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NEC Australia extends SD-WAN contract with NSW government

IT solutions provider NEC Australia has been awarded another 12-month contract by the NSW government’s Department of Finance, Services and Innovation (DFSI) to continue delivering a proof of concept of a fully managed service for a software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN).

NEC Australia was originally awarded the proof of concept contract at the end of 2016 for an end delivery date of January 2018. This has now been renewed until January 2019.

Under the contract, NEC manages SD-WAN across a number of sites including network design, testing, installation and commissioning, and delivers technical support out of its service centres located in Adelaide, South Australia and Wollongong, NSW.

NEC partnered with Silver Peak and Cisco Meraki to explore the potential of using SD-WAN to reduce carriage unit costs and improve service performance, particularly in regional areas.

Krisztian Som, business development manager for carrier and critical communication at NEC Australia, told Telecom Times that the decision by the DFSI to test the capability of SD-WAN was driven by the NSW government’s ongoing move towards a cloud-based infrastructure.

“There are 40 different agencies within the NSW government that were working in silos. They had their own IT department who had arrangements with different carriers, so there was a lot of duplication. In some areas, there were four or five agencies with their own network and carrier service connected up within a two-kilometre radius,” he said.

“What the DFSI thought was what if we consolidated the band service for all the agencies and just have a handful of carriers, and we could negotiate consolidated volumes and for better rates, and put the agency on a single service.”

Som said the cost savings alone from using SD-WAN would be impressive, especially if it were deployed across government.

“The NSW government is spending A$200 million every year on fixed carriage cost on carriers, and that’s increased eight per cent each year. The current model is not sustainable and that’s where the benefits would come in if they ever shared networks,” he said.

But it’s not only government looking into using SD-WAN. Som said the technology had in fact grown from the private sector, where it’s used particularly by enterprises operating with multiple remote offices and are after creating a shared network.

“The technology is emerging very fast, and it has got to a stage where it’s really matured,” Som said.

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