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.



    Thats awesome. now all optus have to figure out how to do is actually improve their 3/4G coverage to a useable, consistent level. The irony is, the only 'cloud' related issue for optus, is how poorly their network performs when it's actually a bit cloudy or overcast. No wait, thats just them.

      What? I couldn't tell you the last time I had a call drop out on Optus and where I live - at the bottom of a very steep valley - their coverage is no worse than Telstra. If you're having issues, maybe it's your handset? I know my modem drops out all the time but when I tether the phone, the connection is far more consistent.

      Last edited 05/12/12 6:01 pm

        Daily dropouts here. Even with an Optus Femtocell plugged in. And if it is handset issues, then it affects a huge range of random handsets.

        Maybe you are just lucky and live/work/socialise in good coverage areas. Some of us are quite the opposite.

      Agreed. I cannot count how many times their data services just fail on me when I am out and about. It doesn't happen everywhere, but when I am in places where I feel I can reasonably expect to have fully functioning service, I am let down (along with other Optus customers I know).

      Part of the problem, in my opinion, is that we don't have strong enough competition. We have "competitors" who are simply content with being same-same only sliiiiiightly different and operating to a mediocre standard. It results in consumers never actually having that much of a difference in product offerings and quality of service. Not to mention the saturation of "providers" who are owned and operated by the same major providers at the end of the day.

      All the cloud in the world is not going to fix the congestion bottlenecks between handset and base station. This article is basically a lie. It describes changes to part of the system that are not the bottleneck.

    Doesn't sound good to me. The world needs as little of this cloud crap as possible.

    Thats pretty clever thinking. I wonder if it will be deployed to peak hour traffic routes to assist in those high demand times such as the morning commute.

    JUST BLOODY WELL DO IT! I am on Optus, have been for 11 years. For the last two years I have worked in the CBD of Sydney, Optus eats a big long thick veiny charizo. They say it's congestion, I say, of course it's congestion... IT'S THE CBD OF AUSTRALIA'S BIGGEST CITY! BUILD MORE BLOODY TOWERS. While your at it, stop letting bloody woolies, Virgin and Dodo sell cheap as fuck plans with 10GB of data, while you nickle and dime your own customers.

    I will be going to Telstra on the 12th of July 2013 when my current contract runs out. As Shannen Doherty says in Mallrats "too little, too late"

    Last edited 05/12/12 6:22 pm

      Taken your medication lately? First world problem mate, calm down.

      There is a reason why DODO is cheap.

      There service is complete shite.

      You do get what you pay for.

      "I WISH MY PHONE AND INTERNET WAS DODO" said by no one ever

    This was my biggest complaint with Optus & why eventually had to cough up the extra dolllars to go with Telstra as every time I was at a concert, festival, race etc I might as well have left my phone at home & it was frequent just in regular periods too.

    Yes optus is starting to get as bad a vodaphone, i am getting voicemail messages when my phone has never rung, and i am finding more and more black spots.

    So, Optus will be routing my data through a US company... what privacy safegards are there, does this mean any data sent over optus will now be at the mercy of the US government? (since they seem to be able to breach privacy on whim and get away with it claiming "national security")

    Whilst they may need more packet servers the real issue this ignores is the radio and backhaul network in-order to even get a PS call to the "cloud". Optus will probably use IBS and femto cells in open mode to resolve that.

    Hope its working by Feb for Soundwave in Bris

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