Optus gets cloudy for data mobility

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Optus gets cloudy for data mobility

4G network still limited.

Optus is embracing software defined networking in the cloud as a means of dealing with high traffic data events such as emergencies, sporting events and holidays celebrations such as new years eve.

The carrier is conducting trials with US-based Connectem, which offers a software platform called Connectem Virtual Core for Mobile (VCM).

“It allows for easier expansion of capacity during high needs events,” said Stuart MacIntyre, Optus general manager of network strategy.

The idea behind the software is to optimise dataflow via the cloud and then through the carrier’s back end.

The trial, which will begin early next year, is in contrast to the microcell strategy being trialled by other carriers.

According to McIntyre, the idea is about being able to handle peak data while still being able to provide a consistent carrier experience.

In related Optus news, the company revealed it is running a two-horse strategy when it comes to mobile data.

Over 3000 sites have already been upgraded to what it calls 3G Plus, a moniker it has given to towers which have been “refarmed” from 2G to 3G on the 900MHz spectrum.

Optus wasn’t forthcoming about the speeds users can expect from 3G Plus, however it was bullish about its ability to offer greater in-building coverage.

Its 4G, or LTE network is still limited compared to its chief competitor, Telstra.

Sydney has been launched followed by Melbourne and Brisbane CBDs. Adelaide is expected in mid-2013, with Canberra in the March-April timeframe.

Update - 4 December. This story was modified to reflect the fact Optus is already conducting trials with Connectum. The story originally stated trials are set to begin. It has also been changed to reflect 3000, rather than 4000 base stations upgraded to 3G Plus. 

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