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CASE WORK: Improving Bandwidth + Capacity For A Remote Location
by Adam Davison

Few people know the troubles of Norfolk Island, located in the Pacific Ocean between Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia. In fact, few people may know of Norfolk Island at all. The tiny, self-governing island territory of Australia is home to about 2,000 people and covers just over 34 square kilometers. With only one airport and no railways, waterways, ports or harbours, the island’s remoteness and dependence on distant suppliers of goods and services, alongside its growing tourist industry means that residents and businesses are heavily dependent on a telecommunications infrastructure, which was heavily burdened by bandwidth and capacity limitations. Not surprisingly, they have only one telecommunications service provider on the island — Norfolk Telecom, a Government Business Enterprise wholly-owned and operated by the Administration of Norfolk Island.

Due to the residents’ dependence on tourism and ever increasing need for bandwidth and more capacity on its network of approximately 2,500 landlines, as well as a prepaid mobile network, Internet services, and the satellite communications network, Norfolk Telecom was desperately seeking ways to improve the service offered to the Island in order to increase the bandwidth and reduce the latency of all internet-based services.

Norfolk Island’s voice and data communications was dependant on parallel satellite links, with few aspects of life and business not reliant on Norfolk Telecom’s ability to prioritize traffic over the WAN, and was looking for a way to ensure acceleration of all applications on the network to maximize the island’s virtual proximity to the rest of Australia. By working together with Expand Networks to introduce a combination of compression, TCP acceleration for web traffic and web and FTP caching, Norfolk Telecom was able to deliver immediate improvements in bandwidth and traffic speed.

Due to Expand Networks’ Accelerator 6930, which has a hard drive capacity of 500GB and can deliver 10Mbps of compression, 100Mbps optimization, and 45Mbps acceleration; and Expand Networks Accelerator 4930, which can deliver 6Mbps of compression, 45Mbps optimization and 15Mbps acceleration, both use low latency, lossless techniques that work on all applications to consistently deliver average bandwidth increases between 100 and 400 percent. Quality of Service (QoS) enforcement also ensures that applications run unimpeded on the WAN, enhancing prioritization with sophisticated algorithms to combat congestion, mark packets for downstream QoS handling and rate control shaping to make sure data flows get the bandwidth they need.

In addition, Expand Networks’ technology excels in satellite environments by mitigating the traditional low bandwidth, high latency obstacles to improve application performance and user productivity. With Norfolk Island’s infrastructure so reliant on its satellite environment, it was especially suited to the needs of the island. As a result, Norfolk Telecom was able to increase available bandwidth between 25 and 50 percent across the network overall — and up to 100 percent in some areas. The WAN optimization technology improvements saved Norfolk Island $80,000 per year in satellite bandwidth costs, optimized existing satellite links, and boosted bandwidth across the territory by as much as 100 percent.

“By using WAN optimization technology, we were able to double the bandwidth we can offer, and reduce the latency experienced by customers when using internet based services,” said Stuart Robertson, Chief Technology Officer Technical Officer, Network and Systems, for Norfolk Telecom. “We have cut costs by avoiding the need to upgrade our satellite links. The QoS and priority traffic functions of the accelerator ensure our remote location does not hinder our key community services or our ability to communicate with the mainland.”

About the author
Adam Davison is Corporate VP Sales and Marketing for Expand Networks and is responsible for implementing sales processes across the regions, and coordinating and initiating global efforts and alliances to enhance Expand’s worldwide presence. Davison has over 14 years experience in sales, management and business development roles for the Company.