Telstra unveils AU$1.5 billion IP core

The nation's largest telco today claimed success for delivering a key part of its internal technology transformation -- a new AU$1.5 billion Internet Protocol-based (IP) network core dubbed "Next IP".

The nation's largest telco today claimed success for delivering a key part of its internal technology transformation -- a new AU$1.5 billion Internet Protocol-based (IP) network core dubbed "Next IP".

Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo detailed the upgrade to reporters in Sydney this morning, saying his company had been working on the new network -- which uses hardware from Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent, Juniper and Tellabs -- for the past 18 months.

Trujillo declined to say exactly how the AU$1.5 billion had been allocated, saying Telstra's deals with the networking vendors were subject to "private negotiation".

The Telstra boss said Next IP was slated to function as a multi-purpose replacement for a "spaghetti" mesh of existing legacy networks which had been built over the years for specific functions.

"In the next couple of years, once we get past the 2008 period, we will begin removing a lot of that legacy equipment. I can't tell you network by network or system by system, but over time, we will be doing that," Trujillo told reporters, adding Telstra was working with customers such as large enterprises on migration plans for their services.

Trujillo noted Next IP "had already been dimensioned to meet current customer demand", although construction continued behind the scenes.

"The network provides world-class reliability, enhanced security and its IP/multiprotocol layer switching core is 77 times more scalable (up to 92Tbps per node) than the old network, with 99.999 percent reliability," a Telstra statement said.

Telstra's upgrade comes at a time when many large enterprises are converging their networks on the IP standard, moving away from legacy technologies such as ATM and frame relay.

IP is particularly being used to bring applications such as voice, video and unified communications onto enterprise networks that have traditionally only been used for data such as e-mail, Web access and electronic transactions.

At the briefing, Telstra group managing director of its Enterprise and Government division, David Thodey, detailed several customers already using the Next IP network -- Lyell McEwin hospital in South and Australia and national electrical retailer Retravision.

Also today, Trujillo met with Cisco's global chief executive John Chambers in Sydney to recognise a number of Telstra staff who have received certification from the giant networking vendor.

Telstra also announced it had installed four of Cisco's TelePresence 3000 videconferencing units -- at a cost of US$299,000 each -- in its Sydney and Melbourne facilities (two for each city).