Greater Manchester Police (GMP) is spending £12.5m to replace its analogue communications network with an optical metropolitan area network (Man) to speed data access in time for this year's Commonwealth Games.
The network will consist of 35 core multi-service platforms at the force's main sites with other sites linked in via optical Ethernet.
It was developed at BT's research and development centre in Suffolk and will see the existing analogue network replaced with fibre optic cabling.
The Man will be operational from June this year and will link 120 sites with the ability to carry voice, data and converged applications over the same network.
"Many of GMP's sites are still on BT kilostream lines and the stated requirement was 4Mbps for the central site," said John Conlon, client director at BT. "The new system is set to last for about six to seven years and we are using the Commonwealth Games as target time for its delivery."
The legacy network was made up of 37 Siemens ISDX switches and 90 leased lines connecting other sites. After consultancy, it was decided to migrate to IP telephony as the Siemens infrastructure was nearing the end of its life.
Implementing the system held many challenges for GMP because more than 6,500 users relied on the voice system.
"GMP could not do it with a big bang because it was not possible to build an IP telephony infrastructure and just turn it on, and the old one off, because there would be too much disruption," said Conlon.
BT maintained that there is significant interest from other police forces for networks of this type, and that technologies such as CCTV and video conferencing are currently being developed to work on the new network.
The network will make use of Man products from Nortel Networks, such as its Passport 8600 switch, to enable the existing voice infrastructure to be integrated into a broadband voice and data network.
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