Redline Telecommunications press release – University of Pretoria Witbank Campus

Article by Poena van Heerden,  Sales Manager

Background

The University of Pretoria is a leading university in South Africa, offering a very high quality of education to its students. The institution offers training in a wide spectrum of different disciplines and has faculties and training locations based on various campuses. According to BINEB (2013), there are currently approximately 48 000 registered students. The University’s Information Technology Services division (ITS) is responsible for the daily operations of the institution’s IT requirements, including telephony and data networks, as well as connectivity between all campuses. The University uses a VoIP solution for its telephone systems and most of the campuses are linked to the Hatfield Campus via SANReN fibre connections.

Redline Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd has been a supplier to the University of Pretoria since 2009 and has delivered various solutions including Free Space Optic links,  RF PtP and PtMP solutions and a VSAT solution.

Requirement

The University required its  Witbank medical campus to be connected with a minimum of 1Gbps link to the SANReN[1] network , managed by TENET[2].

Due to the location of the hospital in proximity to the SANREN Point of Presence (PoP) at the Tshwane University of Technology’s (TUT) premises in Witbank, the options were limited in terms of a cost effective technology that could provide a 1Gbps full duplex throughput, and be deployed in a short time.



[1]The South African National Research Network (SANReN) is part of a comprehensive South African government approach to cyber infrastructure to ensure successful participation of South African researchers in the global knowledge production effort. Together with the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) and the Very Large Databases (VLDB) project, SANReN forms a key component of this cyber infrastructure as a core scientific infrastructure for South Africa.

The SANReN is a high-speed network dedicated to research traffic and research into research networking and broadband infrastructures. It is being rolled out in a phased manner and will connect up to 204 sites across the country with research networks hosting over 3 000 research and education organisations from all over the world in the first two phases, which commenced in 2007. See www.sanren.ac.za/

 

[2]Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa

TENET’s main purpose is to secure Internet and Information Technology services for the benefit of South African universities and associated research and support institutions. TENET is a service organisation and is committed to service excellence and to services that are strongly aligned and consistent with the organisational requirements of the user community. TENET operates the SANReN Network under the terms of a Collaboration Agreement with the CSIR.

The University was previously restricted to using a third-party solution. Due to the limited capabilities of its  available equipment, only a 64kb/s current solution line could be installed.  Higher line speeds have only been available for the last few years in this area, but are prohibitively expensive and continually at risk due to the prevalence of cable theft. The lag time on this link was at times as high as 3500mS – 5000mS, and was the cause of much frustration to the users on the Witbank Campus. The University could also have had an underground fibre solution installed to the TUT in Witbank, but the cost for the roughly 1.5km trenching and fibre would have been close to R1 million. The Redline Free Space Optics (FSO) 1Gb/s with auto-radio fail-over was the most cost effective solution to connect the Campus to the SANReN backbone. The University of Pretoria already has a few of the 1GB/s FSO units installed, so the decision to continue with this proven technology was an easy choice.

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Solution

As a technology provider to the University of Pretoria, Redline installed a 1GBps Plus Free Space Optic (FSO) link with an RDL 200 PtP Broadband radio as redundancy.  Redline decided to use FSO, as it is a liicense free communications technology that can provide a guaranteed 1Gbps throughput with no Radio Frequency interference. The FSO has a built-in failover redundancy port connected to the RDL 200 that provides a full redundancy system with a 99.999% availability. Both links will be monitored by the University of Pretoria. Some comments received from the end-users were as follow:

“It’s with great pleasure that I’m writing this email.

As of last night 24 July 2013 Witbank Medical Campus has been switched to the SANReN line. Huge improvements have been made with the new link to the campus. With the previous congested line, ping values were ranging anything from 2500 4500ms. With the SANReN the ping value is averaging at 7ms.

Access to UP resources is also hugely improved! For example, logging into the UP portal before the upgrade would have taken anything from 30s to 2:30min just to get to the login page. Now it’s basically instantaneous.
Email correspondence is hugely improved as well. While speaking to xxxxx on the phone I sent her an email with a 2 MB attachment and as soon as the client synced it was there on her PC”.

Redline Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd provides broadband solutions according to a client’s requirement and budget constraints. The solution varies between FSO-, RF-, VSAT and fibre connectivity. Redline also offers an extensive network of Value Added Resellers across the African continent that provide sales and technical support.

All products are listed on www.redlinesa.com or contact  + 27 12 6789740.