Cisco’s Support for 2.5 Gbits/s Internet Backbone

Posted on October 1, 1999 
Filed Under Julian, Nikkei Electronics Asia

Internet service provider (ISP) Mimos Berhad has launched SuperJaring, a new fiber optic backbone that can transmit data at 2.5 Gbits/s making it one of the fastest available in the world.

Spanning 861km on the western side of the Malaysian peninsula, from Penang in the north to Johore in the south, the new multi-million dollar backbone network was built using the OC-48 Internet backbone infrastructure supported by Cisco Systems, Inc.

“The government has identified IT as one of the keys for our future success. Mimos’ charter has been to develop the infrastructure that will serve as the platform for that growth.

“With the completion of SuperJaring, we are close to that goal,” said vice president Dr Mohamed Awang-Lah at the launch.

He said SuperJaring will offer new opportunities for advanced high-speed Internet services including video-on-demand, telemedicine, distance learning and Internet protocol virtual private networks (IP VPNs).

Government-funded Mimos runs the seven-year-old Jaring service, one of only two ISPs in the country, and claims over 500,000 dial-up users. Mimos executives declined to say how much the new backbone cost except that it is “in the millions of (US) dollars range,” but added it would significantly reduce equipment and operational costs and improve the overall quality of service.

IP Over Dark Fiber

SuperJaring was built on three Cisco-supplied modelGSR 12000 Gbit switch routers and configured with long reach 1,550nm optic lasers, enabling it to run IP data directly over dark fiber.

Dark fiber is an inactive or unused fiber-optic strand usually obtained from a carrier under a long lease in return for a very low price.

The infrastructure eliminates the need for a transport layer of asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) switches and synchronous optical network (SONET) or synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) boxes.

The SuperJaring backbone consists of three Gbit points of presence (GigaPOP) – Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Johor – and is one of the longest IP-over-fiber networks of its kind in the region.

Mimos’ Mohamed did not provide a time-frame for when it would expand SuperJaring nationwide, preferring to wait and see the “take-up” of the present three gigaPOPs before committing.

The SuperJaring network has 13 potential T-junctions which can be opened up and connected when the need arises. One OC-48 connection can support up to 175,000 dial-up users. There are 73 existing Jaring nodes around the country.

Private businesses, financial institutions, healthcare organizations, and universities & schools are expected to access the high-speed bandwidth for various applications.

“With SuperJaring, Malaysia has one of the fastest and most advanced IP networks in the world. This network will give businesses and consumers in Malaysia a tremendous competitive edge,” said Gary Jackson, an Asia-Pacific director of Cisco.

He said the Mimos-Cisco partnership marks a new phase in the relationship between the ISP and the networking company, particularly to deliver new communication services in Malaysia.

One stated objective is the hope that SuperJaring will spur the development of IP VPN services which will enable businesses to set up private networks with access to the Internet without worrying about security, application integration, scalability or flexibility.

Published in Nikkei Electronics Asia, Oct 01, 1999
by Julian Matthews, Malaysian correspondent


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