Victorian emergency services authority upgrades WAN - while still maintaining emergency services support
The Victorian Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) has upgraded its WAN to a fault tolerance architecture WAN service, in order to cope with increasing call traffic, additional agency responsibilities, strong forecasted population growth across metropolitan, regional and rural Victoria, as well as the relocation of one of three emergency communications centres.
The organisation had to complete the upgrade while maintaining emergency services support to the Victorian community.
ESTA provides the critical link between the community and Victoria’s emergency services organisations (ESOs) through Triple Zero (000) call taking and dispatch. With 24/7 operation, it is one of the few agencies in the world that manages communications for the full range of emergency services including police, fire, ambulance and SES.
In addition to providing emergency call taking and dispatch services, ESTA manages three purpose-built networks to support the needs of the ESOs. These services are: the metropolitan-based Mobile Data Network (MDN); the Metropolitan Mobile Radio (MMR) service; and the Emergency Alerting System (EAS).
The technology network supporting ESTA’s delivery of service is both physical (telecommunications) and virtual (call handling and dispatch processes) and is, therefore, the backbone of providing ESTA’s services.
ESTA elected to augment its network in-house team to support delivery of the upgrade and purchased Cisco infrastructure, for both the WAN upgrade and the data centre relocation, from ICT solutions and services provider Logicalis, who would provide support in the design, provision and build of the new network.
Specifically, ESTA requested consultancy for the upgrade of three metropolitan and regional emergency communications centres, one of which would be relocated during the course of the year. It also needed to support mission-critical, business as usual at its Network Operations Centre (NOC) and the new network needed enough scale to support ad hoc surges in demand, as required by ongoing projects.
Logicalis delivered the project over a six-month period in late 2011, with 600 ESTA operations staff, at the time, using the network continuously during the upgrade. It also delivered the network in time for the relocation of the emergency communications centre in Burwood East, to avoid additional costs.
Complicated in itself, the centre needed an entirely new design, new physical cabling, testing, production and support. Logicalis provided maintenance and 24/7 management for ESTA’s network through its NetManage infrastructure management service which manages people, processes and technology in combination.
“Given ESTA operates 24/7 emergency support, there was, categorically, no room for failure or error during this project.” said Mark Powell, General Manager of Technology, ESTA. “Many components contributed to its successful delivery, including our internal teams and the network itself.”
“From an external perspective, Logicalis provided precisely the right technology and consultancy to support us in executing a seamless project with multiple government and public stakeholders.
“That’s no mean feat. The best result we needed was no downtime and absolute quality of service to ensure the public could continue to access emergency services at all times.”
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