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Worthing BC has appointed independent data and telecommunications consultancy Improcom to handle all elements of an...
Worthing BC has appointed independent data and telecommunications consultancy Improcom to handle all elements of an extensive upgrade to its local area network (LAN). Improcom will oversee all stages,

from the definition of the project to its successful completion. This will involve preparation of a detailed technical specification, evaluation of tenders, and supervision of the upgrade, which includes the complete replacement of cabling and associated communication equipment at Worthing Town Hall, with links to existing cabling in other buildings.

And at North Yorkshire CC, Improcom is carrying out a full review of the council's wide area network (WAN), which connects 50 offices across the county, and developing a longer-term WAN/LAN strategy for the authority.

This assignment also involves an audit of WAN equipment at five major and five smaller sites, with a review of current and future technologies, protocols and development strategies.

Improcom is also working with Leeds City Council to develop a detailed specification for a new 'one-stop-shop' call centre as the basis of a Framework Call-off Agreement for future procurement, with detailed specifications for the immediate procurement of two specific call centres.

The project at Worthing focuses on the town hall, a three-storey building built in the 1930s. Its data networking cabling, originally designed for low volume mainframe traffic, is now more than 10 years old and requires substantial upgrading to meet user requirements from 150 PCs and servers located within the building and a further 150 PCs at other sites. Future developments are expected to increase the demand for network capacity still further.

To resolve this, Improcom will work with the council's technical staff to develop a detailed technical specification of requirements, within a flexible framework to accommodate future changes in user needs and data volumes, the future integration of voice and data, and the potential for integrated network management.

Improcom's consultants will then source network contractors, shortlist suitable suppliers, prepare an invitation to tender for this work, analyse bids and recommend a preferred supplier. The consultants will then project manage the entire upgrade with monitoring of all agreed deliverables to achieve an implementation meeting the authority's criteria for success. Improcom will be retained for a three month post-implementation period to ensure that any outstanding issues or problems are resolved to the council's satisfaction.

As the largest and most rural county in England, North Yorkshire CC has commissioned the review of its WAN in order better to serve its widespread population in line with the government's best value policy and its own Quality of Life vision.

The increasing use of email, client-server applications and inter- and intranet developments within the authority has meant a rapid growth in the demand for, and dependence on, the current wide and local area networks. At the same time, developments in new technology have meant that the council needs to ensure optimum performance from its system, as well as future-proofing it against this backdrop of increasing demand.

The existing network, installed in 1996 in order to migrate from an OSI-based system to a Router based network environment, provides the infrastructure to support the inter-connection of a large NetWare user base and to ensure wider availability of TCP/IP services including intranet and internet.

The network is based on a backbone of five Cray System Centre 3010 routers, partially meshed with 256k Kilostream 'N' circuits. Remote offices have installed either the Cray Matchbox router or Intel Express, connecting to the local serving site via 64k Kilostream links. Smaller, server-less sites access NetWare servers at local tandem sites equipped with a dual port version of the Matchbox router.

The brief to Improcom is to research and fully document the capabilities and performance of this system, investigate and document current bandwidth utilisation for backbone and access circuits including a protocol profile, and define known and projected future WAN requirements.

Improcom will also recommend appropriate options for a replacement, scalable, Wide Area Network capable of supporting current and projected requirements, taking into account future technological and market directions.

The report will include a feasibility study for the integration of corporate voice and data as an option over a replacement WAN, identifying alternative proven technologies.

To satisfy the brief provided by North Yorkshire CC, Improcom will carry out a physical audit of main WAN equipment at five major sites and a sample of five smaller sites, interview management and staff with day-to-day responsibility for the management and operation of the network, and review current technologies and protocols. It will then consider migration and future strategic development options, including supplier costings, and prepare a comprehensive report of all findings and recommendations.

The final data networking strategy report will be presented to the council following Improcom-run workshops to review the strengths and weaknesses of future strategic options and proposed solutions.

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