Thailand migrating to IP backbone

The Telephone Organization of Thailand (TOT) is to embark on a US$9 million expansion of its nationwide IP (Internet Protocol) backbone network following the successful implementation of the first phase of its network.

The first phase, which cost US$20 million, enabled national carrier TOT to set up 74 network points of presence around the country, capable of supporting 15,000 concurrent VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls and 28,000 data access calls, according to the project’s systems integrator, Datacraft Asia Ltd.

The second phase of the project doubles the capacity of the network, and will enable TOT to offer wholesale bandwidth for third-party ISPs (Internet service providers).

The network has been built around Cisco Systems Inc.’s high-end 12000 Series routers, and runs though five fibre-optic rings. It uses DPT (Dynamic Packet Transfer) technology to provide the high bandwidth required to support real-time voice and Internet access, and MPLS (Multi Protocol Label Switching) technology to support virtual private networks, Datacraft said in a statement Friday.

TOT’s network also provide a redundant, nationwide ISP infrastructure using Layer 4 switches and firewall technology for customers needing services such as Web hosting, mail, news and domain name service.

In many countries where the telecommunication market has been liberalized, VoIP services are introduced by smaller startup competitors to the national monopoly. In Thailand, and other Asian markets which are yet to liberalize, VoIP has been adopted by the monopoly carriers to bolster their position ahead of possible market deregulation.

The open architecture of VoIP technology enables operators to add capacity at less than 50 per cent of the cost of traditional public-switched telephone networks (PSTN), Datacraft said.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has stated that the investment cost to provide access over VoIP can be as little as 20 per cent of the cost needed for a PSTN line, and that IP backbones are therefore very suited to the communication needs of developing countries.