Testimonial: Ken Taylor, Stratos Global

Project: Pitcairn Internet Rollout. IFM deployed Cisco equipment to provide Internet access to Pitcairn Island.

Why did you choose IFM for your project? We had a personal recommendation from another supplier that IFM were a very capable outfit. We checked out a number of possible suppliers and were very comfortable going with IFM.

What kinds of technology were required to meet your objectives? We were setting up a satellite link with relatively limited bandwidth for the UK government, for Pitcairn Island. The major requirement was a video conferencing link into the ISDN network. It needed to be guaranteed bandwidth. However, leaving this capacity unused when video was not required is clearly wasteful, so it needed to become available for use for telephone traffic, and finally for Internet traffic if no other (higher priority) requirements existed. There needed to be VPN capability for network management, and support of separate VLAN’s for various customers, services and the management system. We needed to have only one link coming back to Auckland over the satellite, so everything had to be transported as IP.

What were the key challenges? How did IFM approach them? We worked with a tight budget, tight bandwidths, and very poor logistics (transport and existing communications) to the island. We needed to have everything sent in the shipment; it needed to be pre-configured, and there was basically no room for error. The ship would be delivering the equipment and the installation team and then returning 3 weeks later – there was no slippage available and no time to organise any ‘forgotten’ parts to be delivered. IFM were extremely thorough in planning, and made sure that sufficient capability was present in every router to support the roles required. All deliveries were made on schedule and were complete, which was a critical requirement for project success.

Did IFM make suggestions that you implemented? What were the benefits? IFM made a number of configuration suggestions and we implemented virtually all. Some had cost implications, which unfortunately couldn’t be made to fit the budget, although we and the client tried! IFM’s suggestions resulted in better management of the network and better bandwidth utilisation.

What has been the feedback from Pitcairn Island so far? The islanders and the UK government have been extremely happy with the outcome. With the assistance of IFM we were able to help Pitcairn Island leap from virtually no communications (except for extremely expensive and low-bandwidth satellite phones) to a modern telephone system with ADSL-2+ overlay and ISDN video-conference capability. Every home and office on the island has voice and Internet capability and traffic figures support anecdotal evidence of a high take-up of service.

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