Environment Canterbury gets NZ’s first optical LAN

The organisation took the opportunity created by the construction of a new office following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake to “introduce state-of-the art IT infrastructure”

Environment Canterbury, the council responsible for the Canterbury region’s air, water and land has become the first organisation in New Zealand to deploy a fibre-based local area network, according to supplier Nokia.

According to a Nokia case study, the organisation took the opportunity created by the construction of a new office following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake to “introduce state-of-the art IT infrastructure.”

Nokia quotes team leader ICT operations, Alan Warne, saying: “We have some bandwidth hungry applications and we use a lot of video conferencing. From the outset, a key consideration was to provide Wi-Fi access throughout the building. The latest wireless technologies already exceed the speeds supported by copper Ethernet and as Wi-Fi improves we need a LAN that is capable of soaking up the increased bandwidth demand.”

He added: “When we designed the network, we wanted to ensure we exceeded the 80Mbps bandwidth that employees were used to with a traditional Ethernet LAN. Currently, every employee gets a 1Gbps connection to the desktop. Even my Wi-Fi connection is 130Mbps. So we’re well in excess of what we hoped.”

Nokia said Environment Canterbury had worked with local consultants Torque IP, through CommScope, to design the cabling solution. Companies already working on a copper cabling tender were then asked to offer a fibre alternative. That tender was won by NZ Data.

“Separately Environment Canterbury approached companies known for providing commercial fibre-to-the-home services to see who could offer both the technology and the services to manage a fibre-based LAN,” Nokia said. The winning bid came from 2degrees, Environment Canterbury’s existing LAN service provider. 2degrees supplied and installed the equipment and now provides a managed LAN service to Environment Canterbury.

The case study quotes NZ Data CEO, Tony Gibbs, saying there were many more advantages over copper than simply bandwidth.

“Fiber optic cable is much lighter and more flexible than copper so it’s faster and easier to install. Its capacity means several services can be combined on one fiber, so far less of it is required to cover an equivalent office. Compared to Ethernet copper cabling, it took us about three weeks less to install and was largely a one-person job whereas a traditional copper solution would have required significantly more.”

The installation comprises aNokia 7360 ISAM optical line terminal (OLT) with 24 ports each delivering 2.4Gbps. This serves 230 Nokia 7368 ISAM G-240G-C optical network terminals (ONT) which provide gigabit connections to every desk for voice and data services. A further 20 Nokia 7368 ISAM G-040P-Q ONTs with Power over Ethernet (PoE) connect the multiple Aerohive wireless access points around the building.

Read more: Kordia talks up demand for 100Gbps on North Island fibre

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