News Release

Cisco Solution Helps Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Improve Productivity Through Converged Networking

Cisco IP solution connects RNZFB offices across NZ, providing higher-speed Internet access and increased communications mobility
Jul 05, 2004

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - July 5, 2004 - Cisco Systems® announced today it has provided core, wireless and security networking infrastructure to the New Zealand Royal Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB) to reduce operational costs and increase workforce mobility. The Internet Protocol (IP)-based Cisco® network will provide 100 megabits per second Ethernet speed to the desktop for about 400 RNZFB staff and will lay the foundation for the migration to IP telephony.

The RNZFB has six main offices in New Zealand's largest cities: Auckland, Manurewa (Guide Dog Services), Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. The Foundation operates 12 branch offices throughout the country, for a total of 400 staff.

RNZFB Information Systems Manager John Holley said; "Our previous network was old and fragmented—real legacy material. We wanted a new, modern network and it was crucial that it enabled us to prepare for easy upgrades to developments such as IP telephony."

Mr Holley said the network was also a strategic asset for the RNZFB because it would help lay the platform for the migration of all of its telephony traffic onto IP by the end of 2005.

The RNZFB worked with Cisco and systems integrator, Computerland, to design, test and deploy a nationwide, scalable IP network that could securely allow staff to take advantage of the benefits of IP communications. Cisco Catalyst® 2950 and Catalyst 3750 switches provide 1 Gigabit Ethernet speeds to the Foundation's servers across New Zealand, and 100 Megabit per second Ethernet connectivity to all desktops.

One of RNZFB's primary requirements was to enable as many staff as possible to gain access to the corporate network in a mobile environment. This factor was particularly important for some of the Foundation's vision-impaired or blind staff. Their laptops may be Braille-enabled and use audio screen-reading software. A Cisco Aironet® wireless network helps those staff access the latest files and e-mail in a more flexible environment than the traditional cabled network structure.

To enable the wireless access, Cisco Aironet 1200 Series access points were deployed in the main RNZFB offices. Network security is enabled by a Cisco PIX® firewall provided by Telecom New Zealand.

Cisco New Zealand country manager, David Barker, said, "The benefits of aligning the secure IP network to the business process and applications are clear. The RNZFB was focused on its goal of deploying IP-based technologies to help improve its business, and we believe those technologies will help the organisation to improve productivity and better serve its member base."