Technology Spotlight – LAN Refresh

Technology moves fast. As a result, businesses can greatly benefit from a major hardware refresh in an effort to keep up with technology, or they will quickly fall behind.

A Local Area Network (LAN) Refresh can be as simple as replacing older/slower network hardware at a single location or as complex as a full network implementation over hundreds of locations simultaneously. Regardless of the size of the project, the end goal is to enable quicker data retrieval, increase network speed and data security

Case Study #1- National Retailer – over 300 locations deployed.

netRelevance completed a LAN Refresh for a chain of retail department stores across the United States and US territories. The project included the replacing of network cabinets and hardware, performing cable cleanup, wire management and standardizing their network infrastructure across all stores.

Our challenges included budget constraints and a very tight window to complete the project outside of store hours. The team worked over one night, ensuring completion, so the stores could open on time.

Our dedicated Service Management team seamlessly managed logistics including, scheduling resources, ordering/managing onsite material and coordinating with key onsite contacts. This included Store Operations, Department and Store Managers and our onsite technicians over multiple sites, every evening.

Standardizing their network infrastructure included implementing labeling, documentation and port patching standards across all locations.

We were able to complete over 300 locations, within 2 phases, ensuring that every store was able to open on time.

Case Study #2- National Industrial Packaging Manufacturer

netRelevance was tasked with upgrading the existing cabling and network equipment to industry standards and enhancing wireless coverage at over 21 sites for a national industrial packaging manufacturer.

A Network Survey was completed to identify all cable drops, cable types and discover any unmanaged switches. Confirmation that existing cabling met TIA/EIA standards and to determine if additional communication closets were necessary. A wireless site survey was conducted to verify wireless coverage.

The closets had been neglected for years, as well as site documentation. We strive to leave the site in better condition than which we found it. This project took some extra TLC. We created label standardization and color coding for patching all of the new cabling. This included jack/faceplate/SMB with patch panel and rack correlation.

Coordinating schedules and material delivery around light production hours at a site that operates 3 shifts/24 hours a day was particularly challenging. Coordination efforts included working with regional IT contacts, Plant Managers and Safety Officers. On-site contacts were not familiar with the Scope of Work so constant communication with onsite staff was critical.

Our customer’s expectations were exceeded as we were able to complete the project with very little down time. Some of the benefits that they enjoyed were a much faster wireless experience with no coverage gaps, flexibility of using laptops/tablets to control manufacturing equipment and faster performance from PC’s and printers.

Case Study #3- National Retailer Distribution Center

netRelevance completed a LAN Refresh at 4 distribution centers, across the U.S, for a national department store. The project included installing over 60 cables and access points, refreshing network hardware in 1 MDF and 13 IDFs and migrating a separate Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) network onto the new LAN at each location over a 3 week period, per site.

Once each location was surveyed, our Service Management team went to work assessing the existing infrastructure. During this review they identified the hardware needed to accommodate the expanding network in the MDF. In addition, a Wireless Site Survey was completed to identify coverage gaps so placement of additional access points could be determined.

Procurement and management of all materials and equipment, along with staging, was handled by our service management team.

During the installation, navigating in and around product and conveyor belts on multiple levels was challenging. The customer’s main objective was to complete this project while keeping the distribution center available to meet shipping schedules and the safety of their employees. We worked with onsite management on scheduling zone shutdowns to aid the installation and still keep the center working to ship product.

Our team performed an overnight cutover which needed to be completed as quickly as possible to minimize shutdown time. We successfully refreshed multiple IDF cabinets, refreshed and expanded the MDF, while meeting their reopening deadline.

A Validation Survey performed after the upgrade, confirmed the additional wireless coverage met and exceeded the customer’s expectations.

 

A properly executed LAN Refresh will simplify and improve the management and maintenance of your network and prepare your organization for future growth.