Tom Pang, Vice President, Fixed Network Planning, Network Planning & Operation and a long-serving member of the HKT technical team is responsible for the design of the voice network infrastructure at the company.
In early 2018, Tom was tasked to develop a 5-year strategic plan to address the maintenance needs of the aging network of legacy PSTN switches in HKT’s switching facilities. As Tom notes, “the legacy switches were becoming increasingly difficult to maintain, with spare parts becoming scarce”. Beyond the maintenance and spare parts issues, “the TDM equipment is expensive to operate and requires cooling, resulting in significant operating costs”.
TYPICAL HKT CENTRAL OFFICE BEFORE NETWORK TRANSFORMATION
During this time HKT was also seeing a slow, steady reduction of TDM circuit traffic and increasing adoption of IP services. “Consolidation of the facilities was seen as an opportunity to further reduce operating costs.”
The challenge for Tom was to design and deploy on a new replacement solution that could continue to serve the existing TDM customers as well as offer new services to HKT’s IP-based customers by the end of 2022. As Tom noted, a key goal of the project included facilitating direct replacement of TDM services without impacting the end customer – “we must not disrupt the customer in any way – the transition must be transparent”.
Because of the tight timeline, it was important to choose vendor partners that could deliver the needed network elements and software, in addition to working closely with HKT on integration and enhancements that might arise.
While evaluating the project ROI, Tom recognized that there was an opportunity to significantly reduce energy usage, potentially reducing operational costs, which further justified much of the capital investment. The energy reductions could also help the company achieve some of their corporate environmental and Green objectives.