Raising the bar for data networking in HK

Raising the bar for data networking in HKThe demand for high bandwidth and network interconnection continues to rise as enterprises are turning to develop innovative digital businesses. Pervasive connectivity to the network edge is gaining traction but will pose new challenges like security threats in 2017.

IDC said that the concept of digital transformation has been taken by businesses in Hong Kong and across Asia Pacific in 2016. In doing so, they aim to survive in hypercompetitive environments disrupted by technology startups.

“Inherent in this concept is that the role of CIOs will shift to be more strategically focused on business competitive advantage and less concerned on operational issues that need to become more automated or efficient,” said Glen Duncan, research manager at IDC Asia/Pacific.

Digitalization drives network demand

Telecom operators HKT and networking company Cisco share the sentiment that digitalization drives network demand from enterprises. High bandwidth, on-demand network services and interconnectivity across networks are some key requirements.

“Digital transformation drove various application deployment and the Internet of things (IoT) initiatives in 2016. Connectivity between different cloud platforms support such dynamic deployment scenario,” said Tom Chan, managing director at HKT Commercial Group.

Cisco stated that connectivity is fundamental to achieving digitization. “It facilitates connections between stakeholders and enables data collection from millions of devices,” said Garrick Ng, head of systems engineering at Cisco Hong Kong and Macau.

High bandwidth, on-demand & interconnectivity services

“We are seeing an ever-growing demand for ultra-high bandwidth multipoint Ethernet services, as well as optical networks for data center interconnection,” said Chan.

Scaling vertically and horizontally on bandwidth and connectivity will be the main focus among enterprises and telcos in 2017. According to Chan, scaling vertically means acquiring higher bandwidth to enhance connectivity. Meanwhile, scaling horizontally involve the adoption of new technologies like narrow-band IoT and LoRa to provide long-range and low-power connectivity.   

From HKT perspective, point-to-point optical network with over 1G-bandwidth was in high demand from its customers in 2016. Organizations like banking and financial, medical or health care require high bandwidth and low latency to access large volumes of information.

This is driving HKT to invest in its network. The operator announced in November to construct the Ultra Express Link (UEL), a 3km-long submarine cable system. This super high capacity fiber optic cable will connect Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate and Chai Wan to provide lower latency and diversity connectivity. These two sites currently house around 13 data centers.

Targeted to launch in the second half of 2017, the UEL will provide an additional diversity path to data center operators and enterprises. It will also support latency as low as a few 10th of microseconds.

Likewise other telecom operators, such as Orange Business Services, are continuously extending their global network coverage and invest in new technologies to support the digital future of enterprises.