommodating new services or additional channels. Service quality was deteriorating and customer complaints abounded.
The company needed a forward-looking solution to keep and expand the customer base, offer new services and enhance its competitive advantages.
Two principal modernization options for the existing network were considered. The new platform could be based either on the TDM platform (with circuit switching) or the new NGN technology (with packet switching). The former option required that additional or optional hardware be purchased for each new service. Therefore Kazakhtelecom in 2004 decided to develop its network on the IP platform. As part of the transition to VoIP in 2006 the company started the deployment of a long-distance next-generation network for its long-distance subsidiary and a local NGN network in Almaty.
As a universal multi-purpose network that can carry integrated traffic consisting of voice, video and data, NGN dramatically improves traditional landline services.
The NGN project was designed by Nortel who also supplied all the equipment. Jet Infosystems, Nortel's Carrier VoIP Service and Solution Partner, was responsible for the system's installation, deployment, launching, testing and integration with the incumbent network.
Before starting the technical work on the project, Jet Infosystems experts had collected and analyzed background data for 15 sites in 10 regional capitals where the equipment was to be installed.
Jet Infosystems also consulted Kazakhtelecom on the legal, administrative and operational framework needed for the transition to NGN technology.
Installation of the NGN network for Kazakhtelecom consisted of several stages.
At the first stage, an NGN network was installed in Almaty.
At the second stage, regional trunk gateways were prepared for installation in regional capitals. Their initial configuration was site-specific. Jet Infosystems staff performed all the basic tests recommended by the Nortel call matrix and conducted a simulation of various emergencies to check the reliability of the system.
At the third stage the Nortel Communication Server 2000 Compact softswitch for the long-distance NGN network was installed and tested.
At the fourth stage ten regional trunk media gateways (Media Gateway 15000) were installed and integrated.
NGN network in Almaty
In August 2006 a class 5 Nortel Communication Server 2000 Compact was installed in Almaty and integrated with the network operated by Almatytelecom. This softswitch is designed to manage a network of five trunk gateways connected to all transit telephone exchanges in the city and control customer access hardware. The Almaty segment relied on a Metro-Ethernet solution.
The softswitch was originally connected to a total of 40 thousand subscriber lines. At a later stage 72 thousand lines were added. The final number of lines was 185 thousand.
The long-distance next-generation network connects ten regional capitals (Aktobe, Atyrau, Kaaganda, Pavlodar, Taraz, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Taldykorgan, Shymkent and Almaty).
All the traffic in these cities used to be carried through long-distance/international digital exchanges. The project brought about a new centrally managed distributed network. An operator class trunk gateway (Media Gateway 15000) was installed in each city. The gateway network is controlled by another Nortel Communication Server 2000 Compact softswitch located in Almaty. The existing backbone IP/MPLS network available in each of the regional capitals was used for transport. As a result of this project, over 30 telephone networks were connected to the NGN.
During the project Jet Infosystems experts conducted compatibility tests and integrated the telecommunications equipment with that by other manufacturers (Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, Iskratel and Teledata).
In order to comply with Kazakhstan’s legal requirements, Jet Infosystems also developed a tool for special investigation activities (SIA) support. The solution was tested and integrated with the softswitch.
The total number of ports representing subscriber lines and connections to other networks was 0.5 million.
Better communications quality
The NGN provides a fundamentally better call quality. Also, due to the integration of VoIP switches and media gateways with the existing public-switched telephone network, the capacity of Kazakhtelecom long-distance network has increased, so more PSTN subscribers can now make local and long-distance calls.
The NGN started dealing with live traffic in December 2006 and coped fine with the heavy load that used to overrun the old network on New Year's eve. The ASR (average seizure ratio) actually increased, and many subscribers managed to get through to their friends and family on the first attempt.
Lower operating costs
The NGN is monitored, controlled and managed in a centralized way from Almaty. Accordingly:
- system adjustments are less costly as they are instantly made across the country from Almaty;
- there is less network downtime caused by troubleshooting;
- just a fraction of former maintenance personnel is required, since engineers on duty at every telephone exchange are no longer needed.
Analog exchanges to be replaced
As all the obsolete analog exchanges are replaced by NGN gateways, Kazakhtelecom will reap additional financial benefits while providing a broader range of high-quality services.
Apart from VoIP, NGN networks support voicemail, IP-Centrex, distance learning, VPN, data transfer, videoconferencing and much more.