Middletons ditches 17-year old network

New site up and running in 48 hours

Commercial law firm Middletons has upgraded its 17 year-old network and installed a new stackable Nortel switches to manage a multi-vendor environment of blade servers, PABXs, VoIP and desktops for 250 users.

The new site was upgraded as part of a relocation of its Melbourne office earlier this year, according to Middletons technology services manager, Terry Bohan.

He said it was an ideal opportunity to upgrade the ageing network to cater for the possibility of power over Ethernet (PoE), additional wireless access points and VoIP.

"We're considering whether we will introduce PoE for the new Nortel network, as we already have it in place with our wireless gear which is predominately used to drive [wireless access points] in usual spots," Bohan said

"We were pulling apart a network that hasn't seen much disruption in 17 years and putting it back together in 48 hours, so we took the opportunity to upgrade the core infrastructure with products we knew would work.

"Like any business that depends on its network for business-critical communications, we had to ensure our Melbourne users were up and running as soon as they returned to work after the move."

Middletons used a series of layer 3 Nortel 5510 Ethernet routing switches, designed for high-density gigabit desktop connectivity, which use distributed multilink trunking to allow trunked ports to span multiple units across the stack and provide packet classification and marking at the edge of the network.

He said desktops and laptops constitute the bulk of the current network infrastructure, along with a NEC-driven VoIP network and a few limited consumer wireless access points.

Middletons is also deploying Nortel 2360 wireless security switches and wireless access points across the Melbourne site.

"We had to work to very tight timeframes to relocate the network and configure the mix of new and old equipment, but the equipment we chose made that job much easier than it sounds," Bohan said.

The new switches can connect multi-vendor IP phones, wireless access points, network cameras, security and lighting devices, and access control devices.

Nortel A/NZ president, Mark Stevens, said selecting suitable technology keeps network implementations simple.

"Networks can be made to look far more complex than they should, but in reality they can be made very simple with the right components that don't compromise performance," Stevens said.

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