American University in Dubai upgrades network

Cisco loses out to Nortel on contract worth close to one million UAE dirhams to upgrade university's network infrastructure.

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By  Michele Howe Published  September 20, 2007

The American University in Dubai (AUD) has renewed its partnership with Nortel, awarding the network vendor a contract worth nearly one million UAE dirhams ($272,000) to upgrade its network infrastructure.

The private establishment selected Nortel to help it enhance and improve the capacity of its existing network, based on Nortel gear, in order to consolidate communications between its different campus buildings.

It considered two vendors for the project, Cisco and Nortel, before opting for the latter, Frank Seifaee, information technology services manager at the AUD, told

"The proposal from Nortel financially made more sense and also we were already an existing client of Nortel," he said. "We were aware of the company, the performance of the equipment and familiar with a lot of the switches so they had the advantage over Cisco."

The value of the contract with Nortel was "close to one million UAE dirhams", Seifaee said.

"Before we had Nortel switches and the core was Nortel...but the product was over six years old and some of the switches were not supported any more," he explained.

"We also had some requirements that we needed to implement which the existing switches didn't support," he added.

The project, which lasted roughly six weeks, was 95%-98% complete, he said.

Seifaee said that the upgrade would enable the university to run more efficiently on several levels.

First, it would enable better connectivity between the different facilities without compromising security; second, it would allow the university to add enhanced security in terms of spyware and anti-virus programs; and third, as a result of the upgrade, the IT department would be able to isolate faults on the network and close a specific port, rather than having to shut down a large number of ports as was previously the case.

The university's campus network solution, which was deployed by Nortel together with its channel partner MDS PACC, is based on the Nortel's Ethernet Routing Switch portfolio that includes Nortel's Ethernet Routing Switches 8600 and Ethernet Routing Switches 3510 and 5520.

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