Broadcaster set to tackle network upgrade

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has called for tenders for network management services as it moves to upgrade its entire network covering five capital cities, regional areas and international offices. Ageing hardware will also have to be replaced as it is the first major upgrade the broadcaster has undertaken in five years.

Tenders for the project close this Friday, July 28, 2006, and cover a wide range of network management services. NCR currently manages both the local and wide area networks with Cisco-branded hardware supplied by Alphawest. An addenda to the tender was released Friday July 21 confirming the ABC will retain the existing network management systems and inviting respondents to suggest services or reporting methods that can be used by accessing the ABC's existing network monitoring equipment.

The ABC has two key projects under way: re-design of the head office LAN in Sydney and the upgrade of networks in each state.

The five-years-old Sydney LAN has some hardware that is approaching end of manufacturer support, leading to some network failures and impacting program delivery.

According to tender documents: "The key technology components of this project will be to purchase and install six new chassis-based switches to act as distribution layer switches and in doing so it is the specific intent of the project team to improve network reliability by creating additional specific broadcast domains.

"It is proposed that five capital city offices be upgraded by refreshing ageing hardware while at the same time completing the reconfiguration of the data network. These works are proposed to be completed during the 2006/7 financial year."

The ABC currently uses Cisco Works software for monitoring, management and configuration of assets in the ABC WAN/LAN.

Statseeker software collects WAN bandwidth statistics while Packetseeker collects application statistics and SNMPc for alarm management for all LAN and WAN devices.

The ABC predominantly uses Cisco PIX Firewalls routers and switches, with some Hewlett-Packard switches.

Not included in the scope of the contract is network management services for servers, desktops and printers, as well as the supply and installation of network hardware.