Two telcos there have upgraded their infrastructures to boost network capabilities and cross-border bandwidth to cope with the ‘global content economy’.

A six-month project to upgrade Vodafone NZ’s entire international optical network has been completed, enabling a dedicated, resilient and diverse set of internet pathways upon which international data can be transferred at millisecond speed.

This means the telco is now the only operator in New Zealand offering exclusive-use optical capacity across all three international fiber optic cables—Tasman Global Access (TGA), Southern Cross and Hawaiki.

Andrew McDonald, Head of Wholesale, Vodafone NZ explained: “Data transfer is increasingly important in today’s inter-connected world, and organizations like banks and government agencies need to know their data is transferred via reliable and resilient pathways. New Zealanders are consuming around 40% more data every year and so businesses need to plan for future growth in applications.”

Bigger and faster bandwidth

According to McDonald, this rebuild of the international optical network is important for applications like video calling, where enterprises need to transmit video from thousands of online conference calls between locations across New Zealand and Sydney at millisecond speeds.

“No one likes lags or buffering delays, and this new technology increases capacity on our international fiber optic technology,” he said, adding that “sensible infrastructure sharing can make sense, enabling us to wholesale services to other industry participants so that they can then in turn provide great retail services to customers.”

Vodafone and Ciena had been working closely to complete the network upgrade using a ‘converged packet’ optical platform that integrates comprehensive Ethernet, Time Division Multiplexing and Wavelength Division Multiplexing capabilities in single platforms for cost-effective delivery of emerging and existing services—from the access edge, along the backbone core, and across ocean floors.

Said Matt Vesperman, Managing Director, Ciena Australia and New Zealand: “The eruption of the global content economy has made programmable optical networks critical in meeting user demands especially across borders” and that Vodafone “can now deliver high levels of performance and accelerate innovation.”

Telstra’s 400G upgrade

Meanwhile, Telstra has also announced the successful commercial launch of wavelength services based on 400G technology. This significantly increases Telstra’s network capacity while reducing power consumption, footprint and time to market for customers.

With this upgrade, Telstra is now able to deliver 400G wavelengths in its optical transmission network and between data centers to offer better customer experiences. This upgrade responds to the unprecedented capacity requirements that have been seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring Telstra can quickly and efficiently scale the core network capacity to meet capacity uplifts, while preparing Telstra’s network for the next generation of technology demands, including those from 5G, network slicing and edge compute.

The higher bandwidth services can now be delivered with a single card, offering on-demand capacity, from 100G up to 400G. This upgrade increases Telstra’s optical network capacity by 400% per wavelength, allowing Telstra to deliver high capacity services to its customers in a shorter period of time, as well to quickly and efficiently scale the transmission network for future needs.

Decreasing time to market

Chris Meissner, Transport, IP Core & Edge Engineering, Telstra, said: “Telstra’s network is geared for 5G, cloud computing, and applications like edge-computing, and this is a significant and fundamental upgrade to the hidden infrastructure that powers our business across Australia. By upgrading our optical transmission networks with 400G technology, Telstra will be able to cater for capacity demands of up to 400% of what was previously achievable. The upgrade enables us to rapidly-deliver services to customers at scale without fiber builds, decreasing the time to market from weeks, to days”.

The upgrade was achieved via Ericsson services using equipment from Ciena. Emilio Romeo, Head of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand said: “This optical transmission upgrade … ensures Telstra can achieve transmission cost efficiencies and scale to meet the traffic demands that come with media-rich and next-generation services including 5G and edge compute services. This latest industry milestone will ensure that Australia remains at the cutting-edge of telecommunications technology.”

Ciena’s Vice President & General Manager (Asia Pacific and Japan) Rick Seeto added: “The ability to offer 400G connectivity is critical to supporting Australians’ digital-first lifestyle. (Our) coherent optical technology coupled with a software-defined approach helps create an agile, flexible network that can dynamically adapt to changing customer needs.”