Social agencies to get cellular VPN

Three government departments are on track to have their land-line and mobile phone systems integrated in a virtual private network (VPN) by the end of the year.

Three government departments are on track to have their land-line and mobile phone systems integrated in a virtual private network (VPN) by the end of the year.

Work has begun on a cellular VPN for the Ministry of Social Policy, Child Youth and Family (CYF) and Winz, says Ministry of Social Policy information systems coordinator Neil Miranda.

“We’re working on connecting the Vodafone GSM network to our IP telephony network, so that we have our own VPN for cellular phones. The target is to have it completed in December.”

Miranda says the VPN will allow cellphone-carrying staff to connect to the departments’ IP telephony network at a lower cost than at present. “The ministry, Winz and CYF have approximately 2000 mobile phones between them and the VPN will deliver more scalability and better cost structures.”

He wouldn’t reveal the extent of the savings, but says they will be significant.

Vodafone, the departments’ mobile carrier, is the supplier of the VPN, while Telstra and Cisco are also involved in the installation.

The three government departments were switched to IP telephony almost a year ago, when Clear, Cisco and Logical Networks together provided a system linking 8000 staff in 200 offices nationwide.

Miranda says the Winz, CYF and ministry site is the only one in the world he is aware of that has a fully converged IP network for voice, data and images.

VPNs allow information to be sent over the public telecomms network, usually at a lesser cost than doing so over an organisation’s private network, with the data encrypted and decrypted at the beginning and end of the transmission.

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