Aer Rianta extends network at low cost



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1 April 2005 | 0

Aer Rianta has implemented a low-cost network upgrade at Shannon Airport that has effectively extended its corporate LAN to a variety of remote workers at the airport who were previously out of reach.

Rather than having to install costly fibre cabling or implement a wireless LAN, Aer Rianta has commissioned Long Reach Ethernet (LRE) technology from Cisco to extend its corporate LAN to several pockets of users located at remote sites on the airport campus.

These workers, involved in in-flight catering and emergency service operations, can now access a wide range of services including the Internet, e-mail and Aer Rianta business applications via its existing telephony cabling, some of which is more than 40 years old.




Using this old telephone cabling, users in outlying buildings up to 5,000 feet away can avail of powerful connectivity to voice and data services at speeds of up to 15Mbit/s.

The system, installed by LAN Communications, is based on a 24 port rack-mountable switch with four 10/100 Fast Ethernet ports used to connect servers or link multiple LRE switches together. Each LRE port is terminated with a device that sits next to a desktop, which acts as a bridge between the LRE and the Ethernet.

A POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) splitter enables the co-existence of LRE and voice traffic on the same telephone line and delivers converged voice, video and data that supports the 802.11p standard.

According to Dave Weir, IT operations manager, Aer Rianta, the cost saving over more expensive alternatives is such that there is little comparison. Indeed, he told ComputerScope, it would be tempting to assume that this particular upgrade is merely a temporary stop-gap to something more high-tech, but this is not the case, he said.

‘Customers tend to forget the intrinsic value of their existing infrastructure,’ said Weir. ‘Some of our telephony cabling is over 40 years old yet it is this infrastructure which is supporting an innovative technology solution to a very practical problem. LRE extends the life of our cabling far beyond what we thought was possible and LAN Communications has played a central role in protecting our capital investment.’

The impetus for the project stems from an Aer Rianta corporate strategy to provide all employees with access to a number of new applications including an Intranet and an Oracle human resources application that maintains employee information including personal data, career details, salary and annual leave entitlement.


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