FierceTelecom Leaders: Doug Junkins, CTO, NTT America

Even if 2009 was one of the most challenging economic times in recent history, NTT America reported that traffic on its network actually grew. In fact, as you'll read below, NTT America saw its Internet traffic grow 80 percent from the U.S. to Asia. This growth prompted the wholesale service provider to make various upgrades to its network. FierceTelecom recently caught up with Doug Junkins, CTO, NTT America to talk about growth trends in the U.S. and into potential new areas such as Latin America.  

FierceTelecom: With 2009 behind and 2010 in full swing, to start what were some of the highlights of the past year at NTT America?

Doug Junkins: 2009 was actually a very good year for us just in terms of traffic growth on the network. Maybe because of the economic conditions, the Internet traffic growth continued to march along at greater and greater rates. We saw 80 percent growth on our Internet traffic from the U.S. to Asia, which is higher than other regions on our network. It was a very good year, but it was not without its challenges. It's good to be able to continue investing in the network for growth and not get in that situation where you don't have capacity for the traffic your customers are sending you. 

FierceTelecom: You mentioned making new network investments. What did those upgrades consist of?

Junkins: For our core routers, we have been using the Juniper T640s. Then, in late 2007 we started deploying the T1600s in markets where growth had required us to add additional capacity to those core routers. Because the T-1600 is a field upgrade of the T640, we were able to do the upgrade with limited disruption to our customers. In 2009, we continued to upgrade additional T-640s to T-1600s and go with the higher density quad 10 GigE and OC-192 ports on the T1600. That allowed us to grow the transpacific capacity to 300 Gbps, which we just passed earlier this year. Also, on our domestic network we have a large number of 10 Gbps ports going to customers and large bundles of OC-192s between cities on our U.S. network all required additional investments.

FierceTelecom: One of the recent highlights of your network investment included an upgrade to 300 Gbps on your submarine network connection. Were there certain triggers that facilitated that upgrade?

Junkins: It was really the continued growth of broadband services in Japan and that content is still predominantly coming from the U.S. We still see a lot of content hosted in the U.S. going to our South American and European customers other than the ones we have in Japan. That 80 percent growth I mentioned earlier requires additional capacity on that to be able to handle cable system failures, circuit outages and maintenance. So the actual amount of traffic on that 300 Gbps of capacity is actually topping out at 220-225 Gbps. It's a lot of traffic and lot of circuits to manage across the Pacific, but in order to do that we want to minimize the impact to any cable system outage.

NTT bought out the PC-1 cable system last year, which allows us to expand our capacity into the future across the Pacific on that cable system as well as the capacity we have now on the former Tyco Global network. All in all we have five different physical paths across the Pacific for that 300 Gbps of capacity. We'll be seeing some additional investment in the Trans Pacific Express (TPE) cable system, which will give us more capacity and more resiliency and cable paths.