Deutsche Telekom upgrades international IP network

NETWORKS

By EDWARD HARROFF

Deutsche Telekom (DTAG) is strengthening its position as a global network infrastructure provider by leveraging the ongoing investment program from its German national Internet protocol (IP) transport network into neighboring European markets by linking new cross-border broadband IP services.

Recent network infrastructure announcements from Gerd Tenzer, a member of Deutsche Telekom's management board responsible for networks, confirms that actual data volume from IP traffic has increased at a faster rate than was forecast. Tenzer reports that in the last year, "data volume has doubled every five months instead of every 10 months. [The] DTAG IP platform is handling monthly volumes of 1.2 million Gbytes." He mentions that the DTAG IP backbone network consists of 10 double network nodes with 64 regional nodes. This core network configuration has reserve capacity to handle more than 80 Gbits/sec.

This former German incumbent tele-communications operator has invested in the Telekom Global Net project to pursue more diverse IP services beyond the German border. In Europe, Telekom Global Net will extend from Germany to Austria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Czech Republic. An SDH network is also being built in the United States and Canada that links 15 locations, and DTAG has market presence in Asia.

The DTAG worldwide network is controlled by the Telekom International Net Management Center in Frankfurt am Main. "The combination of our worldwide high-speed network with state-of-the-art control systems and optimally qualified staff in our international network-management center guarantees optimum provisioning times for our customers and top levels of availability for service," says Tenzer. "With this network, we will not only be equipped for the current, galloping growth in IP, we will also be setting standards for the quality requirements of the services of tomorrow."

The timing of the Telekom Global Net project fits perfectly with another major milestone for DTAG's international ambitions: TAT-14. With a transport capability of more than 1 Tbit/sec, TAT-14 is one of the most efficient cable networks to link Europe and the United States. This submarine-cable ring system enables data traffic to be protected in case of a cable interruption.

The ring system reaches from the United States across the Atlantic south around Great Britain up to the North Sea and travels north of Scotland back across the Atlantic. Besides Deutsche Telekom's termination point in Norden, Germany, further European points are in the United Kingdom (Bude), France (Saint-Valéry-en-Caux), the Netherlands (Katwijk), and Denmark (Noerre Nebel). In the United States, termination points are located in Manasquan and Tuckerton, NJ.

Deutsche Telekom is the fourth-largest investor in the TAT-14 transatlantic cable project. The new transatlantic data highway was launched along with 49 other international telecom companies at the end of March.

Stéphane Téral, director of European optical transport service at RHK, views the DTAG moves as "somewhat slow in comparison with other major European telcos. The big names in the Internet service-provider [ISP] market definitely include the Internet offspring of former telcos. They push the importance of network ownership. T-Online, the Internet arm of Deutsche Telekom, has leverage DTAG's IP platform to become one of the largest ISPs despite limited cross-border coverage. Telekom Global Net project permits T-Online to really grow internationally starting just across the German borders in Europe's emerging Internet market."

With the exception of BT Openworld, all of the major telco competitors are trying to push ISP business beyond their traditional geographical focus: France Telecom with Wanadoo and FreeServe, Telefónica (Spain) through Terra Lycos, UPC (Netherlands) with Chello, and Tiscali (Italy) with World On-line.

According to the International Tele-communication Union (ITU), the Internet market penetration represents only one-third of the population in all of Europe's major markets, including France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. This underdeveloped situation is gradually being sorted out as European regulators wrangle over suitable pricing models for Internet services.

DTAG has been busy building local T-Online presence in all of the markets that will be serviced by Telekom Global Net project. The first important subnetworks were constructed last year. Major European cities, including Amsterdam, Brussels, London, and Paris, were connected by broadband links in a ring structure, then joined to DTAG's national network. Geneva, Zurich, and Milan were also connected recently.

This year, DTAG intends to combine all production activities of the telecom infrastructure into one group called T-Networks. Only the D1 GSM mobile network is excluded. DTAG has a strategic partnership with Cisco Systems, Alcatel, and Lucent Technologies to realize a new generation of optical transmission systems.

"At the current time, we are in the design phase of the next IP backbone generation," claims Tenzer. "Telekom Global Net will ultimately be the all-important backbone for mobile communications with the introduction of GPRS and then UMTS. Because for high-speed transmission, data will be carried from the mobile terminal equipment via the components of the mobile telephony network into the IP backbone. As a result, the fixed network will not lose any of its importance-it becomes an indispensable part of the multimedia future."

Lightwave is a monthly international publication focusing on fiber optics and optoelectronics and the technologies driving the growth, convergence, and improved performance of telephony, computer communications, and video. Lightwave provides technology news as well as applications and product information for corporate and tech-nical managers and staff engineers. Lightwave's editors emphasize analysis and interpretation in their reports on the technological impact of fiber-optic components, systems, and networks in these markets.

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