New networks unify universities' communications

Telecomms provider Nortel has established new networks at two Australian universities: Sydney's Macquarie University and Perth's Edith Cowan University.

Telecommunications provider Nortel has established new networks at two Australian universities: Sydney's Macquarie University and Perth's Edith Cowan University.

The network at Macquarie's North Ryde campus will serve more than 30,000 on-campus and remote students. It will completely replace the university's current infrastructure, and will allow for future IP services such as multimedia, videoconferencing and IP telephony.

"As we migrate more and more business-critical services like lectures and exam results to the web, our old and complex network infrastructure has been showing its age," said Peter Hole, infrastructure services manager at Macquarie.

"You could also say our users are very different — a generation for whom technology is not 'magic' and 24/7 uptime is expected," Hole said. "We're increasingly becoming dependent on our network and it's imperative that it be able to keep up with the demands of the university."

The new network at Perth's Edith Cowan University was introduced to deal with problems of bandwidth, network security and network management across multiple campuses.

Like the Macquarie upgrade, the Edith Cowan network will allow for future multimedia applications such as videoconferencing and unified communications.

This is the second phase of ECU's five-year, multi-million dollar network upgrade project, which began in 2006.

"A couple of years ago, we made the decision to replace our entire data network infrastructure to provide students and teachers with better, faster network services and on-campus connectivity," said Steve Johnston, manager, IT Infrastructure, ECU. "The added capacity will be essential once we introduce higher-speed, real-time services like videoconferencing and unified communications."

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