After the super cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ slammed Odisha coast on Friday 3rd May 2019 morning along heavy rain and winds with speeds of up to 175 kmph, telecom networks in all the parts of Odisha, including Puri and Bhubaneswar suffered extensive network damage for the majority of the operators. Many BTS along the costal side were totally disconnected from the network due to the loss of backhaul connectivity that lead the Voice and Data connectivity to reach a standstill position.
This hit was also observed in the neighboring states of West Bengal, where many BTSs were down as it was pending for restoration.
According to reports, the telecommunication connectivity was partially hit in Puri and Bhubaneswar districts of Orissa. However, all the operators were said to be working to ensure connectivity for the residents of the state.
The major challenge that almost all the operators were facing was re-establishing the connectives and restoring the uprooted fiber connectivity and MW links that form the major core network of Orissa.
To mitigate the impact, operators set up war rooms to deal with the impact of the cyclone Fani. Circle and corporate teams had been working effortlessly to minimize the impact, and in this situation, the major planning for the re-routing decisions were taken.
These war front decisions had to be taken based on the visualization of the network on the GIS-based Inventory platform, documenting each aspect of network node capability. In this situation where visualizing the network geographically is most important, Lepton deployed the “NetworkAccess” GIS tool in almost all the Tier 3 cities. Operators proved to be the most effective solution catalyzing the decision-making procedures.
As NetworkAccess gives an entire view of the network that includes the cable routes, BSC locations, RNC Locations, Radio sites, Microwave connectivity, etc., the on-field picture becomes very clear, and decision for restoration becomes more specific. This results in mobilizing of field teams for priority restorations and mark completion of activity on the tool itself.
On the other hand, the next major hurdle that the team came across was to target field restoration teams and tracking them at the same time. Due to huge restoration activities, many teams were deployed, but to target the team nearest to the priority cuts was becoming an added hurdle.
For this hurdle, Lepton with its award-winning solution “SmartTrack,” portrayed as a rescue to get the online position of the restoration teams and assignment of the trouble ticket to users based on their current location. SmartTrack, with its web and mobile interface tracking, assignment, and closure of fiber cut could be monitored online, which helps with better chasing of the restoration procedures.
A total of 210+ fiber cuts were reported, pushing part of the client network to a standstill position, but as soon as the cyclone subsided, teams with SmartTrack were mobilized and at an average MTTR of 3 H 58 M 10 seconds (maximum time to restore) fiber cuts were restored, and huge chunks of radio sites were turned up as per the corporate plans.
Three days after the extremely severe cyclone Fani hit coastal Odisha, the circle and corporate teams of operators were still coping with the herculean task of restoring the network in the worst-affected cities of Bhubaneswar and Puri, but yes the automation and visualization of the network surely provided a much required supporting hand for making the network functioning as earlier.