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Telstra's new network centre: Photos

Telstra this morning launched a multi-million dollar network operations centre to manage the enterprise networks of 1,100 corporate Telstra customers who have paid for the premium service.
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1 of 10 Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet.com.au

The centre is housed in Telstra House at 231 Elizabeth St in the Sydney CBD.

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2 of 10 Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet.com.au

The network centre has pulled together teams from different locations.

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3 of 10 Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet.com.au

Up on the seventh floor next to the centre, group managing director, Telstra networks and services, Michael Rocca and Telstra executive director, national sales, Nerida Caesar talked seriously about the centre, which has been 18 months in the making and will manage the 37,000 routers and switches in 1,100 corporate customers' networks.

"We know what's happening before the customer feels anything," Rocca said.

Rocca would not elaborate on the pricing for taking companies' network problems off their hands, saying only that it varied contract by contract. "This is a premium service that we offer," he said.

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4 of 10 Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet.com.au

In the hub of the centre itself, which Telstra had dubbed the flight deck, network engineers face an enormous video screen, longer than a Sydney bus, bought for a "substantial investment". This floor currently houses 150 staff, while another sister floor has 140, although there is room for 50 per cent growth.

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5 of 10 Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet.com.au

Mark Gehan, the managed network operations centre manager, talked about what he termed "his baby".

On the massive screen behind him is information about the status of the Telstra core network, streamed from the company's general operation centre in Melbourne, which handles problems with the core network. The managed network centre is about the impact of such problems on major customers.

Information about the 1,100 companies' 37,000 network routers is available to the network engineers on their individual consoles. They receive alarms when there is a problem with any of the network devices. Telstra is currently working on developing the video screen system further to be able to put more than just the core network information on the large display.

"Operationally, we own the customer experience until the very end," Gehan said. "When a site goes down, its not a box that goes down, it's a customer that can't make a transaction."

Before the centre, employees would have had to make calls to isolate faults, do some administration checks and then call the customer back a second or third time to get on top of issues, Gehan said.

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6 of 10 Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet.com.au

A closer look at the core network information showed the status of the Telstra network this morning. Gehan said that if four or five of the boxes from the lower left-hand side were red, half the eastern seaboard would be out.

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7 of 10 Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet.com.au

At such times, employees head to the Major Incident Room.

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8 of 10 Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet.com.au

The room can also access the general operation centre's information on the core network. It has a Telstra telepresence system so the team in Sydney can talk to the team in Melbourne, and so that customers can listen into the state of play and understand what is going on.

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9 of 10 Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet.com.au

The collaborative whiteboard allows teams in any hooked-up location to use a special marker to underline where the problem lies. The doodled version of the sheet can be printed.

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10 of 10 Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet.com.au

However, it seemed the system was not completely idiot-proof.

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