T. Ramavarman

To provide common telecommunication infrastructure for all Government offices

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Work on the Kerala State Wide Area Network (KSWAN), which aims at providing a common telecommunication infrastructure for all Government offices across the State, is in the final stages.

Secretary of the Information Technology (IT) Department K.R. Jyothilal told The Hindu here that the network would be operational from September in the districts, while the complete network up to the block level would be functional mostly by December.

The Central IT Department is providing the cost of the equipment for setting up such networks in all the States while the respective State Governments would have to bear the recurring charges and the expenses for other facilities. The total outlay for the project in Kerala was around Rs.78 crore, and out of that the Centre would contribute Rs.45 crore while the remaining amount would be the share of the State, Mr. Jyothilal said. Kerala IT Mission will be the owner of the network in the State while the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) has been selected as the consultants for the project. The work is being implemented in the State by the Bangalore-based United Telecom Limited (UTL) on a Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) mode.

According to P.M. Sasi, the additional director of CDAC here, since KSWAN is a common network, various Government Departments can save huge investments and time required to set up and manage own networks.

Design objective

The design objective of KSWAN was to have a state-of-the art network, which is highly robust, resilient, scalable and highly available. It will be a great leap forward in the introduction of the e-governance system as it will provide equal access to all users (basically Government offices), irrespective of their physical location.

Three layers

The network design envisages a three-layer architecture with a backbone ring forming the first layer, and distribution from the backbone ring to the district headquarters and then to the block headquarters forming the second layer.

The lastmile connectivity from the district and block Points of Presence (POPs) will form the third layer.

The network backbone connects the three cities, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Kozhikode configured in a resilient ring. The plan is that the network can grow from the Network Operating Centres (NOCs) in these three cities to the districts and then to the sub-district level in a hierarchical star topology, thus providing a highly scalable and resilient network, Mr Sasi explained.

The backbone makes use of the free bandwidth offered to the Government by bandwidth providers in lieu of the Right-of-Way given to them.