Antarctic agency unfreezes data links

Scientific data sent in the small hours

Antarctica New Zealand is making use of technology from application and traffic management provider Allot to improve the link between its Christchurch office and field operations in Antrarctica.

Mike Mahon, IT manager at Antarctica NZ, says Allot's NetEnforcer product was installed in September and deployed to manage the satellite data link between Christchurch and Scott Base.

"It sets priorities and manages the link resources."

Such a management tool was necessary because Antarctica NZ is upgrading its frame relay satellite link from 64kbit/s constant to 64kbit/s burstable to 128kbit/s.

"We wanted to give priority to Citrix traffic and use more SMTP traffic and remote control protocols and are using Allot to enforce times when scientists can download large files."

Those times are restricted to "the wee small hours of the morning," and Allot "creates a window for them to do that — during normal working hours, they can still get in to their instruments to get data, but don't have full access."

Antarctica NZ looked at other vendors including Packeteer before deciding on Allot.

"The management of Allot was a bit more intuitive."

The ability to lock in for Citrix and to assign priority to published apps were among the factors that tipped the scales in Allot's favour.

Antarctica NZ also looked at traffic compression provider Peribit Networks "but it was in its early stages and didn't have a lot of features it has now," Mahon says. However, Peribit will be trialled this year "and we would use it in conjunction with Allot."

The Department of Conservation also uses Peribit to squeeze more out of its satellite links to the Chatham Islands, Great Barrier Island and a field site on the shores of Lake Waikaremoana. Other Allot customers in New Zealand include Woosh Wireless and APN New Zealand, publisher of the New Zealand Herald.

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