Defence staff get speed to desktop

A new network is providing better reliability and speed to the country's defence personnel and has laid the foundation for a long-planned Citrix rollout.

A new network is providing better reliability and speed to the country’s defence personnel and has laid the foundation for a long-planned Citrix rollout.

New Zealand Defence Force CIO Ron Hooton (pictured) says the new ATM-based network, provided and managed by Telecom Advanced Solutions, is “99%” rolled out to the 7000 desktops it serves.

“We’re just clearing the odd site and tidying up a few places, ie Washington and Canberra.”

The new network replaces a 12-year-old one the force had been running, which he says “wasn’t in danger of imminent collapse, but if you look at it and look at what we need to do, we needed a new one”.

Hooton says a key advantage of the ATM network is that it will provide a platform for a Citrix implementation the force has been working toward.

“We’re doing the pilot from now to November, then a pilot rollout from November to February, with full delivery from February to June.”

The implementation puts Citrix 32-bit ICA clients on each device and Windows 2000 and Citrix MetaFrame XPe on servers.

Other benefits of the new network include allowing sites such as Ohakea to be scaled quickly up to 30Mbit/s, with the capacity to go to 50Mbit/s or higher if and when necessary. “They’re getting more into imagery, GIS and video.”

Being ATM-based, the network has a maximum theoretical speed of 155Mbit/s. Hooton says ATM was chosen as the underlying technology because it was a long established, proven one.

“The defence force needs reliability and Telecom’s full next-generation network and IP capability isn’t yet available at all our sites.”

The deal with Telecom Advanced Solutions runs for five years and there’s plenty of scope during that time to revisit technology, Hooton says. “That would be done if required.”

The defence force is consolidating its 10 infrastructure and support sites around the country into two, in Wellington and Auckland, which will provide mutual back up. Hooton says if it needs more than 155Mbit/s between them, it would look at new technology.

“It’ll be need-driven, not just because the technology’s available.”

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