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UNSW Electrical Engineering Building

UNSW Electrical Engineering Building

Right from the start, the refurbishment of the University of NSW (UNSW) Electrical Engineering Building was an exciting, innovative and challenging project.

This was a project that needed the specialised skill set of a company that could design, supply, build, stage and commission a bespoke private network solution …

… which is why Fredon chose OSA as their technology partner for the job.

The ability to design, supply, build, stage and commission a private network

The ability to design, supply, build, stage and commission a private network

Andrew Newton, project manager at Fredon Industries, knew that OSA would be the ideal technology partner for this project because of OSA’s unique R&D capabilities.

“Normally, Fredon’s role is to supply and install the passive gear such as data cable and power, and then our clients will engage specialist contractors to install and configure their active gear, but this time it was different,” says Andrew.

“The University of NSW wanted us to also quote on installing and configuring a private network, so Fredon had two options.

We could either supply and install the passive gear ourselves and then brief a separate consultancy company that specialised in setting up networks …

… or we could save a substantial amount of time by partnering with OSA, who had the ability to deliver a plug-and-play solution.”

The ability to deliver cost-saving options and value-add

The ability to deliver cost-saving options and value-add

For Andrew Newton, there were two key reasons why OSA stood head and shoulders above their competition.

“OSA were the only supplier who were willing and capable of delivering both the passive and the active components for this project.

Their unique R&D capabilities enabled us to successfully tender for this project, and then deliver a complete network solution for the University of NSW Electrical engineering building.

And their willingness to think creatively about different ways the active gear and network could be set up, and yet still enable Fredon to meet the brief under the University’s design construct guidelines, resulted in a better design.

When they flew Graham down to Sydney to review and check the brief, we were impressed with the level of his expertise and just how professional the entire team was.

It was an absolute no-brainer to go with OSA.”

The ability to draw on the strengths of an Australia wide team

The ability to draw on the strengths of an Australia-wide team

As Australia’s largest independently owned network distribution company, the team at OSA was able to draw on the strengths of their size, engaging the services of team members from both their NSW and Queensland branches to work together as the one team.

“There were three parts to this job: the overall campus network, the private network, and the private network communications rack,” says Richard Candrick, OSA’s Silverwater Branch Manager.

“Firstly, we supplied all the comms equipment from our Sydney office, but because Fredon also needed OSA to assist with design and commissioning the private network, we needed to engage the services of our Queensland team. We flew Graham Brown, our National Engineering Manager, and Mohsen Rahimi, one of our engineers, down for our presentation of our Capability Statement to Fredon.

Our R&D facilities in our Queensland office meant Graham and his team of experienced engineers could fully stage, design, build and test the entire private network in our Queensland office. Graham sat with Fredon through all of the technical meetings with the university, and whenever Fredon had a query, we flew Graham down the very next day … so distance was never a barrier.”

The ability and confidence to deliver a flexible and bespoke plug-and-play solution

The ability and confidence to deliver a flexible and bespoke plug-and-play solution

OSA’s relationships with their vendors enabled them to deliver a bespoke solution for Fredon and the University of NSW.

Although OSA originally designed the network using HP switches, when the university specified they use CISCO switches instead, OSA made the necessary changes so the network would fit with their requirements.

Another challenge was that the university required a different coloured cable for the private network to the existing university network. The existing network used yellow cable, so OSA worked with their vendor to engineer the cable for Fredon, getting it colour-sheathed in a different colour.

“After we built and configured the network in our R&D labs, we tested the entire private network under high levels of traffic to simulate a real working environment,” says Graham. “When the first stage of the network was completed, we shipped the private network down to Sydney and provided detailed documentation to ensure it was straight forward for the installers to install the network. We organised testing to the university standards and flew down to do the testing in front of the customer documenting all of the results. And now that stage 1 of this project has gone live (the northern section of the Electrical Engineering Building), we are repeating the same process for stage 2, the southern part of the university.”

The ability to warehouse stock and deliver on time

The ability to warehouse stock and deliver on time

“With any project of this size, timing is crucial,” says Andrew.

“And any delay in stock can have a huge knock-on effect on a project.

Unlike a lot of their competition, OSA is not a box dropper. OSA’s Australia-wide network of warehouse and industry-wide reputation for delivering on time, every time, meant that Fredon knew we could always rely on them to have the stock ready and waiting in their warehouses for when it was required.

There will always be items that you don’t realise you need until you’re into the project, but OSA’s proactive communication, technical understanding of all of the requirements of the project and super fast delivery meant that they were always one step ahead and we never had any hold-ups with the delivery of stock.”

The ability to solve problems and de-risk the project

“OSA solved a number of problems for Fredon, such as the original gateway/subnet for the private network not being able to be used because the number was already allocated to the UNSW,” says Andrew.

“Also, some of the technical information the client gave us was wrong so OSA had to reconfigure part of the network, and they flew Graham and Mohsen down to do the final configuration of the fire wall. OSA really are head and shoulders above their competition because they are the only Australian network distribution company to have both system design and staging capabilities.

They also have specialised engineers to engineer the hardware … it’s no good having the product if you haven’t got the ability to put it all together! Our partnership with OSA has extended over 20 years because they provide excellent service and they always excel with deliveries. We’ve never had to worry about keeping on top of OSA because they are always so proactive.

If there were two different technology partners quoting the same price, OSA would always win the tender because of their service and the value-adding their technical expertise provides. By prestaging this private network in their Queensland lab, OSA have delivered a plug and play solution … and de-risked the project for both Fredon and the university.”

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