Upgrade stokes NRG Gladstone network burn off

Queensland's largest power station, NRG Gladstone, is burning off network congestion worries after upgrading its administration network, believed to be the first Gigabit Ethernet installation in Queensland.

Cabletron ousted Bay Networks and Cisco to secure the deal, which NRG Gladstone's IT manager, Darryl Bond, said is designed to allow the organisation's control system network and administration network to share data traffic.

Bond said the power station had outgrown its five-year-old Ethernet network and was suffering reliability problems.

He said the old network was struggling to run efficiently after growing "madly out of control".

Looking to maintain similar functionality and security measures to the previous network, Bond said Layer 4 Gigabit Ethernet technology was the answer, and Cabletron's solution "happened to be there at the right time and right place technology-wise".

According to Bond, Layer 2 and Layer 3 technology does not meet adequate security measures set by the organisation, which requires the control network and administration network to operate separately but at the same time also have the ability to communicate with each other.

Bond said a familiarity with Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet -- in addition to its performance and router functionality -- drove NRG Gladstone's decision to stick with the technology.

"[Gigabit Ethernet] has got to a point where it is more than competitive with ATM performance-wise," Bond said.

The network was installed in October, he said, with users at the power station expected to come online shortly.

The new network is expected to increase network speed from 10Mbits/sec to 100Mbits/sec full duplex with the addition of new functionality including redundancy.

Hoping to achieve similar mileage from the new network as with the old, Bond said: "If after five years we haven't reached a major problem with performance, we will have achieved our goal."

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