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Ericsson, Telstra partner on optical data encryption

Telstra, Ericsson, and Ciena have conducted a trial of data encryption across the telco's high-speed optical network used for cloud computing.

Ericsson has partnered with Telstra and telecommunications equipment and software provider Ciena to undertake a trial of encrypting data across Telstra's Sydney-Canberra-Melbourne optical transmission network, managing to secure data as it exits the private cloud and travels along the network.

Using Ericsson's systems integration expertise and Ciena's WaveLogic encryption product at 200Gbps speeds on Telstra's inter-city network, the trial saw the three companies secure and protect data across the high-capacity network.

"We are committed to providing the best possible experience to our customers, which includes data protection and security," said David Robertson, director for Transport and Routing Engineering at Telstra.

"Our world-first demonstration of the solution protects data whilst being transmitted at high speeds from one point to another. Proving the functionality of this new encryption technology is important for Telstra to offer this additional service to our enterprise customers who need extra security levels. This programmable solution provides the option of self-managed encryption and Telstra-managed encryption."

Robertson added that having Telstra able to provide encryption with the help of Ericsson and Ciena over the network would save customers the expense and time involved in developing and managing their own strategies for securing data.

Emilio Romeo, head of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand, said the tests were conducted out of Ericsson's optical test facility in Port Melbourne, with Ericsson providing the expertise to integrate the Ciena equipment within Telstra's test network.

According to Ciena, the end result is secure, encrypted data that does not slow down the network.

"Businesses today recognise the importance of securing data not only inside the enterprise, but also as it leaves the private cloud and traverses across the network, without adding latency or sacrificing the end-user experience," said Francois Locoh-Donou, senior vice president and COO of Ciena.

Locoh-Donou explained that WaveLogic is the first encryption solution to embed the algorithm inside of the coherent application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC).

Telstra and Ericsson have also been partnering on increasing network speeds, announcing a demonstration in partnership with Qualcomm of 4x4 spatial multiplexing multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) combined with 256 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM), which it claims has established the foundation for commercial network download speeds of up to 1Gbps.

During the experiment, the companies combined 4x4 MIMO with 256 QAM using the Qualcomm Snapdragon X12 LTE modem, Ericsson Networks Software 16B for LTE, and Telstra's commercial network.

The combination currently achieves peak downlink data speeds of up to 380Mbps, but the technology is expected to reach download speeds of 1Gbps in the future.

"Activating new advanced network and operational capabilities such as 4x4 MIMO with 256 QAM provides operators with a more solid and secure network performance, enabling digitalisation opportunities to everyone, everywhere," Thomas Norén, VP and head of Radio Product Management at Ericsson, said in December.

The companies noted that 4x4 MIMO with 256 QAM should be supported on smartphones from 2016.

"We are constantly looking to enhance our customers' user experience, and 4x4 MIMO will be an important addition to our mobile network speeds and capacity," said Mike Wright, Telstra group managing director of Networks.

"This next step in device evolution, achieved by Ericsson and Qualcomm, shows 4x4 MIMO with 256 QAM in combination. This brings us even closer to offering 1Gbps capabilities to our customers."

Telstra and Ericsson also announced in November that they had attained speeds of 1Gbps during live commercial 4G mobile trials by aggregating five spectrum bands in a world first.

During the test, 100MHz of spectrum was aggregated across the 700MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, and 2600MHz (2x 20MHz) bands, and delivered to a Cobham Aeroflex TM500 mobile device.

"Our end-to-end tests have been achieving amazing download speeds of over 950Mbps using a specialised speed test application," Wright said in a blog post.

"Just as importantly, we have also been able to hit speeds of over 843Mbps end to end over the internet to the speedtest.net site."

According to Ericsson, five-carrier aggregation provides the foundation for 5G, which will require the aggregation of higher-frequency bands. The high speeds also allow for better and more reliable coverage with mobile devices.

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