Telstra completes metro optical network upgrade

Telstra's transmission network between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth has been upgraded to optical transport technology capable of supporting 8.8Tbps and of scaling above that in future.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Telstra has completed an upgrade of its transmission network between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth, updating it to optical transport technology capable of supporting 8.8Tbps between these CBDs.

The system is also scalable, with developments from 75Tbps to more than 100Tbps between the capital cities possible as network demand increases.

Serving as the backbone of Telstra's fixed-line and mobile networks, the optical transmission network was also upgraded in Tasmania in August, with the updates allowing for further resilience, redundancy, and software-defined networking (SDN) capabilities.

"This transformation will provide increased capacity, enhanced resiliency, and extensive scalability to cope with the ever-growing demand on Telstra's networks," Telstra said.

Telstra group MD of Networks Mike Wright said the upgrades will also provide the foundation for its 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) networks.

"With the explosion in smart devices, video streaming, and cloud computing, we are forecasting that Telstra will have five times the current traffic on our network five years from now. This transmission upgrade project is about making sure we have the capacity and resiliency to meet these demands," Wright explained.

Telstra this year launched its Cat-M1 IoT network and is working on a narrowband IoT network.

Its nationwide optical network transformation and expansion was flagged in February in partnership with Ericsson as part of its "Network of the Future" program.

In total, Ericsson said it would spend three years expanding Telstra's long-haul, metro, and regional optical fixed and mobile networks by supplying, installing, and integrating Ciena's converged packet-optical solution.

Under the program, Telstra's networks will have vertical network elements brought into a software-defined horizontal network cloud layer.

Telstra this year also launched the Telstra Programmable Network (TPN), calling it a network-as-a-service offering via combining its networks, cloud platform, datacentres, network function virtualisation (NFV), and SDN capabilities in one integrated platform.

According Wright, the main goal for TPN is to individualise networks and services for its customers.

"Essentially, we want to be able to program our networks and services by starting with some of the business elements on the side and self-serve whether we want caching, or firewalls, or architectures that are spun up in software, rather than the traditional way," he said in September.

"We want to be able to paint a glass, dial up the functionality for ourselves, and configure the bandwidth and speed of those devices."

Since the unveiling in May, the telco has added a virtual branch network software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) solution in partnership with VeloCloud.

Also tipped to be deployed on TPN by the end of the year is Design Wizard for customer-led pre-designed templates, while future releases slated for 2018 would see managed services -- to design, configure, maintain, and manage services -- and dynamic IP for real-time control of IP VPN networks added.

Available now on TPN are Datacentre Interconnect; Exchange, to connect to Telstra and partner networks; and Marketplace, to install virtual network functions.

The network upgrades and expansions follow Telstra last year flagging that it would invest more in its network after a series of outages throughout 2016.

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