Telstra flicks the switch on A$1.5 billion IP network

Telstra has flicked the switch on a new A$1.5 billion (US$1.25 billion) IP network that the telco says not only homogenizes 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, all-IP 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 described as a “spaghetti dish of back haul networks that didn’t even talk to each other.”

The spokesperson said the Next IP network, which covers 95 per cent of Australian businesses, had taken 18 months to build, but gave no timetable as to when it would be available to the public nor at what cost. No indication was given about what was to happen to Telstra’s existing legacy networks either.

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 ranging from government and mining, to 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 said the launch of the Next IP network was 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 said. “This will make it much easier because it’s a managed network with in-built security and quality of service guarantees.”

Although he thought the IP network would greatly benefit large enterprise customers, Kennedy said there were 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 said. “But this [Telstra’s Next IP network] will make it a lot easier to for small and medium businesses to use the same IP/VPN technology that was previously only available to the budgets of big corporates.”

Telstra said the new network provides enhanced security and that its IP/MPLS core was 77 times more scalable (up to 92Tbps per node) than the old network with 99.999 per cent reliability. When fully scaled up, Telstra said the new network had 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.