Thursday, December 8, 2022

How SD-WAN is Used by Brooks Brothers, Riedel Networks, Lush, Thailand Government Savings Bank, and Plusnet: Case Studies

Many company leaders rely on a software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) to give their employees the essential network connectivity and stability they need to perform their roles.

An SD-WAN allows customers to use various connectivity solutions to help users access applications and services within an online infrastructure. SD-WAN also has centralized control functionality to direct traffic across the network, ensuring consistently high performance and availability.

See below for five case studies on how SD-WAN technologies helped organizations in different industries:

See more: Top Enterprise Networking Solutions and Companies

1. Riedel Networks

People are increasingly looking for ways to use cars differently. What if a person could remotely operate a delivery vehicle or taxi? If they did so from a centralized control center, that capability could address driver shortages that pose transportation sector challenges.

Michael Resl is the director of competition and technology at ITR, which promotes the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) grand touring car series. Resl had a pioneering vision to prove what’s possible for the future of remotely operated vehicles. He wanted to launch an event where a person would maneuver in an electric race car while being more than 80 km away from the vehicle in motion.

Riedel Networks was the chosen service provider to turn this idea into a reality. Julia Kirk, the company’s manager of special bids and projects, discusses how reducing latency was a critical goal.

“Clearly, latency is everything,” Kirk says. “Our driver in Graz would need to have a low latency connection to the vehicle on the track. At 150 km/hour, 20 msecs of latency in the connection translates to a meter traveled. We cannot lose that connection for a moment.”

The company chose Cisco’s SD-WAN and the Catalyst 8300 Edge Platform to build the infrastructure to control the car and handle data transmission. Cisco’s Catalyst Cellular Gateways provided the redundant backup connection, while the primary SD-WAN provided 5G connectivity with multigigabit connectivity of up to 3.3 Gbps.

These technical solutions gave the remote driver uninterrupted connectivity to the car, including all its audio and video streams and performance statistics. The round-trip time over the vehicle network was 2 msecs. Plus, having the car go into the pit lane without a driver shows the potential for the future.

Industry: Network services

SD-WAN products: Cisco Catalyst 8300 Series Edge Platform, Cisco Catalyst Cellular Gateways

Outcomes:

  • Reduced need for on-site technical support
  • Allowed reliable connectivity for a car traveling at high speeds

2. Brooks Brothers

Brooks Brothers is a well-established apparel leader. The company’s leaders wanted to upgrade its internet infrastructure to maintain competitiveness in a challenging market. With a limited IT team, decision-makers wanted a simple but effective solution.

After performing research, they decided to migrate to an SD-WAN solution and chose VMware to implement it. The leaders launched a trial in one retail store, and following its success, they decided to expand the implementation.

“Our migration to SD-WAN has made life much easier for the IT staff, allowing us to implement best practices across all retail sites and reducing network error,” says Manny Stergakis, technical architect, Brooks Brothers. 

Before making these upgrades, Brooks Brothers stores experienced periodic outages that prevented transactions from going through and made the retail locations lose sales. With the installed technology, the company can detect outages and redirect traffic in less than a second.

The retailer can also segment its online traffic by intent to different places, whether related to a customer browsing the Brooks Brothers website or internal company traffic that needs to go to its data centers. Using the SD-WAN allowed the company to switch to VoIP phones. Doing so reduced their hardware footprint by getting rid of traditional phone switches. 

“Brooks Brothers prides itself on being far more than just a store to our customers, in line with its long and storied history and heritage,” Stergakis says. “With SD-WAN, we’re able to take our legacy traditions and values and enable them for the future by delivering a superior experience.”

Industry: Retail

SD-WAN products: VMware SD-WAN, VMware SD-WAN Orchestrator, VMware SD-WAN Cloud Gateways, VMware SD-WAN Edges

Outcomes:

  • Higher efficiency for retail transactions and new store onboarding
  • Support for in-store online browsing with high-bandwidth availability
  • Enhanced network performance and visibility

See more: The Networking Market

3. Thailand Government Savings Bank

Consumers today are increasingly connected. Consider that from October 2019 to May 2021, there was a 38% increase in the number of devices per household. Executives at Thailand’s Government Savings Bank (GSB) felt the pressure from their customers for digital services and convenience.

The leaders pursued SD-WAN during their goal to become a fully digital, social bank. The organization’s legacy infrastructure restricted data transfer to the cloud and interfered with its digital transformation.

Executives chose an SD-WAN solution from Huawei that would help it address current needs while planning for the future. Huawei’s full-service offerings helped the company be ready to work with emerging technologies, such as 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI).

The solution also enables zero-touch configuration, meaning it’s easy to install and maintain the system with limited oversight from on-site teams.

“GSB has 1,060 branches nationwide,” says Boonson Jenchaimahakoon, senior EVP, GSB. 

“The amount of data we need to transmit to our branch offices is increasing every day. To eliminate distance as an obstacle, we need interconnection technology that allows all branch staff to work as if they are sitting at head office. The Huawei SD-WAN solution enables GSB to connect branch offices by seamlessly and quickly transmitting data back and forth between bank branches throughout the country. No matter where the branch is, everything is connected by a full communication network.”

Industry: Financial services

SD-WAN Product: Huawei SD-WAN

Outcomes:

  • Seamless data transmission between all bank branches
  • Accelerated service rollouts
  • Reduced operations and maintenance costs

4. Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics

Tech outages can make it difficult for devotees of Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics to pay for its products. That issue occurred too often when each store had a single multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) circuit that connected to critical data center applications.

Brad Candy, the brand’s technical operations manager, recalls the time before Lush switched to SD-WAN, saying, “The best we could do was fall back on manual trading. That single point of failure became detrimental to the business.”

However, the company’s selected SD-WAN solution offered automated, sub-second circuit fail over, preventing any long-term outages.

The tech rollout began with 21 LUSH stores in the U.K. and Germany, and completion occurred in less than five weeks. The payoffs were substantial. Candy mentions a particular incident at a store in Manchester, England, after the SD-WAN installation.

“Generally, we see that card payments run faster, and the uptime has been a big improvement,” Candy says. “Recently, our Manchester store lost its MPLS connection, but the store did not notice there was an issue on the network. The store continued to function as usual during the six weeks of outages. 

“The SD-WAN enables us to provide assurance to the retail business as a whole that this technology makes their lives easier.”

Candy also says the increased visibility offered by the SD-WAN management console has been a game-changer for speeding fault detection. That benefit allows in-store personnel to focus on serving customers, while IT specialists work behind the scenes to target and remedy the issue.

Industry: Retail

SD-WAN products: Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform, Aruba Unity-Orchestrator centralized management console

Outcomes:

  • Optimized network for stock management and payment systems
  • Elimination of store downtime due to brownouts or outages on single WAN network circuits
  • Utilization of network segmentation allows stores to maintain payment card compliance

5. Plusnet

Maintaining a competitive advantage often means expanding service offerings to meet emerging customer needs. Executives at Plusnet determined it was time to provide an SD-WAN solution for a customer segment that needed it.

Company leaders chose the Session Smart Router from Juniper Networks to achieve that goal. They realized that solution enabled creating a flexible and application-aware network fabric that would result in a secure, high-performing, and readily available infrastructure.

“With our SD-WAN service, we can offer the customer something they couldn’t have before: transparency on how their applications are performing,” says Sascha Bülow, technical architect, Plusnet.

One of Plusnet’s first SD-WAN customers needed to connect 1,600 customers. However, the company was well able to meet that requirement and offer scalability for the future. It also provides the necessary reliability and connectivity choices for users in remote locations.

“Plusnet’s SD-WAN service improves the performance of customers’ applications and gives them maximum agility. Juniper Session Smart Router, the foundation of our SD-WAN service, is a game-changer for us,” Bülow says.

Industry: Telecommunications

SD-WAN product: Juniper Networks Session Smart Router

Outcomes:

  • Expanded connectivity offerings for customers
  • Excellent scalability for current and future needs

See more: Top Networking Trends

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