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How Optus Plans To Solve Network Congestion

You snap a photo on your smartphone. It could have been that band playing your favourite song, or it could be Ricky Ponting being cheered off the pitch after his last innings or even the New Year’s fireworks exploding around you. Amidst the symphony of sound, light and music, you go to share that photo on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and the inevitable happens: “Unable to Send”, and congestion is to blame. Here’s how Optus is planning to make failed messages a thing of the past.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

As of next year, you’ll be able to share, tweet, post, update, call, message, Facetime or Skype from any major event using the Optus network no matter how many people are there. There could be 100 people doing using the network at once or 1000 people, this new plan doesn’t care.

The plan hinges on the cloud. Yes, the nebulous cloud is back. More specifically, however, the plan depends on technology from a US start-up by the name of Connectem to deploy a cloud-based mobile packet core.

Silly names and nebulous terms aside, this technology will be used to virtualise the hardware Optus is using to handle its network traffic. A packet core is used to move data traffic around the network to provide connectivity to the internet, and the virtualisation of that packet core means Optus can scale up and scale down the capacity of the packet core at short notice.

That means major sporting events, concerts and anywhere where there’s going to be a large congregation of people can benefit from Optus throwing more blade servers at the packet core to increase network capacity as required.

Optus has deployed the virtual packet core at its Macquarie Park campus in Sydney and in the next six months, it will hopefully begin public trials of the networking gear.

Hopefully this means an end to network congestion at big events. Now all we need to do is make the trains as smooth.

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