Gbit Ethernet network ready to go

Telstra has teamed with internetworking leader Cisco Systems to create a new inter-capital multimedia network capable of delivering gigabit Ethernet services to corporate customers.

The new service, codenamed ‘EpiCentre', is due to be launched later this year and will be delivered direct to customers, offering on-site interconnection with their local area networks or even desktop computers.

According to Telstra's data and IT solutions retail director, Max Smith, it is an Ethernet plug in the wall.

"If you're in a building, our idea is to give you Ethernet to the wall socket," he said.

A single EpiCentre connection will support a variety of options from a "plug and play" Internet Protocol (IP) based service suitable for customers with limited in-house networking expertise through to advanced Virtual Private Network services.

EpiCentre has been built using Cisco equipment from end to end and will be marketed jointly by the two companies as a Cisco Powered Network.

Cisco regional manager for the Telstra business unit Steve Blunt said the service is both a network and enterprise solution.

"The Cisco and Telstra sales forces will work together to take this new service to customers," Blunt said.

Based on common equipment, Cisco Powered Networks feature advanced end-to-end management and quality of service capabilities. For instance, EpiCentre customers will be able to self-configure services at will via the Web. They will also have access to comprehensive reporting functions.

The new network went live on a trial basis in May and is being used to connect Cisco's own information technology operations in Melbourne and Sydney.

Subject to success of the trial, a full commercial service should be available in major Australian capital cities later this year.

The EpiCentre will be able to carry integrated voice, data and video traffic and has been designed as a cost-effective way for customers to interconnect offices in metropolitan areas and link to Telstra's IP-based services such as Big Pond and hosted applications.

Customers will be able to buy bandwidth on the new network in increments from 10Mbit/sec to 1000Mbit/sec. Pricing is yet to be finalised.

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