Cost-effective connectivity across small sites and remote locations

How members are leveraging REANNZ’s Managed Access and Edge products

Many of REANNZ’s members have remote or small sites across Aotearoa’s diverse landscape. They come to us needing tailored solutions that can support a common digital experience for their students and staff – wherever they are.

Our Managed Access and Edge (MAE) suite of products have been developed to provide these members with a robust choice of technologies to support their unique connectivity and data transfer needs. These might include UFB, 4G, Satellite, WiFi, and many more. When we put a new connectivity service in place for them, we’ll manage and monitor the MAE to ensure optimal performance, as well as integration into members’ existing networks.

Over the past year, REANNZ helped Plant and Food Research with a smart solution for their remote offices using MAE Flex.

David Dyer, the technology services manager at Plant and Food, told us: “We are geographically dispersed. The smallest site we have is Gore, and we have about 15 network sites around the country and a small presence in Adelaide. A lot of our regional sites have trouble with connectivity – they’re remote.”

“REANNZ organised the circuit in Kerikeri for us. It increased us from a 100Mb circuit to a 1Gb circuit. It meant everything worked better, especially video conferencing.”

And our technical team also got stuck into the challenge of how to deal with their remote site in Clyde, which had become their problem child for connectivity.

“We started off with 4G but we got congestion on the cell tower and that was heavily impacting services. It went well until school holidays when a lot of people where on the Rail Trail. We worked with REANNZ on a WISP and Starlink connection which we purchased off One NZ. And we trialled with different ways of connecting. They were both as good as each other in terms of bandwidth and latency. We decided to go with the WISP solution because it was a better steady circuit. The end result is a good story – everyone was really impressed with the connectivity at the site.”

David Dyer, the technology services manager, snapped a selfie at Clyde Dam, where one of Plant and Food’s remote regional sites is located.

For David, there were also other benefits: “REANNZ is really good because they’re a smaller telco or ISP, if you like. They’re more agile, nimble and respond to your needs. It’s easier dealing with one telco for data needs.”

But it’s not just our MAE Flex solution that is helping address the challenge of connectivity for small sites and remote locations. University of Otago University has been using our MAE Lite product with enormous success because it provides a consistent experience for their students and researchers across multiple sites.

MAE Lite enables members to connect their smaller sites or remote locations to REANNZ’s high speed network, at a significantly lower cost, by leveraging existing Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) infrastructure. 

Wallace Chase, their Head of Infrastructure, changed up what the University of Otago had been using, and he’s very happy with the result.

“The University had contracts with several other providers and a lot of those contracts were not very favourable rate-wise. We were able to consolidate all those contracts with REANNZ, and we’ve saved enough that way that we’ve been able to bring in around ten more sites on board and provide a uniform experience for students,” he said.

Dan Twohill, REANNZ’s Team Lead for Network Services, notes that MAE can be custom catered for any sized member and their location.

“MAE offers our members customisation and flexibility. It solves unique connectivity challenges – such as making remote locations feel more like an urban site with the same type of services and consistency. Plus, because it’s a managed service, we’re always proactively monitoring it and will reach out to our members directly if there’s a problem.”

Dan has been with REANNZ for over five years. He loves getting to know our customers: “It’s really nice to see the impact we make and hear about the benefits our products make to the researchers working around the country.”

For more information about our MAE products and services, get in touch with our engagement team:

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