Telecom Infrastructure in AP Must Be Upgraded

Telecommunication carriers must upgrade their network infrastructures to better handle the increasing amount of data transmitting over their telephone lines.

According to Chia Kim Seah, regional sales manager, Krone Far East, the current network infrastructure here is unable to cope with the growing data speed requirements driven by the rise of the Internet.

With market deregulation and the need to be more competitive, there is increasing demand to upgrade the existing infrastructure here, which is currently only at "voice grade", making it problematic to transmit high bandwidth data, said Chia.

Krone operates in the field of telecommunications and data networks, with its portfolio ranging from products for copper and optical fiber infrastructures, and network design and analysis.

Internet users in Singapore, typically running 56K-per-bit-second (pbs) modems, are seldom able to transmit over the Internet at optimized speed, Chia explained, adding that they usually log on to the Web at speeds of between 33K bps and 44K bps.

The traditional Graham Bell PBX system was built on a concept that phone calls would last an average of three minutes each, according to Tony Wise, Asia-Pacific vice president, Internetworking Systems, service provider, Lucent Technologies Inc. But in fact, people are making calls longer than that, noted Wise.

"With the Internet too, the number of telephone calls is reaching its peak," he explained. "So you get congestion... and callers experience dropped lines." He added that Australia is now already experiencing this "drop call" phenomenon.

Broadband Growth

So generally, all carriers are very keen on improving their network infrastructures in order to provide broadband access, Krone's Chia said. He noted that while SingaporeONE, the country's broadband network, has not been a resounding success so far, its days are far from over.

"Broadband demand will pick up eventually," said Chia, "Bandwidth now is actually a scarce commodity. What carriers are doing now is to upgrade their existing infrastructure so they can provide their customers with higher bandwidth at lower cost."

"So eventually, bandwidth will become a commodity," he predicted. And when it does, users will then look towards broadband services, such as those offered by SingaporeONE, he said.

"Eventually, I foresee SingTel and StarHub coming together to jointly invest on upgrading their infrastructure," he said, adding that this will not only prove more cost-effective for both companies, their customers will benefit as well.

Krone recently unveiled AccessNet, its portfolio of products and services for communication networks, targeted at carriers, network operators, and Internet service providers.

The new offering provides a suite of broadband and narrowband products and services for interconnectivity, delivery and subscriber interface application areas, and includes initial consultation, network analysis, implementation, and maintenance, according to Krone.

Regional market potential for Krone's AccessNet are in countries such as Vietnam, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia, which are still growing their infrastructures, Chia said. The company's current customers include Singapore Telecommunications, Philippines' Globe Telecom, Telekom Malaysia, and Vietnam Post & Telecom.

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