OCO tests VoIP networks

The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman (OCO) is testing its new voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) implementation before it goes live next week.

OCO wants to ensure that voice quality on the system is maintained, even when OCO's network is saturated with a variety of traffic types, explained Peter Rankin, director of IT at OCO.

"So far it looks fine," he said.

OCO has implemented VoIP between its Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra offices, with assistance from service provider Com Tech.

Rankin cites cost savings as the primary reason for installing VoIP, with initial estimates indicating it can save OCO $25,000 a year in carrier costs.

Rankin describes the implementation as "very straightforward", although he warns that OCO had to spend some time fine-tuning the interface between its Cisco routers and its NEC PABX to get it working, which was "a little bit tedious".

OCO has a total of 86 Power Mac desktop workstations on its network, with an office in every state, each with a LAN based on Solaris Unix servers.

Between its offices in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane, OCO has migrated to frame relay links over the last two months.

OCO made the switch from ISDN to frame relay on the basis of cost and performance issues, Rankin said.

He cancelled OCO's ISDN contract a fortnight ago, once testing and evaluation of the frame relay links had been successfully completed.

Meanwhile, OCO has issued a request for quotation to market test provision of operational help desk services and network administration services.

Quotations close on August 20, 1999, and so far Rankin has received between 25 and 30 expressions of interest.

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