Nortel is claiming its rollout of a wireless mesh network at Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Perth is an Australian first.
It extends the functionality of existing wi-fi data networks at the university through an umbrella of wireless access points hardened for wide external use rather than just isolated hotspots that are available now.
The networking company recruited a new partner, local integrator WJ Moncrieff, to rollout the network. It is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Moncrieff marketing manager, John Moriarty, said the company had invested heavily in mesh product training in order to get ahead of a market that customers still perceive to be a telco area.
"The mesh training is a differentiator," he said. "We are seeing a lot of VoIP people coming into our networks because there is a blurring of lines [between channel technologies]."
Analysts at IDC reported earlier this year that consolidation is inevitable in the data and voice convergence areas, with telcos buying companies to acquire readymade customer bases and scarce IP telephony skills.
Optus and Telstra, for example, both bid for Damovo Australia earlier this year with Telstra eventually clinching the deal in September. It has also added Kaz to its portfolio in an attempt to grow its data services capability.
"The flagrant area of overlap and friction between IT vendors and telecom carriers is around convergence areas such as VoIP and IP video services," IDC research program manager for telecommunications, Landry Fevre, said.
General manager for enterprise network at Nortel, Nick Avakian, said mesh networks would provide good value-add opportunities for traditional resellers in a consolidating sector. But he predicted vendors would eventually own the customer relationships as the market continued to mature and converge.
"Telcos will become the front-end for channel sales, owning the customer relationship and evolving into one-stop shops for the end-user," he said. "The actual implementation will still be carried out by integrators who will either be brought in as outsource partners, or bought out by larger companies to gain competitive advantage."