Telstra and Ericsson encrypt in-transit data over 10Gbps link

Having encrypted data while in transit over a 10Gbps link between the US and Australia, Ericsson and Telstra are now looking towards testing the optical encryption technology over a 100Gbps link.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Telstra and Ericsson have announced achieving the encryption of data while in transit over a 10Gbps link between Australia and the United States by using telecommunications equipment and software provider Ciena's 10Gbps wire-speed ultra-low latency encryption solution.

Using what they call advanced optical encryption technology, the companies demonstrated the ability to secure data while in transit between Melbourne and Los Angeles without impacting speed, reliability, and latency.

"The outcome of this test shows that data can now be encrypted while in transit across a long distance, while maintaining the speed and reliability our customers have come to expect from our international network," said Darrin Webb, Telstra executive director of International Operations and Services.

"We will continue to work with Ericsson and Ciena to take this trial to the next level with a 100Gbps encryption test."

According to Ericsson head of Australia and New Zealand Emilio Romeo, Ericsson is providing its optical network systems knowledge to allow Telstra's progression towards commercialising this security technology.

Telstra and Ericsson said they will move onto demonstrating encryption over a 100Gbps link between LA and Melbourne over the next six months.

A year ago, they also undertook a trial of encrypting data across Telstra's Sydney-Canberra-Melbourne optical transmission network, managing to secure data as it exited the private cloud and travelled 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.

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," Francois Locoh-Donou, senior vice president and COO of Ciena, said at the time.

The companies have also been partnering on increasing network speeds, with Telstra, Ericsson, and Qualcomm attaining download speeds of 979Mbps and upload speeds of 129Mbps during live 4G LTE network testing in early September 2016.

The tests were conducted using carrier aggregation, 64 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) uplink, 256 QAM downlink, and 4x4 Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) technologies; Ericsson's Baseband 5216 hardware, which "supercharges" radio signal digital processing; Qualcomm's Snapdragon X16 LTE modem test device; and Telstra's live network.

In October, Telstra, Ericsson, Qualcomm, and Netgear announced their 1Gbps-capable 4G network, with the telecommunications provider conducting testing ahead of a commercial launch.

"We pride ourselves on our connectivity expertise, and we continue that tradition today by completing the first commercialisation of a gigabit-class LTE network and device," Telstra group managing director of Networks Mike Wright said in October.

"With the world's first gigabit-class LTE network, we have substantially improved our network capacity and increased real-world LTE download speeds, while also gaining a distinct advantage over competitors as we can now offer an entirely new class of LTE service."

Telstra's network attains 1Gbps speeds when used in conjunction with the Netgear Mobile Router MR1100m, which runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE modem and Qualcomm's Wi-Fi solution.

The Netgear Mobile Router MR1100m is the first consumer device capable of reaching download speeds up to 1Gbps over 4G. It attains gigabit speeds via 3x carrier aggregation; 4x4 MIMO on two aggregated carriers; 2x2 MIMO on a third carrier; and Higher Order Modulation 256 QAM.

Telstra and Ericsson's live 5G trial also attained download speeds of between 18Gbps and 22Gbps back in September.

Conducted in a real-world outdoor environment using Ericsson's 5G radio testbed, the 20Gbps speeds were split between two mobile devices, with each one getting around 10Gbps download speeds thanks to the use of Massive MIMO, which sends multiple channels of data at the same time, allowing users to have peak performances simultaneously.

In addition, a moving vehicle achieved download speeds of between 1Gbps and 6Gbps thanks to the use of beam-forming technology, in which antenna arrays steer a beam to where a user is.

Telstra and Ericsson in February 2016 announced that they will conduct a trial run of Telstra's 5G network during the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, with Telstra's team of network engineers temporarily transferred to Ericsson's Sweden-based research lab as part of the deal.

The two companies announced their 5G network in 2015, later confirming its launch by 2020.

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