Big Pond architecture needs a carrier-grade revamp, says Telstra exec

Any IT manager that has suffered the wrath of customers and staff during an unforseen outage should spare a thought for Telstra's battle-hardened head of network services, Michael Lawrey. Yet having endured Telstra's pillorying in the mainstream media over the Big Pond e-mail "brown out", Lawrey is surprisingly frank about what went wrong and why.

"A lot of the Big Pond platform and technology base was put in some time ago. Big Pond has grown [enormously]. We need to move that architecture closer to what I'd loosely term a carrier environment - rather than a traditional 'Internet enterprise' environment it has grown up in," he says, adding the difference between the two is "scalability, operability and the customer experience".

At the heart of the issue is that much of the Internet's delivery architecture was just never designed to do the sort of carrier-grade work it now does, says Lawrey, arguing that while Telstra's PSTN (public switched telephone network) has had some 80 years of fine-tuning, TCP/IP technology is growing up fast.

"The Internet space is relatively new and built on enterprise [rather than carrier]-grade equipment. Internet and e-mail was only ever a best effort, store-and-forward system. What we need to evolve to, if we are serious about having it as a mainstream communications mechanism for the future, is how we move the architecture closer to a carrier-grade.

"From a global perspective that's not just Telstra, that is all carriers. I'm not saying it will ever be carrier-grade, but it needs to move closer to that from the sort of architecture and environment we have today," Lawrey says.

While circumspect about what Telstra will do immediately, Lawrey says that "key vendors [have been called and] engaged in looking at the way forward to future-proof" against further outages, adding that Telstra CEO Ziggy Switkowski has committed to results by the first quarter of 2004.

As for the future of IP telephony (IPT), Lawrey says Telstra will forge ahead with solutions in the enterprise space such as the recent Westpac deal, but that any mass market conversion for private-line consumers is still a decade away - good news for revenue and shareholders at least.

Aside from the technological challenges of IPT, Telstra's 30-year survivor of the PMG Technician in Training program frankly admits it's as much about money as the technology.

"There are hundreds of views, but whether there is a sustainable business model is the key. That needs to be put in place. It's got to have a value proposition for the customer base, but it also has to make sure that it's sustainable [for carriers] at the end of the day. If [carriers] don't get a return on investment then you are not going to get people wanting to invest in communications networks," Lawrey said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Julian Bajkowski

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?