Internet network giant Cisco Systems hopes to ease the shortage of IT staff by helping Kiwi computer students.
It has donated $30,000 of network routing equipment to the University of Canterbury's Computer Science department.
Senior lecturer Ray Hunt says the gift means his department can build an Internet laboratory to run alongside the computer security laboratory.
"Students will now be able to work with the 'real thing' rather than with a simulated model to build the infrastructure needed for mini versions of the Internet.
"They will be able to set parameters to test fallback procedures if a network goes down, just as would happen on the Internet," he says.