CASE STUDY - Benetton Resilient Comms
By Cloud Direct • 28 May 2014
Benetton resilient communications
The Italian fashion giant Benetton, whose United Colors of Benetton outlets rank among the most widely recognised stores on today’s UK high streets, has deployed the latest in converged communications technology across its UK network. The request was for a complete managed service with full remote management; the result is a high availability, highly resilient communications network connecting the group’s head office to many remote sites including its prestigious “Flagship” store in London’s Regent Street.
High availability and resilience
Benetton’s pioneering approach to the fashion industry is not restricted to its clothing products or, indeed, to its highly recognisable advertising campaigns. Its continued investment in the latest technology enables the Group to provide its customers with an unrivalled degree of service while keeping its administration costs under tight control.
Benetton is an established customer of Cloud Direct, one of Europe’s leading specialist providers of managed, resilient networks who has again worked alongside the fashion giant to develop its next generation communications strategy.
The latest phase in Benetton’s communications development called for high availability at its head office and its Regent Street store as well as resilience across its network in the United Kingdom. Benetton also required a complete managed service with full remote management.
The company also wanted the capability to gradually introduce new applications and services such as greater back office integration between the UK and the Group’s Italian Headquarters, and the roll-out of digital signage which is set to become an increasing feature in United Colors of Benetton stores
High transmission speed in both directions
At the beginning of this latest project, Cloud Direct updated Benetton’s head office with a combination of SHDSL and ADSL routers installed to provide the BRRP (Bintec Router Redundancy Protocol) capability.
BRRP allows two devices to be operated “redundantly” and act as one device within the network. If the network connection drops out or the router should malfunction, data is automatically switched to a back up device.
Cloud Direct used a pair of Funkwerk routers to completely mask any SHDSL or ADSL failures. They are the R3400 and R3000 models added to Funkwerk’s wide ranging router family. The R3400 was designed by Funkwerk specifically for high speed internet access and for VPN connection for medium sized companies with remote sites or branch offices. It is an SHDSL router which provides users with the same high transmission speed in both directions making it ideal for hosting services such as the provision of web and email servers or for virtual workplaces.
The R3000 router is a multi protocol router equipped with an integrated ADSL(2+) modem and supports redundant router protocol which means a pair of routers can automatically handle circuit or hardware/ power failure.
Successful migration from ISDN to DSL
Phase two of the programme brought the Regents Street store into the new network to both prove the BRRP capability and to confirm the resilient features of the VPN where the routers automatically switch to a back up site and reroute the VPN.
“Using broadband and a VPN is very cost effective, but network failures can cause real operational problems” says Mark Bishop IT Manager at Benetton “but with the Funkwerk equipment used, the switchover is automatic, as is the switch back once the problem is resolved. In fact, it works so well at our key sites, that we normally don’t know we’ve had a problem.” Adds Mark.
The final phase involved completing the network with the introduction of Funkwerk R230a routers to the remote locations. These routers are replacements for Funkwerk’s successful X2301 devices and feature the same high level of remote management as the more expensive routers used at Benetton’s HQ and Regents Street store. They can also automatically switch to the backup VPN if there is a network problem.
According to Paul Moss, Cloud Direct’s Director of Sales, using Funkwerk’s routers and its XAdmin network provisioning and management platform throughout the Benetton network allows Cloud Direct to provide a full managed service “even down to tracing IP packets at any site remotely”.
“Any problems we incurred when commissioning Benetton’s latest network were quickly overcome thanks to some excellent support from Funkwerk”. Says Moss. “They helped us identify and resolve some ISP negotiation issues which were diagnosed remotely via the internet and they also worked with us to enhance their BRRP capability so that we could migrate a tried and tested ISDN solution to DSL”.
The request was for a complete managed service with full remote management. The result is a high availability resilient VPN that can be enhanced with new IP applications with inherent IP quality of service giving the ability to manage and prioritise mission critical applications such as card processing.
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