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Nortel Keeps Australia’s Kalgoorlie Remote Mining Network Running Securely


Unique Technology Solution Eliminates Single Point of Failure and Future Proofs Network for Evolving Customer Needs
PERTH, Australia – Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) has replaced its ageing data network, located in the remote mining town of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, with a new network from Nortel* [NYSE/TSX: NT] to improve security and reliability.

KCGM manages and operates the ’Super Pit’, producing up to 850,000 ounces of gold every year. At 3.2 kilometres in length, 1.4 kilometres in width and more than 450 metres deep, it is also the biggest open pit gold mine in Australia. Its remoteness from metropolitan centres, combined with the tough Western Australian outback conditions typical of Australia’s mining regions, makes it paramount that sensitive communications equipment be particularly hardy against failure, and easy to manage and maintain.

“A remote operation like ours brings with it a number of challenges when it comes to running a fail-safe computer network, because highly skilled engineers are not easy to come by and replacement parts can take several days or more to source,” says Shaun Fessey, senior IS coordinator, KCGM. “We approached Nortel for its unique network architecture – which prevents single points of equipment failure from bringing down the network – and for its dedicated security features that allow us to block individual access to the network and manage network access through user profiles, an important precaution in a large, remote site.”

“Our previous network didn’t give us any of the security or survivability features we were looking for,” says Fessey. “Nortel’s solution will easily support the growth of the company for the next five years and also gives us a simple upgrade path to new technology like IP telephony and unified communications, which we’re now considering.”

“Australian mining companies have come through a successful boom period and are now looking to expand their networks to remain globally competitive,” says Mark Fioretto, general manager, Enterprise Solutions, Australia and New Zealand, Nortel.

“This often means adding additional high-value applications, including IP telephony and video conferencing, to connect employees across national and international offices,” says Fioretto. “By implementing these types of applications companies can stay competitive by connecting their workforces in different regions. In doing so they need to ensure they have enough capacity to handle the additional traffic, and that the quality of service is maintained throughout, which is what Nortel brings to the table.”

The Nortel solution, being sold and implemented by Nortel nPower channel partner WJ Moncrieff, includes a combination of Nortel Ethernet Routing Switch (ERS) 5530s for the network core and Nortel ERS 5520 switches at the network edge.

In this challenging remote environment, Nortel has implemented a simple solution to a complex business need, using industry-leading technology to safeguard the customer’s business. The switches feature Nortel’s unique Split Multi Link Trunking (SMLT) architecture, which eliminates single points of failure on the network by giving each switch multiple paths to route network traffic. The network also features Nortel’s Secure Network Access (SNA) technology that manages network access based on individual user profiles as opposed to physical devices, which prevents rogue devices from accessing the network without the proper user authentication.

Nortel’s data network switches have recently been validated by two independent third-party reports from InfoTech and the Tolly Group, to be significantly more resilient to failure than those of its main competitors – including the incumbent supplier for Kalgoorlie. Nortel’s solutions have also been shown to be faster and more cost effective.


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