CHH looks to big savings after changes to network

Carter Holt Harvey (CHH) expects to save half a million dollars a year by changing its frame-relay service provider and redesigning its network. CHH's current frame-relay provider, Datacom, is in the process of curtailing its service and moving its customers to Telecom so it can concentrate on network management.

Carter Holt Harvey (CHH) expects to save half a million dollars a year by changing its frame-relay service provider and redesigning its network.

The forestry and construction company, which is upgrading its network company-wide in New Zealand and Australia, is aiming for increased resilience, efficiency and redundancy.

Hannes Van Zyl, telecommunications manager at CHH, says CHH's current frame-relay provider, Datacom, is in the process of curtailing its service and moving its customers to Telecom.

"Datacom has realised that it's not in the communications game. It wants to be in network management instead and will retain that component. We can achieve fairly significant cost reductions in going to Telecom's frame-relay service.

"We've also changed our network design to be hierarchical rather than flat, so we'll be installing regional routers which will talk to each other on Telecom's frame-relay network. This will allow us to achieve a heck of a lot more efficiency within the network and we will build in redundancy by using ISDN."

Van Zyl says Telecom will supply new Cisco routers (replacing TelTrend products), the network infrastructure and maintenance. In a first for CHH, it will lease the new gear from Telecom instead of purchasing it outright.

"Because we're not buying the routers, the spend is fairly minimal," says Van Zyl. "It's operational cost, not capital, which is part of the reason we decided to rent. Also, the technology is changing so quickly that it doesn't make any sense to capitalise. Renting gives total flexibility."

Cisco, which pipped Bay Networks to the post in supplying the routers, is heavily involved in the design and implementation. Van Zyl says CHH's US parent company, International Paper, has standardised on Cisco, which is offering the biggest scope in support and maintenance options.

The installation of 123 routers throughout New Zealand should be finished by the first week in December and the rollout of 40-plus routers in Australia is in the planning stage.

"Mainly through using Telecom we should be able to get net savings somewhere near $500,000 a year," says Van Zyl. The network will be used to transfer data only. Van Zyl says the company's voice costs are low enough to make it possible not to pay to go to voice over frame relay in New Zealand, at least.

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