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ASI and 3Com to network Victorian Education

ASI and 3Com to network Victorian Education

Network hardware and services provider, ASI Solutions, will supply the Victorian state Department of Education and Training (DE&T) with 3Com’s LAN switches under a new tender worth more than $1.1 million.

The deal will see ASI roll-out 1660 3Com SuperStack 4228G LAN switches to each Government school in Victoria for use in each school’s Administration (called the Computerised Administrative System Environment in Schools or CASES) network.

The roll-out is expected to begin in early 2004 and will involve a minimum of 46,480 ports.

3Com has a strong history with DE&T, previously holding a tender to service the CASES contract using its SS2 3300 switch.

While ASI was one of two companies supplying 3Com gear under the previous contract, the new tender will see ASI become the single 3Com provider for DE&T.

ASI will also continue as the only reseller of 3Com’s Active LAN products featured in the DE&T’s panel of recommended suppliers, used for networking solutions across the curriculum side of the school networks.

This encompasses LAN products such as switches, wireless, and 3Com’s voice over IP (VoIP) solution.

ASI initially won the panel contract in 2000.

The provider previously implemented 3Com’s NBX VoIP solution across a selection of schools governed by the education department as well as the William Angliss Tafe in Victoria.

ASI director of sales Maree Lowe said the contract with DE&T was indicative of the increasing level of technological activity occurring across the education sector.

“We’ve gone past just putting desktops into schools. Two years ago, schools needed more basic staff, but we’re now getting into infrastructure,” she said.

With the push to increase the amount of network bandwidth going into schools, developing the infrastructure to support it has become a key factor for education departments across Australia, Lowe said.

“Schools don’t need product, they need technology advice.

“For everyone working in this market, there’s a lot of opportunity if you have the right approach.”

Lowe predicted the big growth areas for schools over the next 18 months would include combined voice and data solutions, as well as video conferencing.

The evaluation process for the tender involved months of rigorous testing on switch products from a variety of vendors. They included 3Com’s 4400SE LAN switch.

Tests were based on the technological functionality, cost effectiveness and service capabilities related to the switch product.

As well as providing the hardware, ASI will work with 3Com in providing product training for DE&T’s contracted and school-based technicians in January 2004.

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