D-Link Provides Next Generation Network Infrastructure For Australia's Banknote Printer
SYDNEY, Australia -- January 17, 2011 -- D-Link Australia & New Zealand, the end-to-end networking solutions provider for business and consumers, today announced that it has provided a next generation network infrastructure solution for Australia's banknote printer, Note Printing Australia.
Note Printing Australia is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia and was corporatised in July 1998. It has its origins as a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank and was established in 1913 to print Australian banknotes. After printing paper banknotes for Australia for 75 years, Note Printing Australia introduced polymer banknote technology in 1988.
The introduction of polymer banknotes saw a landmark reduction in the level of counterfeits and proven benefits in the areas of security, quality, cleanliness and cost effectiveness. This innovative technology has spawned a new era in banknote technology with over 12 billion polymer banknotes circulating in over 20 countries. New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Malaysia and Singapore are all customers of Note Printing Australia.
The experience and knowledge gained from banknote production has also allowed Note Printing Australia to diversify into security documents. The organisation now produces Australia's new ePassport, which incorporates leading edge biometric capabilities and complies with International Civil Aviation Organisation standards.
Note Printing Australia's network is Windows based, with 30 servers supporting 250 workstations and laptops. The organisation's highly specialised printing operations generate very large text and graphics files containing confidential design and print information that can run to hundreds of megabytes in size. A number of applications run over the network including the Microsoft Dynamics AX enterprise resource planning system.
The expansion of Note Printing Australia's business recently reached the point where its existing 10/100 Megabits per second computer networking infrastructure no longer provided sufficient bandwidth and connectivity. The complexity of software solutions installed and expanding numbers of users increased network traffic and therefore the organisation experienced a slowdown in speed. Additionally, IT staff identified a number of bottlenecks that also caused slow network performance at peak times.
"The application systems were running slow because of having two hundred users connected and each session accessed a SQL Server database as well as the application, putting a high load on the network," said Peter Annear, IT Manager for Note Printing Australia. "We had run out of connections and even if we could support more there wasnˇ¯t enough bandwidth within the network backbone to enable the business to grow."
In evaluating next generation network infrastructure, Note Printing Australia put a high priority on a solution which would meet its business requirements well into the future without requiring incremental upgrades. At the same time the solution should provide immediate benefits in terms of performance, reliability, maintainability and reduced support costs.
"The existing technology was complex and becoming more expensive to support," said Annear. "We needed to install new fibre-optic cabling and a switching backbone that had the capability to meet all our current and future business requirements."
Note Printing Australia identified a number of crucial features that its future switching solution had to provide to meet its requirements for at least the next 5 years. These included 10 Gigabit per second switching capacity, an increased number of network connections, Layer 3 Internet routing capabilities throughout the network and support for the new Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) standard.
Note Printing Australia already had an installed base of D-Link switches on the edges of its network. As these had proven to be extremely reliable with good levels of support, the organisation approached D-Link about a network infrastructure upgrade. D-Link proposed a solution based on three xStack Layer 3 Gigabit switches: the DGS-3650, DGS-3627 and DGS-3627G.
"We looked at other suppliers including Cisco and HP as we do have some Cisco equipment already," said Annear. "If we had chosen Cisco we wouldn't have been able to afford the network expansion offered by D-Link's solution. Additionally, the complexity of a Cisco solution would have also involved higher service costs to get it up and running."
"D-Link's products are easy to use and maintain because the networking gear is just less complex to configure compared to other networking vendors which seem to have vested interests in making their equipment more labyrinthine," said Annear. "Our experience with D-Link's networking gear is that it is comparatively simple to put a quite complex network together and get it up and running."
Note Printing Australia also installed new fibre-optic links to connect outlying areas to the central network backbone at 10 Gigabit speeds. These were terminated into a D-Link DGS-3627G switch, which in turn housed a number of stacked DGS-3650 switches to form a high capacity network backbone. Note Printing Australia implemented trunking to transport data from high volume areas via multiple fibre connections into multiple switches on the backbone to provide better performance, redundancy and speed.
One of the major requirements was the support for VLAN and inter-VLAN routing, which divides one physical network into a number of separate logical domains utilising Layer 3 Internet routing capabilities. By implementing D-Link Layer 3 switches throughout the network, Note Printing could easily implement VLAN routing and manage the separate logical domains from a single point of control via D-Linkˇ¯s D-View management software.
A key factor in favour of D-Link's solution was the ease and cost-effectiveness of providing redundant power supplies in all the switches.
"If a switch's power supply fails in your network infrastructure, a whole area of your business can be taken out," said Michael Chappell, IT Infrastructure Manager for Note Printing Australia. "It can be a big deal to swap over a switch but if the switch has a redundant power supply, it keeps working and nobody experiences any problems or downtime. You can then replace the power supply without having to pull your network apart to get the whole switch out."
The solution also includes a D-Link DFL-260 NetDefend™ Security UTM Firewall to provide security for a separate guest wireless LAN.
Since moving to the new backbone, Note Printing Australia's staff has experienced an extremely fast and reliable level of service. "Unsolicited staff feedback is that the new system runs smoothly and is very fast," said Chappell. "I have trunked links going back to three switches in case a fibre link goes down so the switches will move the traffic across the backbone, down the stacking and over another fibre."
The new network infrastructure's increased port density makes it easier to provide additional network connections to meet new and future business requirements. Managing the network is also easier due to both the reduced complexity of the solution and standardisation on a single family of enterprise switches with a common management system.
A major benefit has been the lower cost of D-Link's enterprise switching compared to solutions from competing vendors. For around half the cost of the alternatives, Note Printing Australia has been able to implement a network infrastructure that will not need to be upgraded for at least 5 years. Over time, Note Printing Australia expects to make additional savings in both IT support and in avoided costs of not having to make incremental upgrades in the near future.
Note Printing Australia has also benefited from the high levels of service offered by its solution provider, Propeller Head Technology International, working closely with D-Link.
"We contacted our trusted solution provider Propeller Head Technology and spoke with principal Philip Lettas about our requirements. It was obvious to me that Philip had a good understanding of what we were trying to achieve and he agreed that an approach to D-Link was a good idea," said Chappell. "He looked after all of the initial contact arrangements and briefed D-Link carefully about what we were looking for in a partner. This made our meetings with D-Link a breeze and they quickly honed in on what we were hoping to achieve from this project.
"We were definitely impressed with how well the two organisations worked together and delighted with the level of support provided by D-Link," added Chappell. "They gave us direct access to technical people to talk about what we were trying to achieve and the most suitable technical solution. With other vendors we definitely would have had issues being able to talk to the right people."
High levels of technical support from D-Link continued throughout the implementation of the new network infrastructure, reducing deployment time and ensuring minimum downtime.
"Many vendors when trying to make a sale provide you with access to very good pre-sales technical people but as soon as you sign the contract the same people aren't available any more. You end up talking to someone at a help desk who has no understanding of the implemented solution," said Chappell.
"We are very pleased with the fact that we have been able to get access to the right people at D-Link to help us get through any issues that we needed to overcome to get the system up and running."