Telstra announces global SDN services

Two additions to Telstra's SDN services will allow organisations to almost instantaneously secure digital partnerships and procure NFV equipment online.

Telstra has unveiled two additional functions to its software-defined networking (SDN) service, PEN Platform, allowing customers to procure virtual network functions and make digital partnerships on demand.

The PEN Platform is made up of 26 points of presence across Asia-Pacific, North America, and Europe, with the telco claiming it can reduce networking costs, improve responsiveness, and more easily deploy services in a hybrid cloud environment.

In return, with SDN software installed on its network equipment, Telstra is able to control how and where data flows across its network, prioritise some types of traffic, and grant service quality guarantees for certain types of traffic.

The first of the two new SDN services, called PEN Exchange, enables customers to connect their network services with those of other PEN customers.

"The launch of our new PEN Exchange is the natural next step in our SDN strategy, and means we now have the unique capability to dynamically connect network circuits between PEN Exchange customers, linking different people and business sites easily and cost effectively," explained Jim Clarke, head of International Products and Pricing for Telstra.

"With provisioning time measured in minutes rather than months, PEN Exchange customers can also use a new application programming interface, which triggers additional capacity depending on their changing bandwidth needs."

The second of the SDN service enhancements is PEN Marketplace, which the telco described as a basic online hub through which organisations can order network function virtualisation (NFV) equipment in real time, including routers and firewalls, with a choice of various vendors.

"With a variety of virtual network functions now accessible through the PEN Marketplace, customers no longer have to wait for the delivery and installation of hardware appliances; rather, they have the power to manage their applications virtually and across multiple countries simultaneously," Clarke said.

"Additionally, being able to order virtual applications based on specific business requirements at specific times means customers can also avoid over-provisioning and, consequently, unnecessary costs."

Telstra's PEN has points of presence in Beijing, Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles, New York, Tianjin, Taipei, Hong Kong, London, San Jose, and New Jersey.

Telstra renewed a deal at the end of 2014 to use Ericsson optical network equipment and services to build out its SDN and NFV offerings.

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.

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.

For 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.

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