The ABC has finally scrapped its nine-year-old "dumb" network in favour of a new communications and computing network that Memorex Telex has installed across the country.
The ABC had a unique problem in installing the system in that services to viewers, especially those in the country reliant on the broadcasts, could not be disrupted. Memorex's guarantee that this would not occur was partly responsible for its success.
Errol Tredoux, Memorex Telex project manager, recognised the challenge that the limited time frame and vast geographical expanse of the network presented. "It meant that innovative solutions had to be employed to meet the deadline," said Tredoux.
This involved teams working on location to install the system and train the potential users, all in the space of two months.
To assist in the process, a Sydney-based workshop was established where the computer platform was built and tested on the ABC network prior to its permanent installation in regional offices around the country.
Spanning 41 offices and connected to a Local Area Network (LAN), and Wide Area Network (WAN), the system utilises 64kbit ISDN connections and Cisco switches and routers.
According to the ABC's data network manager of Information Technology Services, David Shread, such an advanced system will support any future technology that the ABC might implement, such as integrated voice/data over IP and modern client/server applications.
The new system allows journalists, program makers and on-air-presenters access to the Internet, the ABC's inranet, lets them file stories and send and receive electronic mail, as well as utilising the SAP-based finance and administration systems.