Philippines DITO Hits Major Milestone: Phase One of 5G SA Core Network Self-Owned Data Center Relocation … – Macau Business

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MANILA, Philippines, May 28, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Based on recent statistics, approximately 50 operators worldwide have accomplished 5G SA deployment. Among other operators presently constructing their 5G SA Core Network, DITO stands out as an exemplary representative of SA Core Network. In pursuit of success in 5G SA, DITO has taken the lead in completing the construction of 5G SA Core Network, and has recently transitioned from leasing to owning Core data centers in phased stages.

In the past 3 years, DITO has successfully built a full convergent, distributed and full cloud-based 5G SA Core Network. Full convergent network signifies the 4G and 5G convergence, and nationwide distributed network much closer to subscribers which ensures a good data and voice service experience. And the full cloud-based network refers to the Native Telecom Cloud.

DITO has successfully achieved the commercialization of the 5G SA Core Network, completed VoNR service testing and ongoing network slicing capability testing.

DITO Core Network utilizes DC-level, NE-level and system-level redundancy to securely and effectively support the business development. To strengthen the security and reliability of the network, DITO built its own Core data centers that fulfill telecom standards and migrated away from the leased Core data centers to support its business expansion.

Since 2022, DITO has initiated the migration project of 2 leased Core data centers to self-owned. This is a highly complex and high-risk project as it involves more than 3000 devices and 400 operations, with tens of millions of live network subscribers. As to date, the first Core data center has completed its migration, and is currently in the process of the second Core data center relocation.

Major challenges faced by DITO during the Core data center migration:

Multiple migration operations, need to ensure zero service impact.

More than 400 service migrations are involved, posing significant challenges to the secure and stable running of the system. As Core data center form vital infrastructure, the duration of service interruption must be minimized to avoid any impact on user experience. The above presents a big challenge to the accuracy and security of the technical solution.

Massive amount of devices, requires multiple cross-domain collaboration.

The migration project covers more than 10 telecom equipment vendors and multiple service domains, including Core Network, VAS, IT cloud resource pool, IT system etc., thus it required coordinated planning and effective collaboration among multiple vendors.

High Operation risk, requires strong capability for network emergency contingency plan.

Throughout the migration process, all datacom devices and wireless interfaces, along with their integration into the entire Core Network, are involved. This may potentially introduce a high risk of triggering a large-scale signaling storm, resulting to network downtime. Therefore, comprehensive pre-operation simulations and contingency plans are mandatory.

To address these challenges, DITO gathered efforts from various departments of the company, prioritizing this project by analyzing problems and tackling them one by one:

  • Comprehensive solution preparation: As this project involved the migration of all wireless base stations, the cutover of surrounding fiber ports and the re-integration of the service platforms, the project team set up various solutions including multi-DC level synergy, multi-NE hybrid pool etc. to ensure that the service is smoothly migrated. This operation strictly followed the proposal and MOP to get live, with smooth migration, stability monitoring and gradual NE retirement to complete, with various innovative ideas and actions in both solutioning and management policies. DITO organizes cross-domain reviews to ensure the accuracy of migration solutions. The company arranged more than 80 times of migration solutioning reviews — covering the ore network, service network, data network, and IT domains — to minimize the impact on services during service migration. Currently the first Core data center has completed migration and second Core data center is already in progress.
  • Strict risk control: Risks of the migration process are identified in-depth and managed in advance, covering the project duration, network security, network capacity, and hardware transportation. Effective measures are taken to cope with the risks, so that a successful project can be ensured. Specifically, in terms of service operation, redundancy, migration and cutover simulation of the entire network mirroring the actual production environment had been simulated before the migration delivery was kicked-off. The team simulate each of the 8-level redundancies including DC-level, network-level, NE-level, link-level, etc. to mitigate all possible risks of this migration project.
  • Efficient cost control: Resource allocation and cost control were considered from end to end. Personnel were reasonably arranged, and different teams smoothly communicated and collaborated, significantly reducing the overall costs of the migration project and improving the migration efficiency.

Today, DITO has completed its migration of the first Core data center with zero service impact and interruption, while successfully expanding the network capacity and improved the network reliability. Which resulted to a significant increase of 4G and 5G SA subscribers.

The DITO Core data center migration project is considered a highly complex, risky, and challenging project, given its involvement of numerous network components and valuable subscribers. The SA Core Network, being more intricate than the NSA Core network, with an industry-average construction period of more than nine months. Nevertheless, DITO successfully executed this project, guaranteeing network security and stability, fostering business expansion, and harnessing the potential value of the SA Core network moving forward.

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