Uni saves $200K with switch to IP telephony solution

Deakin University expects to save up to $200,000 a year after dumping part of its PABX infrastructure in favour of a Cisco Internet protocol (IP) telephony solution.

The university will axe its PABXs in favour of the IP solution in the next 36 months. It will reap a large chunk of the savings when it connects its IP telephony equipment to the Australian Academic Research Network (AARNet).

AARNet is a national IP-based communications infrastructure built to facilitate data, voice and video communications among Australia's research institutions.

"Linking our IP telephony network to AARNet enables us to almost completely bypass traditional, fee-charging carriers.

The cost of on-campus and inter-campus calls becomes negligible and external calls cost the equivalent of a local call.

For Deakin, this means savings of up to $200,000 a year," Craig Warren, Deakin University's desktop and network services manager, said.

The IP telephony solution enables data, voice, and video traffic to be transmitted over a single, IP-based network infrastructure.

Besides connecting the university to AARNet, the new telephony solution also links Deakin's six campuses, some up to 400km away.

The university will also reap savings through easier and more cost-effective network management.

"The maintenance cost of PABXs is extraordinarily high," Warren said. "With only a few network managers with PABX skills and our campuses so far apart, making changes to the network is complicated and expensive," he said. "With an IP solution our staff can be trained easily to manage and make changes to the network from any Internet access point."

Deakin University is also in the process of increasing the amount of online course-work it offers.

"We are undergoing an extensive program of moving course materials online using an application package called Top Class from WBT Systems. We are integrating Top Class with our Callista student administration system, which we developed ourselves," Warren said.

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