Local company develops regional broadband 'saviour'

Reducing the complexity involved in deploying and managing wide area networks was the impetus for a Melbourne-based start-up to develop an all-in-one appliance that may cut the cost of regional communications infrastructure by a factor of 20 against traditional equipment, according to the company.

Haliplex CEO David Drew said the company's line of integrated appliances can be used to consolidate "a rack full" of networking devices into one rack unit.

"We can consolidate layer 2 Ethernet, Sonet/SDH, DSLAM, and digital data network infrastructure," Drew said, adding that the devices combine packet and circuit networks with support for T1, E1, and POTS links, among others.

"What used to draw 2600W of power now draws less than 100W providing operational savings of around $2000 a year," he said.

"It also provides an operator with one set of spares, training, and management which simplifies the network into a single element."

Haliplex has 12 Australian customers across the enterprise and carrier space, including ISP Netspace and the Snowy River Mountain Authority; however, 98 percent of what it makes is exported, 80 percent of that to the US. The company now claims 1000 customers worldwide across the enterprise, particularly utilities, 2.5 and 3G wireless infrastructure, and fixed-line carrier markets.

"Utilities such as power, gas and water companies build their own networks and [use our product] because it's a consolidated infrastructure," he said.

"Carriers can deploy traditional services and offer transparency across country and city services."

Drew said Haliplex has had "great success" with regional carriers in the US and deploying regional networks here could be done for "probably 20 times less cost" than using traditional equipment.

Customers typically pay between $10,000 and $20,000 per appliance.

"Energy companies could easily deliver bush broadband services," he said, "For example, Malaysia's national power company has done exactly that. It even specified that the equipment must be lizard-proof for jungle areas!"

Drew said the product - although not NEBS compliant - was designed to operate in temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius, and as an example, the world's second largest oil refinery in the Middle East "runs everything through our product".

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