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Tier 1 operator migrates legacy TDM Services to a modern, efficient networking platform

Tier 1 operator migrates legacy TDM Services to a modern, efficient networking platform

Case StudiesNetworkingTelecomTop StoriesUnited Kingdom

Telef贸nica UK鈥檚 Director of Core Networks, Jorge Ribeiro, discusses the company鈥檚 decision to migrate legacy TDM services in its core network onto a modern, more efficient networking platform as it required a solution that could run legacy TDM services and next-generation mobile services side-by-side. He tells us why Ciena鈥檚 technology provided the answer.

Telef贸nica UK/O2 is the UK division of Telef贸nica, which has operations across Europe and the Americas. Ciena has been working with Telef贸nica for more than a decade, providing network infrastructure for the company in 17 countries around the world.

Several years ago, Telef贸nica UK decided to build its own dedicated core network and selected Ciena as its sole photonic supplier for the project. Based on the success of this collaboration, Ciena continues to provide consultancy and network infrastructure for Telef贸nica UK, helping the carrier to stay ahead of the fast-growing traffic demand curve and to prepare its network and business for the next-generation of high-bandwidth and ultra-low-latency services.


For Tier 1 operators around the world, legacy TDM services are significant contributors to revenues and the bottom line. However, legacy infrastructure and services are becoming increasingly expensive to run, manage and support 鈥 impacting OpEx and negatively affecting margins.

Telef贸nica UK experienced this issue while operating legacy TDM services to deliver traffic from 2G- and 3G-only cell sites across the company鈥檚 core network. These services were increasingly costly and difficult to support.

To address this challenge, Telef贸nica UK decided to migrate legacy TDM services in its core network onto a modern, more efficient networking platform. Telef贸nica UK sought a solution that could run legacy TDM services and next-generation mobile services side-by-side. It needed a partner that could transition services with no risk of service downtime or disruption at any stage of the process.

Telef贸nica UK also wanted to streamline its management requirements and costs. In particular, the company wanted to deploy a single management system and console for managing both TDM and next-generation services to increase management and troubleshooting efficiency.

To kick-start its network upgrade and TDM services migration, Telef贸nica UK created a compelling business plan for senior stakeholders. This was based on equipment specifications and a detailed architectural design from Ciena, which allowed the Telef贸nica UK team to project short- and longer-term cost savings.

Based on the business case, which projected impressive CapEx and OpEx savings, Telef贸nica UK stakeholders approved a solution built on the Ciena 6500 PTS. This photonic platform offers up to 100 GbE transport speeds with an extremely dense and power-efficient network footprint. Additionally, it is engineered to integrate seamlessly with Telef贸nica UK鈥檚 existing Ciena 6500 network, with no need for back-to-back interfaces anywhere in the network.

Telef贸nica UK chose the Ciena 6500 PTS due to the ability to 鈥榚mulate鈥 and run legacy TDM services in an IP/MPLS environment with no changes to customer experiences or revenues. Equally importantly, the 6500 PTS incorporates Ciena鈥檚 Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) domain controller, which provides single-pane management for all services running on the network.

Ciena鈥檚 tools, processes and people were integral to the success of this complex project. With global experience of migrating TDM services running on multi-vendor network infrastructure to next-generation networks 鈥 from both Ciena and other multi-vendor infrastructure 鈥 Telef贸nica UK had peace of mind that the end-to-end project could be delivered successfully by a single business partner.

Ciena鈥檚 Senior Managing Director of Sales, Rodolfo Vigliano, said: 鈥淢any network vendors offer to migrate customers from their old networking equipment to their latest products. However, Ciena can handle complex migrations from multi-vendor equipment to next-generation networks capable of meeting future traffic demands and supporting future 5G and IoT services. Our end-to-end delivery capabilities have been very valuable to Telef贸nica UK in terms of project speed and efficiency 鈥 with a single point of responsibility throughout the service migration process.鈥


By continuing to partner with Ciena for its network rollout and services migration, Telef贸nica UK has increased operating efficiency 鈥 both for TDM services and for next-generation Ethernet and IP services. The company has also increased its go-to-market agility with a scalable, programmable network that can support a wide range of future services without the need to deploy additional hardware or software. Telef贸nica UK is also positioned to deliver consistently excellent service quality for its customers.

Telef贸nica UK鈥檚 Director of Core Networks, Jorge Ribeiro, said: 鈥淎s a customer-led organisation, we remain committed to understanding and fulfilling our customers real-time needs. The integration of our legacy traffic into a new platform is a demonstration of how we work to continuously improve our customers鈥 connectivity experience.鈥

Additional benefits of the solution include:

Significant CapEx and OpEx savings

By consolidating and streamlining its device architecture with Ciena, eliminating the need for back-to-back infrastructure, and retiring legacy equipment from its network, Telef贸nica UK achieved CapEx and OpEx savings. Deployments like this prove that TDM services don鈥檛 have to be costly and complex to deliver. By emulating them on a powerful, next-generation Ciena network, Telef贸nica UK was able to minimise the cost of maintaining legacy services.

Continuity for Telef贸nica UK鈥檚 critical TDM services

The TDM services emulation capabilities of the Ciena solution, combined with services migration tools and methodologies, ensured that Telef贸nica UK鈥檚 critical TDM services were available throughout the complex services migration project. Moreover, Telef贸nica UK found the reliability of its TDM services increased since moving to the Ciena solution, with fault rates dropping significantly.

Streamlined network management and faster incident responses

Telef贸nica UK now has a single pane management system for all its TDM legacy services and next-generation services, and for all components across its Ciena network infrastructure. This means the company can respond faster to any network events that threaten service uptime or performance, helping increase service availability and reliability, along with customer satisfaction.

Reduced project complexity, cost and risk

By choosing to partner with Ciena for the new network rollout and end-to-end services migration, Telef贸nica UK minimised project complexity, cost and risk. Ciena provided a single point of access and responsibility for all project deliverables, including network planning, deployment, configuration and provisioning 鈥 along with migration of multiple legacy services from leased lines and other multi-vendor equipment to the new Ciena 6500 PTS and next-generation Adaptive IPTM network.

Increased power efficiency for reduced carbon emissions

As is the case for many Tier 1 carriers, a significant percentage of Telef贸nica UK鈥檚 costs are aligned to power usage at exchanges and cell sites. With Ciena鈥檚 power-efficient equipment, these costs have been reduced, helping the organisation to lower its costs and carbon footprint.

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