Networks: go behind the scenes

Around the world, Orange is committed to developing high-performance networks to significantly increase broadband coverage. Managing the network performance of fixed and mobile networks along with their increase in speed and maintenance are key issues. From 3G to 5G, fibre and intercontinental submarine cables, our aim is the same: to ensure that as many people as possible can access innovative digital services through our networks. 

International network development: where are we?

Network traffic and customer expectations have exploded, so we have a targeted plan to optimise our very high speed fixed and mobile networks. We’re developing our coverage capabilities by accelerating fibre deployment, installing additional antennas, developing satellite connections and deploying fibre optics between cities, countries and even continents.

Thanks to undersea cables, Orange is contributing to the development of a high-quality global network which is a high economic priority. Orange Marine’s cable fleet – 15% of the global fleet – is one of the most experienced in the world. We have laid nearly 190,000km of submarine cables under the world’s oceans, including 160,000 fibre optic cables, with the aim of making it easier to access the Internet, especially in Africa where we are already present in some 20 countries.

We’ve also deployed fibre in many of our operating countries such as Poland and Morocco.

 

In France, we’re continuing to deploy fibre and 4G in rural and less populated regions. Regarding the fixed network, our goal for all citizens to have broadband by 2020, high-speed broadband by 2022, and fibre by 2025.

In mobile terms, 4G has already been deployed in all European countries and 3G in all Africa and Middle East countries where Orange is present. 4G is now available in Botswana, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Jordan, Liberia, Morocco, Mauritius, the DRC, Senegal and Tunisia.

We’re also upgrading our 4G mobile networks and working towards 5G standardisation to build the network of the future. Thanks to 5G’s high data speeds and reduced latency, our customers will be able to access enriched services such as video UHD streaming, virtual and augmented reality and immersive experiences in their personal and professional lives. For example: making doctor appointments without going to the clinic, getting advice on holiday from a virtual travel assistant or teleworking through live video or hologram.

Global teamwork and collaboration

To enable as many people as possible to access our networks, Orange teams are involved in 24/7 prevention, maintenance and repair operations.

At sea, Orange Marine has four maintenance vessels. As soon as submarine cables have been installed, they are vulnerable to external attacks so our maintenance ships need to keep an eye on them. The crew is on standby 365 days a year and can sail in less than 24 hours to carry out a repair. The ships have completed more than 550 repairs on intercontinental routes, some of them 5,500 metres deep.

On the ground, our teams work together to ensure continuous connectivity even, and above all, in the face of extreme weather, for example in 2017, during Hurricane Irma in the West Indies.

While communications were completely interrupted at the height of the storm on the two islands of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy, our employees responded immediately to restore mobile connectivity and coverage in the two main regions Marigot and Gustavia. All the necessary resources were deployed to support the local teams.

Orange employees responded immediately to restore mobile connectivity and coverage in the two main regions Marigot and Gustavia

 

Finally, we’re using the latest advances in technology such as Big Data to provide ultra-connected and reactive network maintenance. Monitoring equipment can anticipate network malfunctions by detecting the slightest anomaly before it impacts our customers’ services. In the event of a problem, analysing the call processing throughout the network can sometimes help us anticipate and prevent larger-scale incidents.

We’re installing sensors on our mobile network equipment interfaces to capture and analyse the traffic running through them. We can therefore monitor the quality of service: if the network behaviour changes, alarms are triggered in real time.
Dominique Le Beuz, Head of Mobile Network Operations at Orange France.