Fibre and SD-WAN solution provides twice the bandwidth at a lower cost with full visibility of network performance.


Skillinvest, a leading training and employment organisation, was experiencing network slowdowns and its incumbent network provider couldn’t provide visibility of what the root causes were. It needed better performance and full transparency of what was happening on the network as well as the ability to access all network connected devices from its central IT support team.


  • Industry: employment and education
  • Solution: replacement of costly MPLS links with high-efficiency fibre and an SD-WAN solution providing enhanced network visibility and security, enabling more proactive IT management.


  • Skillinvest’s WAN was performing poorly but the root cause wasn’t obvious and the incumbent supplier wasn’t responsive.
  • Its IT architecture was designed entirely around Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud applications, so network performance was critical to minimise risk to service delivery and protect its reputation for high quality professional services.
  • As an education provider with a limited IT budget, central manageability of network architecture and connected devices was also extremely important.


  • With the implementation of Vocus' Managed SD-WAN solution, Skillinvest was able to double its bandwidth for the same cost.
  • The solution offered a single-screen live view of the entire network, enabling easier identification of threats and understanding of traffic patterns.
  • It greatly reduced the need for on-site IT work, enhancing the response times for staff support.

How Vocus helped Skillinvest get its network running smoothly

Skillinvest's mission is to support the professional development and growth of individuals by placing them with businesses, was being hampered by its existing network solution. The primary problem was that the incumbent network provider couldn’t provide the transparency needed to diagnose network performance issues. The links were also expensive by current market benchmarks.

After reviewing competitive providers, Skillinvest selected Vocus to provide a major network uplift including upgrading links to fibre and implementing Vocus Managed SD-WAN to provide modern network management capabilities.

“When we were comparing vendors, Vocus stood out because its account managers were highly responsive. And I’m happy to say this has carried through before, during and after implementation. It is such a benefit compared to our previous provider to know that if we ever have an issue, Vocus will respond quickly and sort it out.”
Phil Mathieson, IT Manager, Skillinvest.

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The problem came down to lack of visibility

Skillinvest's original network was built around older style Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) links. These were high cost, relatively slow and came with no diagnostic tools to monitor and diagnose network traffic issues. There was also lack of responsive account management from the previous provider.

After listening to Skillinvest’s needs, Vocus recommended and implemented fibre links, an intelligent SD-WAN overlay with Next Generation Firewall Services using Fortinet, replacing Skillinvest's old wide area network architecture. The new solution increased network visibility through tools delivered by Vocus.

“I now have one screen right in front of me that shows me live network threats and traffic for the whole network. It is a game changer for me to be able to see issues as they arise in real time and be able to deal with them straight away before they affect anyone on the network.”

Phil Mathieson, IT Manager, Skillinvest.

The implementation of Vocus Managed SD-WAN with enhanced security solution allowed Skillinvest to remove on-site server infrastructure, with all activities now taking place on vendor-hosted SaaS solutions.

The Vocus Managed SD-WAN solution led to a significant improvement in Skillinvest's network performance and management. Bandwidth increased by over 100% at all sites, while costs reduced by half.

Improved reliability and speed equates to happier users

It wasn’t just painful for IT dealing with a legacy infrastructure that didn’t come with the toolset to easily diagnose performance issues. It was also very frustrating for the staff and students using it.

Vocus’ SD-WAN solution provided the tools needed to significantly improve the response times for support, with most issues now fixed remotely rather than the small number of IT staff having to travel to sites to fix problems.

The new system also brought greater visibility of security, with the ability to identify and respond to threats in real time.

The result was that staff were less frustrated overall with the infrastructure provided by IT. Applications and data at the institution now work smoothly and if an issue ever arises, it can be diagnosed and fixed quickly rather than having to wait for a technician to visit and troubleshoot.

“We now provide first class connectivity to everyone,” said Skillinvest’s Phil Mathieson. “Staff and students can work with high quality access to their apps and data regardless of their location – even if they’re working remotely, and we can assist them much more easily if they ever need support.”

A successful partnership

Skillinvest's partnership with Vocus has been highly successful. Vocus’ high-performance fibre, responsive account management and implementation of a powerful SD-WAN overlay has given Skillinvest’s small IT team the tools it needs to easily manage the network and attached resources.

Through the implementation of the Vocus Managed SD-WAN solution, Skillinvest has been able to provide consistent, fast network performance for its internal customers, which translates to better service delivery for its external customers. Skillinvest recognised that Vocus’ responsive team, available to assist them quickly whenever needed, made the difference in the successful network implementation and operation.

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