Cisco continues VoIP push in New Zealand

Cisco Systems Inc. last month said it was awarded a contract to implement an 8,000-seat Voice-over-IP network for the New Zealand government.

Cisco says the network for New Zealand’s Ministry of Social Policy (MSP) is one of the largest Voice-over-IP networks outside Cisco’s own internal packet telephony network. More than 130 PBXs are now being replaced with 10 Cisco Media Convergence Servers running Cisco CallManager for call control and processing, along with 20 Cisco uOne servers for delivering networked messaging services.

“It’s pretty significant for that technology,” says Jeremy Duke, principal at Synergy Research in Phoenix. “The largest [Voice over IP implementation] before that was Texas Instruments – they’re putting in 1,000-plus IP phones.”

Texas Instruments is also a Cisco shop. Cisco has been the most aggressive of the major vendors playing in voice over IP for large companies, easily surpassing Lucent Technologies Inc. and Nortel Networks Corp. in product depth and contract wins. 3Com is also a major Voice over IP player, but mainly for companies with fewer than 1,000 seats.

The New Zealand network connects 8,000 outlets in more than 200 government offices throughout the country. It carries in excess of 150,000 calls per day.

“If it works, this project totally nulls the argument that this technology is not scalable,” Duke says.

The new IP telephone system supports two other government agencies in addition to the MSP – the New Zealand Department of Work and Income, and the New Zealand Department of Child, Youth and Family Services. The IP phone system is the third and final stage of a US$3.7 million infrastructure upgrade across all three departments.

The MSP manages the infrastructure for the three agencies. Partnering with Cisco in this implementation are Logical Networks, a multiservice network integrator, and Clear Communications Ltd., a service provider.

New Zealand’s network includes Cisco 1700, 2600 and 3600 Series routers at the branch offices connecting to Cisco 2900 Series switches for branch device connectivity.

It has a four-site ATM core built around Cisco 7200VXR routers, with Catalyst 5500 switches interconnecting the core and distribution layers at each site.

The network uses Clear’s ATM backbone with access via Frame Relay. All calls on the system are charged at the local rate, creating a toll-free environment, Cisco says.

This design is intended to provide predictable data paths and consistent latency throughout the network, Cisco says. Internet-based call processing was overlayed onto New Zealand’s existing Cisco network infrastructure.