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Landcorp ditches satellite
Mon, 1st Jun 2009
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Landcorp has ditched its ipstar satellite- based services for an Araneo wireless broadband system.The new broadband solution will be spread across Landcorp’s entire 112 farms, two-thirds of which are based in the North Island.The upgrade follows Landcorp’s earlier central Wellington office ICT upgrade. Landcorp IT manager Mark Johnstone says they hired consultancy firm Voco to manage the process and supply technical advice for the project. Wellington-based Araneo, which is majority owned by NZX-listed TeamTalk, was chosen to supply a microwave-based solution.While only 13 farms have been connected so far, the Araneo solution will be in place on all of Landcorp’s North Island farms by the end of this calendar year, while South Island farms will be connected by the end of the next calendar year. Johnstone says their farmers will now be upgraded to a “business grade” connection under the new deal, which is essential for farms to run modern applications and systems. He notes that the driver behind the change was to improve communications between farmers and Landcorp’s central Wellington office. Landcorp farmers use two main tools now, which include a farm management system and budgeting tools as well as email. The company is looking to implement an IP phone solution for all farmers, who will be able to connect to the corporate office through a central PBX system. Johnstone says they are also looking at deploying a video conferencing solution, which could cut down on travelling times between farms. Sixty-five percent of Landcorp’s farms were using an ipstar satellite solution through ICONZ, while the rest were using a mix of ADSL services and Kordia’s Extend wireless solution. Johnstone says the main issue with satellite was that services were prone to interference when the weather was bad. He adds that latency was also an issue for farmers using real-time farming applications. Araneo’s Jon Brewer says they will be using licensed 6/7/11GHz DMR backbone to towers throughout the North Island, as far north as Kaitaia, and as far east as Gisborne. The company is also using unlicensed P-P wireless links from the backbone to the farms with symmetric 2Mbps broadband delivered to each end user location.Round trip latencies to any farm are in the order of 30ms. Compared to other satellite solutions, latency starts at 500ms and averages at 800ms and 1.2 seconds, according to Brewer.