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Telstra taps Ericsson for software-defined networking

Ericsson will supply software-defined networking support to Australian telco giant Telstra as part of its continued optical network equipment and services contract.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Telstra will explore the benefits of software-defined networking, and network function virtualisation (NFV) as part of a renewed deal with Ericsson supplying optical network equipment and services to the telco giant.

In a network, the flow of traffic on the network is determined by the switches and routers. Historically, this is managed on the hardware itself. Under software-defined networking (SDN), software is installed on the network equipment to abstract the control of network traffic away from the forwarding of packets, to allow the network administrator to centrally and programatically determine where and how data flows across the network, to prioritise certain types of traffic, and provide quality of service guarantees for particular types of traffic.

As Telstra looks to manage traffic on its fixed and mobile networks, the company has been in discussions with Ericsson since 2013 on the possibility of using SDN services in its network, and today Ericsson announced that as part of its continued contract for optical transport equipment and services, Telstra's network gear will include the ability to utilise SDN and NFV functionality.

Telstra executive director for networks, Mike Wright, said in 2013 that SDN would allow Telstra to bring products to market earlier, and control the flow of data across the network.

"At the end of the day, what that means is we should be able to create services that use less network resource, and at the end of the day lower our capex, and lower our opex," he said.

"And more particularly, allow us to create services more quickly because we will be able to route the services more dynamically and really bring them to market without the traditional intergrating to every network element and every network box."

Telstra's director of transport and routing said that SDN will allow Telstra to cope with the demands for high traffic across different parts of the network.

"The continued improvement of Telstra's optical technology will increase bandwidth capacity and also lower latency which is of growing importance as more and more operations move to the cloud," Robertson said in a statement.

Ericsson will be supplying some Ciena conveged packet optical equipment to Telstra as part of the agreement.

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