Telstra transmission network hits 400Gbps

Telstra, Ericsson, and Ciena have announced attaining speeds of 400Gbps across the telco's transmission network using 61.5GHz spectrum in Melbourne.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Ericsson has announced achieving speeds of 400Gbps across Telstra's transmission network in Melbourne in partnership with telecommunications equipment and software provider Ciena.

The demonstration, which made use of 61.5GHz spectrum, constituted the highest ever spectral efficiency per fibre pair in a live setting of 30.4Tbps. The previous record was 25.6Tbps, according to the companies.

Telstra deployed Ciena's WaveLogic Ai modem technology on the 6500 Packet-Optical Platform, which is managed and controlled by Ciena's software-defined platform Liquid Spectrum and Blue Planet Manage Control Plan (MCP) domain controller.

Ericsson then provided the end-to-end supply, installation, and integration of upgraded optical equipment into the transmission network, as well as managing the deployment of technology for the 400Gbps demonstration.

"Telstra has deployed the industry's first fully programmable coherent modem in the world developed by Ciena. It offers up to three times data capacity and enables up to 60 percent reduction in power per bit compared to the modem technology currently deployed in the Telstra network," the companies explained.

"These technologies also open up the opportunity for more flexibility and dynamic software-based control of Telstra's optical transport network. This technology gives Telstra the ability to adjust bandwidth in the network in real-time to optimise capacity and fibre investment to meet customer demands."

Telstra director of IP and Transport Engineering David Robertson added that the telco is using such technologies to enable higher levels of automation, intelligence, and scale in its domestic transmission network, and is additionally looking into deploying it across its global subsea cable network.

The 400Gbps demonstration follows Telstra in December announcing that it had 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.

Its nationwide optical network transformation and expansion was flagged in February last year in partnership with Ericsson as part of its Networks 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.

Telstra group MD of Networks Mike Wright had said the upgrades would 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 said in December.

Telstra earlier this month launched its narrowband IoT network after launching its Cat-M1 IoT network last year.

Telstra last 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.

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