Ricoh IT Services has provided ongoing network design, implementation, support, monitoring and management of the Network Ten network for 7 years, and were chosen for this project after a competitive request for proposal process.
Network Ten is one of Australia’s largest media companies, operating three free-to-air television channels in Australia’s five mainland metropolitan markets of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth.
Network Ten had a need to consolidate its five disparate networks into two converged Wide Area Networks (WANs). This project was conducted to save costs associated with running the network, to increase its capacity and performance and to mitigate risks.
The selection was based on Ricoh IT Services’ high level of networking expertise and capability, as well as their successful track record in delivering innovative, complex and challenging network projects for Network Ten in the past.
This project presented a significant amount of difficulty due to Network Ten’s specific requirements for guaranteed service quality, unusual data traffic profiles, the large scale of the project and the dependence of Network Ten’s core business functions on the 24×7 operation of the network.
The converged network would have to support critical and sensitive applications such as real-time on-air video, voice, video file transfers, telemetry and typical business applications. To meet strict requirements around quality of service, Ricoh IT Services had to ensure there would be sufficient bandwidth between all sites at any given time to prevent dropped data and voice packets for critical traffic, which could cause noticeable glitches in Network Ten’s programming as well as problems with other applications.
Strict time constraints also added to the project’s challenges. Network Ten needed to get the project completed as fast as possible, which resulted in many changes being implemented during business hours. Also having a large bearing on the project timing were the telecommunications service providers, for as soon as their services came online, Ricoh IT Services had to be ready to start implementing their changes.
With all these challenges in mind, diligent and skilled planning was required to ensure there would be no impact on the Network Ten business.
Solution: Converged Services WAN
The three original networks were converged into a singleVPLS network with gigabit access speeds to all studio sites inmajor cities across Australia. The two back-up networks wereconverged into a second similar VPLS network.In its standard configuration, a single VLAN on a VPLSnetwork was not a suitable option for Network Ten’s highvolume of multiple-site drop-sensitive data and voice traffic.To support Network Ten’s requirements, Ricoh IT Servicesneeded to design a network that allowed for more granularcontrol of traffic between any two sites
Ricoh IT Services worked closely with Network Ten’s in-houseteam to gain an in-depth understanding of the uniqueneeds of their network and applications.Glenn Carrick, Network Communications Manager at NetworkTen, monitored the design closely to ensure it would meetNetwork Ten’s stringent performance requirements.“Ricoh IT Services designed a meshed point-to-point networkto be overlayed on the VPLS network, producing a greateramount of traffic control between all sites. The overlayallowed the amount of available bandwidth between anytwo sites to be controlled, but maintained the ability to quicklyramp up bandwidth between two sites if the need arose.“We were confident with Ricoh IT Services’ design,so gave the go-ahead for the implementationwork to commence,” said Mr. Carrick.
Time constraints and the need to work within the schedules ofthe telecommunications service providers meant most changeshad to be performed during business hours.To ensure the work was carried out proficiently and withouterror, highly skilled Ricoh IT Services Engineers were calledupon to complete the complex changes. Network Ten Engineersmaintained a high level of vigilance throughout all changes toensure there were no impacts on the business.An extensive strategy of thorough planning was completed toseamlessly migrate the networks and mitigate the risk of impactto the business during changes. The benefit of this planningbecame evident as all changes were made with minimalimpact and no business critical issues.
Network Ten now runs on two high-bandwidth meshed end-toendnetworks; one supporting their regular activities and oneproviding back-up coverage in case of a failure in the first.Speaking about the benefits of the new converged WAN toNetwork Ten’s business, Jason Tuendemann, Head of Technologyand Infrastructure at Network Ten, stated “The new design hasallowed us to achieve significant cost savings in running theNetwork Ten network, while meeting Ten’s business requirementsand creating a more manageable and stable environment.”
- Significant cost savings due toa more efficient network structure;
- Increased performance and manageability;
- Increased bandwidth available between siteswith less chance of bottlenecks;
- A back-up network that can be usedwithout risking reduced performance;
- Ongoing network monitoring andmanagement to ensure a reliable network.
Ongoing Network Performance
To ensure reliable ongoing network performanceNetwork Ten signed Ricoh IT Services to a three yearcontract for their Network Management.Through its Network Management service, Ricoh IT Servicesprovides 24x7 monitoring and management delivering visibilityand proactive maintenance to ensure business continuity.To fulfil the unique requirements of managing Network Ten’s newnetwork, Ricoh IT Services modified its Network monitoring toolsto include additional routing protocol checks that monitor thestate of neighbour relationships, providing greater visibility ofpoint-to-point links in the meshed network.
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