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MBC Group rolls out advanced Cisco network

Network will allow high bandwidth transmission of data and video

Broadcaster MBC has rolled out a set of network solutions from Cisco to improve communications and collaboration across the group.

The WAN and wireless network will link MBC headquarters in Dubai with branch offices and 3 production sites across the region, and will be used to transfer data plus live and pre-recorded video content. The network is, in part, intended to give MBC a cheaper alternative to transferring content by satellite.

Amjad Edris, chief technology officer at MBC, said: "The liberalisation of the communications sector in the Middle East has led to an exceptional boom in the number of free-to-air channels. Due to the very timely and sensitive nature of broadcasting, as well as the rapid growth that our operations are witnessing, we turned to Cisco to deploy a very strong and reliable platform that can handle our requirements.

Edris added: "Cisco has provided us with a scalable broadcast solution based on IP architecture, by interconnecting disparate networks, we have opened the possibility for collaborative working with our regional offices and production studios as well as managed to centralize network management and significantly reduce operational costs."

The deployment also includes a number of other Cisco solutions, including CiscoUnified Communications Presence, Unified Messaging, MeetingPlace collaboration and IP video and wireless telephone systems, to enhance communications and collaboration between staff and Cisco call centre solutions which will provide the basis for an in-house IT help desk.

The network is protected by Cisco firewalls, Network Admission Control and Security Mitigation and Response Systems and an intrusion detection system.

Sam Alkharrat, managing director for Cisco, Gulf and Pakistan said: "MBC can now integrate Cisco Unified Communications applications over the IP network, using Cisco's advanced capabilities. The new state-of-the-art infrastructure will also help MBC harness the power of Web 2.0 in order to effectively organise and categorise content, improve collaboration, open new communication channels, and link into its business processes.