Foreign Affairs powers up Pacific satellite services

Upgrade required to enable posts to take full advantage of the ministry's technology platform

Satellite links between Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade posts in the Pacific are set for a boost with the rollout of new VSAT systems at numerous Pacific Island sites.

VSAT stands for very small aperture terminal. Units rely on a small satellite dish and deliver anything from narrowband to broadband speed connections.

The ministry has limited bandwidth available at its Pacific posts and needs to increase, this in a cost effective way, tender documents released last week say. The upgrade is required to enable posts to take full advantage of the ministry’s technology platform.

Data rates required are 256kbit/s with a bursting capacity to 2Mbit/s. The bursting requirement is intended to be used by one post at a time for video conferencing. Future applications will include IP telephony, according to the tender.

The ministry’s worldwide communications service is provided by AT&T and the VSAT systems will be usingAT&T’s network operation and services.

The ministry uses Citrix 8510 WAN Scaler’s to optimise its network. Encryption is not required in the VSAT units themselves as this is done over the network. The network will use a central uplink site in either New Zealand or Australia operated by AT&T.

VSAT units will be installed at posts in Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Niue, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia and the supplier will have to provide a maintenance contract for the systems.

The ministry is inviting respondees to the tender to submit redundancy options with full costs for the VSAT terminal electronics and first line maintenance training for a non-technical person. It also invites respondees to provide supplementary information and a quotation for a mobile terminal that can be deployed in the event of disaster recovery or relief.

The tender notes that locations in the south-west Pacific experience tropical cyclones and are a high salt environment all year round. The VSAT units, therefore, must be designed to provide protection all outside components.

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Tags Networking & Telecomms IDministry of foreign affairsvsat

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