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Solutions  /  Service Provider  /  

Telstra and Cisco partner together ensuring service in times of critical disaster

  • Telstra as Australia’s largest telecommunications provider, has a huge role to play in the community while facing disaster and emergency.
  • Devastating bushfires, floods, cyclones and other natural disasters hit Australia every year destroying homes and impacting the livelihoods of many.
  • Their first priority is to assist the emergency and essential service organisations with their telecommunication requirements.
  • Telstra’s communications technicians are among the first to enter disaster affected areas to restore telecommunications services to their customers


The Challenge:

Australia poses unique geographical challenges for service providers with major points-of-presence separated by large distances with limited options for path diversity. Natural disasters can disrupt optical fibre links, preventing communications and isolating part of the core network – and thus the communities and emergency response teams in those areas


The Solution:

Telstra together with Cisco developed an SDN-Enabled Network Natural Disaster Recovery system for the national IP backbone networks in Australia using Agile development practises to address this very real issue in Australia. 

Telstra developed the solution using Cisco’s Network Services Orchestrator (NSO) and WAN Automation Engine (WAE) platforms to rapidly update network QoS policy to ensure emergency services traffic is prioritised and treated critically once a failure scenario is detected. This ensures that high priority / emergency network traffic to and from the affected communities can be restored as fast as possible saving valuable time & ultimately lives.

The Cisco technology platforms – along with Telstra & Cisco engineering teams rapidly prototyped and developed a solution - with speed enabled via the chosen Cisco platforms which have excellent APIs, development environments, and tight integration to the network.

The project is at the forefront of the establishment of an SDN orchestration & automation practise within Telstra’s Network Engineering group - now engaged & expanding to further develop the solution & to undertake a transformation of network operations.


The Key Technology Stack includes:

  • Cisco Network Services Orchestrator with a custom service package and network element drivers for 3rd party equipment
  • Cisco WAN Automation Engine
  • A custom developed Operator web portal with its own data store


Ensuring the best outcomes for Australian communities and people

Prior to this solution there was no linkage between real world conditions and events – and the operations of the IP network.  Software Defined Networking has enabled this for the first time – and will enable Telstra to ensure the best outcomes for Australian communities & their people.


Reaching Melbourne and Beyond

The solution was initially developed and trialled in Telstra’s model network facilities in Melbourne, Australia – and then taken to a 3-month controlled trial in the production network on Telstra’s core network.

The solution has now been fully operationalised to assist with management of disaster situations in the Far North Queensland region of Australia, with its reach to be expanded into other regions of the country - and the solution capabilities to be further enhanced throughout the next year.

Topic: SDN-Enabled Network | Cisco NSO | WAN Automation Engine (WAE) platforms



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Alongside Telstra, Cisco has developed an SDN-enabled natural disaster recovery system to battle network failures
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