Improving diversity through scale across the world’s most challenging cable routes

Article content

For carriers, cloud and content providers, every millisecond lost through poor latency or downtime can be quantified in terms of lost revenue. When connecting to the world’s most populous, fastest-growing region, the importance of available connectivity cannot be understated.

Yet, Asia remains the most challenging part of the world to maintain uptime. As a region, Asia encounters more cable outages than other locations, primarily due to natural disasters such as earthquakes, damage by ships due to shallow waters and a highly competitive fishing industry.

Diversity through scale

While it is almost impossible to stop cable damages from occuring, Telstra has invested in network leadership scale to minimise impact on our carrier and cloud customers as well as content partners.

Aside from having the largest wholly-owned network in the Asia Pacific that hosts up to a third of the region’s Internet traffic, we provide customers with diverse paths both from the US to Asia, and within Asia itself.

Within Asia, Telstra provides an ‘Always-on’ assurance to customers, guaranteeing uptime across core Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo routes. This is because we have one primary path and two protection paths over three different wholly-owned cable systems offering redundancy.

Telstra recently entered into agreements to invest in two new international subsea cable systems connecting Hong Kong and the West Coast of the United States. Telstra will partner to build the new Hong Kong Americas (HKA) cable, as well as invest in capacity on the Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN).  Combined with our investment in the AAG cable between South East Asia and the US, Telstra will be able to provide three diverse cable routes from the US to HK, ensuring resiliency and availability.

Beyond cables – maintaining connectivity through innovation and on-the-ground support

Telstra’s network innovation also enables business continuity options for carriers, cloud and content partners through our Telstra Programmable Network (TPN). TPN enables software-defined networking to quickly spin up or down capacity across our IP network on an on-demand basis.

Yet, while technological investment and innovation is critical, it is also not the full story. Support from the largest wet segment engineering team in Asia, both on-the-ground in Asia and also at-sea, is essential to create relationships that enable quick repairs.

For example, Telstra’s scale enables a dedicated ship be on-call to respond quickly to incidents. This enables us to repair faults on the C2C and EAC cable routes in a timely manner, making Telstra one of the very few carriers with such a capability.  Meanwhile, the expertise and know-how of our engineers and other staff across Asia – backed by our strong relationships with the governments of key countries – ensure that otherwise difficult projects and repairs are implemented smoothly both in the water and on the ground.

The enormity of the opportunity in Asia is matched by the challenge of staying connected to, and across, this vast and complex region. To thrive in Asia, carriers, cloud and content players will require a leading network backed by scale, diversity and a strong incident response capability, which will let them stay connected across the world’s most challenging cable routes.

This article first appeared in the ITW 2018 blog.