Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) has completed its migration to IP-based voice, video and data applications over a national corporate network, a move it says will cut by 20 per cent its network costs.

Mississauga, Ont.-based

AECL said Bell Canada’s IP Virtual Private Network service will also triple bandwidth and simplify network operations.

Bob Graham, network supervisor for AECL, a global nuclear technology and engineering company, said it had been using Passport products for a single T1 connection for voice and data applications.

“”And the Passports, which are a Nortel product, were becoming more costly to maintain, and we were looking for a solution,”” he explained. He said on top of the initial cost of the Passport technology, AECL had to pay a percentage of its maintenance.

AECL, which communicates with its major locations in Chalk River, Ont., Mississauga, Montreal and Ottawa, was able to displace the Passport gear with voice over IP that fits well with the IP backbone Bell Canada provided, said Graham.

“”So we didn’t have to have any additional technology owned by AECL to make this happen for us,”” he said.

Bell Canada is responsible for planning, design and implementation of the new infrastructure, as well as testing, training, auditing and follow-up maintenance and support.

“”The other value (of the new network) is that it’s a cloud rather than a point-to-point connection, which in a disaster recovering plan makes it much easier to connect one of the smaller sites to one of the two surviving data centres, if we had an issue,”” Graham explained.

So AECL connects to the IP cloud, and Bell Canada takes care of routing to the next customer facility, he added.

Graham said AECL chose Bell because it’s been a long-time partner, having provided it with the traditional T1s, and has the contract to maintain its network gear. Bell is also AECL’s single point of contact for network failures.

Athough AECL was cautious about switching to a IP VPN, Graham said the greatest concern was the cost related to its remote Chalk River facility, which lacked the Bell gear to physically support it. So he said AECL had to backhaul into the Ottawa Bell network to provide the connectivity. There were no additional expenses in taking this route.

Louis Savoie, the Ottawa-based regional vice-president of Bell Canada’s enterprise group who’s also responsible for the federal government account, said Canadian companies are making huge investments in networks that deliver video, data and voice applications.

Bell Canada itself has been re-directing all of its investments into its IP infrastructure and IP services, as well as network solutions and value-added services. All legacy data networks will be torn down, said Savoie.

Savoie said another benefit of IP VPNs is that organizations can establish cheaper, scaleable, and high-quality community-of-interest networks to use internally or with customers and business partners.

“”So they don’t have to create multiple networks. They just create one network but establish multiple VPNs tying together the different communities.””

The broadness of these community-of-interest networks dictates how much money a company can save, he added. “”It could be literally anywhere from 10 per cent of your current network cost to 100 per cent of your network cost.””

As worldwide borders open up to electronic commerce, secure, reliable IP networks “”becomes critical,”” he explained.

One of Bell Canada’s larger IP VPN customers is the Department of Foreign Affairs, which is in the midst of a rollout to its more than 160 international locations. Other federal government departments serving these cities will also be able to tap in to the network operated by Foreign Affairs.


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