Telstra flicks the switch on new IP network

The Next IP project is kicking into gear

Telstra has launched a new A$1.5 billion (NZ$1.67 billion) IP network that it says not only homogenises its disparate networking core, but is also the largest of its kind in the world.

Aimed at businesses and dubbed ‘Next IP’, the carrier-grade network integrates both wireline and Telstra’s wireless Next G network so that fixed and mobile voice services, data and internet access are all tied together in a neat bundle. Previously, sections of back-haul network core existed independently of others in what a Telstra spokesperson describes as a “spaghetti dish of back haul networks that didn’t even talk to each other.” The spokesperson says the Next IP network, which covers 95% of Australian businesses, has taken 18 months to build, but gave no timetable as to when it would be available to the public, or at what cost. No indication was given about what was to happen to Telstra’s existing legacy networks.

Speaking at the launch for Next IP, Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo said the network would simplify communications for large and small businesses across sectors including government, mining, education, healthcare and retail.

“The core of the network has been completely rebuilt,’’ Trujillo said. “The Telstra Next IP network is the latest achievement in Telstra’s five-year transformation, giving businesses in both metro and regional areas more possibilities, more convenience and more control over their businesses.”

Ovum analyst David Kennedy says the launch of the network is a big step in the right direction for Telstra.

“For too long now, a lot of companies in the enterprise market have had to rely too heavily on the public internet and that has made it highly difficult to develop stable applications and IP-based services,” he says. “This will make it much easier because it’s a managed network with in-built security and quality of service guarantees.”

Although he thinks the IP network will greatly benefit large enterprise customers, Kennedy says there are equal advantages for smaller players.

“Up until this point smaller and medium-sized businesses have had to build their own IP networks out of the public internet,” he says. “But this [Telstra’s Next IP network] will make it a lot easier to for small and medium-sized businesses to use the same IP/VPN technology that was previously only available to the budgets of big corporates.”

Telstra says the new network provides enhanced security and that its IP/MPLS core is 77 times more scalable (up to 92Tbit/s per node) than the old network with 99.999% reliability. When fully scaled up, the new network will have the capability to transfer the data contents of the Australian National Library in 4.6 seconds, and to connect three billion telephone calls in one second, according to Telstra.

Last month, Telstra unveiled plans for a new submarine cable from Australia to the US that will increase connectivity between the two countries. The cable is due to be completed next year.

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