The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has selected Bytes Communication Systems and its Alcatel-Lucent technologies to deliver a new converged voice and data network for its more than 45 000 users.

After evaluating the lifespan of its existing infrastructure, UJ took a strategic decision to upgrade the communications network linking its various campuses, while at the same time taking advantage of new technologies such as digital convergence and VoIP. The university was looking for a single echnology partner that understands the latest advancements in technology, supports best of breed products, and with whom a long-term partnership could be formed.
Established on 1 December 2005, UJ is the result of the merger of the Rand Afrikaans University, that had previously incorporated the Daveyton and Soweto campuses of Vista University, with the Technikon Witwatersrand. UJ now has four active campuses spread over Central Gauteng: the Auckland Park Kingsway Campus, the Doornfontein Campus, the Auckland Park Bunting Road Campus and the Soweto Campus. With nine faculties, about 40 000 full-time students and 4 500 permanent employees, UJ is one of the largest residential universities on the African continent.
"Our existing communications infrastructure was nearly at the end of its life, and in order to stay ahead of technological advancements and convergence, it was time to upgrade our existing system while at the same time standardising and simplifying both the technical environments as well as the knowledge requirements," says Adriaan Vorster, CIO of UJ.
The new system provided by Bytes Communication Systems will be made up of wall-to-wall Alcatel-Lucent technology and will involve the upgrading of the voice and data network. It will also include a full upgrade of the existing call centre, moving it to a fully converged contact centre with the latest Unified Communications technology embedded.
With the new Alcatel-Lucent solution the university will be able to link the voice and data networks of the disparate campuses via existing Diginet links. The voice infrastructure at the Doornfontein has been changed out and Kingsway campuses will be migrated and upgraded to the new Alcatel-Lucent technology.
In addition the teams will be upgrading the entire data network of all campuses.
"Communicating between campuses and faculties is our lifeblood and we need a system that is reliable and secure," says Adriaan Vorster. "We also wanted to be able to take advantage of what the latest technology on the market has to offer, while partnering with a long-term technology partner that would offer us a fully supported migration path, and that has proved their mettle through high levels of service delivery as well as strategic input and thought leadership. It was with this in mind that we selected the Bytes Communication Systems team."
Looking ahead, UJ has a number of plans for its communications infrastructure including the expansion of its WiFi network. It is furthermore looking to take advantage of the full Unified Communications technology stack that will include upgrades to the call centre, voice logging system-, and triple play services.
On the data front the institution also plans to add a number of additional components including Vital QIP, Quarantine Manager and Fortinet/Brick Security.
"The UJ network is an intricate one that requires bullet-proof network reliability and security," says Richard Menton of Bytes Communication Systems. "They can't afford to let things slip through the cracks and as a result need the highest levels of service delivery there is to offer. This is an exciting project for us. UJ is a forward-thinking client that understands the role that technology can play in its business. We are looking forward to forging a long-term partnership with them."
The project will be staged in a planned rollout and is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2009.