Telstra tests high-speed encryption on its carrier network


news Telstra has trialled high-speed optical encryption in its production network between Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney claiming it as a “world first” in data safety.

Telstra said that its network currently provides the connectivity for multiple services from voice and video calls to streaming movies and hosting cloud applications.

“With this massive volume of content creation and consumption, we have an even deeper connection to our information. It has become more personalised, increasing the necessity to keep this data safe and secure,” the telco said in a blog post.

It cited a requirement to protect this data, not only at the end point, but also “in-flight” as it crosses networks.

The optical network is the backbone of Telstra’s national network and enables high speed, reach and robustness.

This 200Gbps encryption demonstration showed that the optical wavelengths that act as “transport pipes” connecting customers to their content can be better protected, thereby protecting all services and data that are carried within that pipe.

Once this encryption technology is deployed in the network, the firm’s customers will be able to protect their data not only at the application layer, but also at the network layer.

High-speed encryption solution is important to enable data to be secured as it transits the network across any distance, with no disruption to the user experience.

The demonstration used the Ciena WaveLogic 3 Extreme transponder card, which can generate wavelengths of light at 100Gbps with Quadrature Phase Shift Keying (QPSK) modulation and 200Gbps with Sixteen Quadrature Amplitude modulation (16QAM).

Ciena’s solution is the first in the industry to embed the encryption algorithm within the application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). This allows the encryption to occur at massive line speeds with virtually no added latency.

Enterprise customers with higher security obligations will be particularly interested in this new encryption technology, the firm said. The option to self-manage the encryption or have Telstra manage it was also demonstrated, removing the requirement for customers to build or manage their own data protection.

Last year Telstra upgraded its network to offer 100Gbps products both domestically and internationally.

“These ongoing investments are vital to meet our customers’ increasing demand for bandwidth and can support secure business applications with low latency and high reliability,” Telstra said.

This encryption trial was supported by Ericsson and Ciena, the strategic supplier of next-generation optical equipment and services for Telstra’s network.


  1. Security theatre. Nothing more. It is a *legal requirement* all Australian carriers be able to give plaintext intercepts to cops so this’ll be backdoored. If you want encryption it needs to be at the application level.

    • This doesn’t stop them from offering the plaintext versions…they encrypt it at the source, and decrypt it at the destination – it is only encrypted while it is traversing the intercap bandwidth…

      Uncle Brandis can still get at it…

    • Precisely Bruce. If you want security, you can’t trust anyone outside to do it for you, particularly a telco who we all know *have to* log everything and keep the metadata for two years.

  2. Silly question time.

    Is this optical encryption on top of the TLS-encrypted transmission protocols like HTTP, SMTP and FTP? Or does it replace those?

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