Telstra leading Australian phone company and a major telecom player in the Asia
Pacific Rim embarking on an audacious program to migrate to a next-generation,
IP-based backbone network. Established carriers the world over, who are looking to
transform themselves into new, nimble-footed packet telephony providers, would be well
advised to look South and watch closely.
In case you didn't know, Telstra Corporation Limited,
is the 62nd largest organization in the world, and is larger than BellSouth in revenues.
The company has annual revenues of $11 billion, a worldwide staff of 60,000, and
operations in over 30 countries-- including a footprint in virtually every Asia Pacific
Rim country, as well as an expanding presence in Europe and the Americas. In all, the
company provides access to over 200 countries and offers customers a broad portfolio of
services including long-distance, wireless, local, messaging, Internet services,
information services, call center services, outsourcing, and all manner of advanced global
telecommunications services. In a nutshell, the company's got game.
Telstras DMO, or Data Mode of Operation project, is an important
blueprint for convergence in the carrier space. It represents a substantial effort at
re-engineering an existing circuit-switched carrier network to enable the provisioning of
next-generation packet-based data and voice services. One main objective of the DMO is to
prepare Telstra for becoming a major player in the data/Internet revolution the
other is to provide a roadmap to making it all happen with the review and selection
of appropriate products and technology.
Telstras DMO study assessed the companys business and operational visions and
identified the necessary network and systems infrastructure required to support its future
business. The study looked at the entire business context and infrastructure required to
support it across all of Telstras markets from retail to wholesale, and identified
the major business drivers in the data environment and the changing skills that Telstra
will require to operate in the future.
The project was initially established to consolidate Telstras multiple data and
Internet based networks and supporting systems into a single, new generation low-cost
network, supported by an enhanced service managed capability to meet the explosive
growth in data and Internet products. Telstra has the capability of delivering service
across a range of access technologies dialup, HFC, xDSL, satellite, wireless
and is positioning its service offerings to be able to exploit them all. The end game for
Telstra is not simply to provide connectivity, which it does already, but to be a major
player in enhanced, value-added offerings as well.
ATM IN THE CORE
Telstra has made it clear that for the foreseeable future, ATM will form a
significant part of core carriage although progressively more traffic may be
carried as IP over glass. Domestically, ATM has major points of presence in
all capital cities with trunks in excess of 20,000 km circulating the Australian
continent. POPs will be further expanded to major regional areas and a few selected
international sites. Currently, ATM is extending to international links on bilaterals with
the US, Japan, and Singapore, with extensions into the UK and Europe.
Telstras ATM network currently consists of multiple STM-1/OC-3 SDH rings on major
trunking routes (i.e., 155M) with fully redundant transmission between nodes.
Telstras ATM network is serving as a multiservice network for corporate WANs
facilitating the integration of voice, video, and data, and sold as a highly reliable and
redundant service that provides a variety of QoS for any type of enterprise application.
Down the road, Telstra expects to take advantage of the higher bandwidths offered by ATM
to begin offering video applications for enterprise customers the company expects
the implementation of an OC-12/622M backbone next year with delivery of new Passport 15000
switches and STM-16/OC-48 for IP over SDH trunks. In the very near future, it will be the
infrastructure for carriage of mass-market IP services.
Recently, Telstra announced the specifics of Phase One of the DMO, and identified
the next generation network and systems infrastructure necessary to operate in this
rapidly changing environment. The goal was to select technology that would not only meet
the high growth in data traffic on the network from existing products now, but also
provide new capabilities to support products that are on the horizon or not even dreamt of
Telstra challenged the best technology companies in the world to show how they could
help realize Telstras DMO vision through a very competitive selection process. They
chose suppliers judged to be best in class for each major component of the new
generation DMO network, and that have shown an ongoing development program to maintain
DMO contracts for the core network infrastructure were announced and included the
- Nortel Networks will provide the core network, including Internet Protocol (IP) network,
frame relay, ATM data network, and the Telstra Access Server solution technologies and
- Alcatel and Cisco Systems will supply Voice-on-IP technology;
- Alcatel will provide the next-gen network management solutions; and
- Lucent Technologies will provide the dial gateways and associated signaling gateways and
extend the existing dialup IP reach.
A number of elements of the network solution are already in place. The introduction of
network-based IP services such as VPNs will be available within 12 months and the access
server capabilities in a shorter timeframe. Telstra will also be making announcements in
the near future regarding its broadband access directions (including HFC and DSL). Further
announcements will be made throughout the year as Telstra selects partners for the
deployment of broadband access and enhanced services management.
This past December, Telstra introduced a new wholesale VoIP service, enabling
international carriers and emerging Internet Telephony Service Providers (ITSPs) to
transmit voice calls via the Internet. Telstras existing international circuit-based
network currently provides access to more than 200 countries and generates over $200
million annually through the provision of global voice services to international wholesale
The new VoIP service will enhance Telstras global wholesale business by enabling
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) currently offering IP connectivity to expand their
service offerings with voice products, as well as providing Telstras existing
international wholesale customers with more innovative solutions for delivery of voice
traffic throughout the world. Working in partnership with a number of vendors, including Clarent Corporation, Telstras VoIP solutions will
provide a range of choices for delivery of voice services, from integration of VoIP with
traditional networks to full end-to-end delivery via the Internet.
Companies will also have the choice of accessing reliable and competitive PSTN
least-cost routes over the Internet, or have the traffic cleared by Telstra over IP
routes. Telstra will also use Internet technology to develop fully integrated VoIP
clearinghouse facilities as well as online services enabling global wholesale customers to
access real-time information such as billing, data, usage, and capacity profiles directly
Telstra selected Clarent Corporations Signaling System 7 gateway products, the
Clarent Command Center, and other Clarent back-end products to build a state-of-the-art IP
telephony network. Telstra will also benefit from forming minutes exchange partnerships
with other large Clarent carrier customers around the world.
Marc Robins is Associate Group Publisher
for INTERNET TELEPHONY AND CTI magazines. His column, Mind Share, appears monthly in
the pages of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine. Marc looks forward to your feedback.