Ciena, Ericsson, and Telstra have successfully trialed continuous data encryption while maintaining speed and reliability over 21,940 km across multiple cable systems.
Transpacific Cables Used for ULH Encryption Test
Source: Telecomdrive Bureau
The engineering teams demonstrated the ability to encrypt data securely while in transit between Los Angeles and Melbourne at 100 Gbit/s, using Ciena’s ultra-low latency 100 Gigabit wire-speed encryption solution.
With the digitalization of business processes and data consumption rapidly rising, the need to keep data secure without compromising integrity or significantly increasing latency is essential at both the application and network layers.
Organizations with higher security obligations, such as those in the Finance, Healthcare, Defense, and Government sectors, as well as Data Center Operators, will be particularly interested in this new encryption technology. Testing this functionality is an essential step in the path towards commercialization so Telstra can be sure of service quality prior to deployment.
Darrin Webb, Executive Director of International Operations and Services at Telstra, says: “This demonstration shows that customer services with large bandwidth requirements can be secured and data transported across virtually any distance and over an underlying network that uses multiple vendors. This means we can provide service consistency regardless of the cable system used. Customers will also be able to protect their data not only at the application layer, but also at the network layer without any reduction in quality.
“Enhancing our network leadership in the Asia Pacific region is a priority for us and this innovation continues our commitment to providing customers with a world-class network experience,” says Webb.
Emilio Romeo, Head of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand, says: “A series of advanced demonstrations such as these are necessary before any product is released commercially. In partnership with Telstra and Ciena, Ericsson provides end-to-end systems integration expertise to deliver the secure solution, with our teams continuing to hit faster encryption milestones. In January 2015, we had success at 200 Gbit/s between Melbourne and Sydney, then with 10 Gbit/s speeds over the greater distance from Melbourne to Los Angeles in January this year. Now we have achieved 100 Gbit/s. Ericsson will continue to support
Telstra’s path toward commercialization of this enhanced security capability.”
While encryption solutions exist today to protect data when it is ‘at rest’ (at the start and end points), this trial demonstrates the advanced security that can be delivered while data is ‘in transit’, that is, being transmitted beyond the walls of a data center across extensive networks, without any impact to performance.
Source: Telecomdrive Bureau
ANALYSIS: This is one of the first opportunities that Ciena has had to work with Telstra, a company which has emerged over the last ten years from its incumbency in Australia and a failed infrastructure joint venture with PCCW, to become a major driving force for innovation and change in the Pacific wholesale market.
Telstra’s move to take up this leadership role began with the acquisition of pan-Asian regional operator, PacNet in 2014. Overnight, the Company became one of the largest operators of submarine fiber optic cables in the region.
Telstra then embarked on a strategy of innovation, leveraging the assets it had acquired. Having always had a strong relationship with the main turnkey submarine system suppliers, TE SubCom, ASN, and NEC, Telstra developed a new and deep relationship with start-up supplier of the photonic integrated circuit, Infinera. As a result, Telstra became involved in proving Infinera’s technology in the field, much in the same way as Cable & Wireless has done for Xtera in the Caribbean.
Many upgrades followed to the various submarine assets in Telstra’s portfolio, mainly using Infinera technology. The problem for operators of this kind of infrastructure is, so the accepted wisdom goes, that it is very difficult to add value to a “dumb pipe”. System suppliers have risen to this challenge by developing Remotely Operated Add/Drop Multiplexers (ROADMs) and Wavelength Selective Switching (WSS), along with coherent detection, but cable operators have generally been inactive in this area. Telstra, on the other hand, has recently announced an “Always On” wholesale bandwidth on-demand service, leveraging the highly meshed network that the Company operates in the region.
Now, Telstra has bought into another innovation from Ciena (with Ericsson’s help to integrate the various systems) which moves its proposition from the physical layer to the application layer and makes its traditionally wholesale services attractive to large organizations and enterprises that require a high level of security. The article mentions “Finance, Healthcare, Defense, and Government sectors, as well as Data Center Operators” but content providers with huge customer databases holding highly personal information should also be interested in this innovation.
It was not long ago that companies like Infinera, Ciena, and Xtera were feted for showing the traditional turnkey suppliers in the market that they had to alter their mindset by making their terrestrial terminal technology compatible with submarine line terminal equipment. However, as the “new” upgrade market created by these companies has rapidly matured over the last few years, they have been forced to think outside the box to keep their submarine cable customers interested.
Now, those same companies are established players fighting hard to survive in a highly competitive market. While Xtera filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection and Infinera is currently restructuring, the consensus recommendation of analysts interviewed by Zacks Investment research for Ciena is 1.5, where the scale runs from 1 to 5, with 1 recommending Strong Buy and 5 recommending a Strong Sell.
Julian Rawle, Author
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