Tenfold capacity increase drives network upgrade to IP telephony

University relocates data centre

The University of Ballarat in regional Victoria has increased the capacity of its data network tenfold to meet demands from its 25,000 students and 2,300 staff for new high-bandwidth applications like videoconferencing.

The network upgrade will also support a planned campus-wide migration to IP telephony.

With power and air conditioning problems in its existing data centre combined with rising network traffic growth, the university had to physically relocate its main data centre to a nearby technology park.

It has also opened a second data centre on another campus to provide additional capacity and redundancy for its core applications.

The upgraded Nortel network will ensure the communication links into the data centres will have sufficient bandwidth to handle the expected increase in network traffic.

University of Ballarat network infrastructure manager, David Edwards, said the data centres run all the applications and administration systems for every student and staff member on its main campuses, and support online services such as the library database for students further afield in Melbourne, Sydney and throughout Asia.

He said the biggest challenge was ensuring the network could not only scale to support the extra traffic generated by the second data centre, but also support future projects, such as campus-wide IP telephony.

"This not only meant upgrading our existing network switch capacity from one gigabit to 10 gigabits, but also ensuring the fastest, most resilient network infrastructure for moving high volumes of information through 18 main campus buildings and across five other campuses spread across an area of 200 kilometres," Edwards said.

Nortel A/NZ general manager of enterprise solutions, Mark Fioretto, said the most important - and yet frequently overlooked - component of a successful wide-area multimedia communications network is the data infrastructure because organisations don't take into account the additional load of these bandwidth-hungry applications.

"This is particularly true in a university environment where the volume of data traffic brought about by hyperconnectivity - where anything that can be networked is connected - can be astronomical, and where multimedia communications like video are increasingly playing a crucial role in the education curriculum," he said.

"Without a resilient data network, and enough bandwidth to support new applications, the quality of multimedia communications can be severely degraded, let alone the stability of other business-critical applications that already reside on the network."

Nortel's solution for the university is based on four Ethernet Routing Switch (ERS) 8600s featuring Nortel's unique Split Multi Link Trunking (SMLT) technology, the combination of which creates a highly resilient terabit cluster - high-speed transport links that can provide sub-second failover in the event a switch, card, power supply or chassis malfunction.

Working together, Fioretto said these switches provide the reliability required for applications like CRM, ERP, IP telephony and collaboration tools.

- with Sandra Rossi

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