WiFires Gas Deployment

Local system integrator, Accucom, recently installed a
Cisco wireless network for industrial
gas supplier, Linde
Gas
. They claim WiFi was 50 percent cheaper than
fibre.


The international gas company uses Symbol Palm Pilots to
scan the bar codes on gas cylinders. But in the past this has taken a couple of
days to collate.


Through the Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) solution, data can be transmitted back
to head office in a matter of minutes.


Accucom installed Cisco Aironet 350
series
access points and wireless bridges at each of
Linde Gas’ six warehouse and distribution centres across Australia. The solution
is based on the 802.11b standard.


Linde Gas Australia is a subsidiary of German based Linde Gas, a global gas
supplier that operates in more than 50 countries, serving 1.5 million
customers.


The Cisco Aironet Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) equipment is supported
by Cisco 3600 and 800 series routers and interacts with other handheld
communications devices used at Linde Gas. This allows storage, handling and
transport of gas cylinders to be tracked more efficiently as they are
transported across Australia.


Staff can use the Symbol devices, which have built-in bar code scanners, to
log information from the gas cylinders.


Accucom rolled out the bridges between two warehouses using an 11Mb/sec
wireless connection.


Founded in 1988 as Sarkis Systems Support, Accucom Systems Integration began
providing technical services for medium to larger companies following the name
change. The company focus on four key products from Cisco, Compaq, Novell, and Microsoft.


Despite the lack of teething problems in the deployment, Anthony Sarkis,
Accucom solutions manager, says the physical environment presented a unique
challenge.


“Cylinders are located in metal sheds,” he explains, “so we were concerned
that the signals might be bouncing around. We did an extensive site survey to
find the right antennas.”


Accucom selected a combination of waveguide, omni-directional, and patch
antennas to overcome those problems.


Sarkis admits that pushed up the price but it was still significantly cheaper
than fibre.


Shamsul Arefin, Linde Gas network administrator, points to security as the
biggest challenge.


He says it was a trade off between ensuring the full functionality of
wireless while maintaining a secure environment. “Security measures put in place
are more complex for the user,” Arefin explains. “Logging into the wired network
has different authentication procedures.”


Security measures include Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), the standard
inbuilt in 802.11, and Media Access Control (MAC) addressing. They will soon
implement a system whereby users are authenticated in the company’s main
system.


However, the benefits outweigh those challenges.


Arefin says they have achieved a saving of 50 percent straight away, by
comparison to fibre.


He says the move to wireless communications six months ago has already
delivered logistical efficiencies in stock control, scheduling and
transportation.


The wireless solution also eliminates the need to install optical cabling to
link two warehouses at the same site. This cost saving is achieved through the
deployment of the Cisco Aironet 350 series wireless bridge, which delivers
throughput of 11Mb/sec from building to building.


Sarkis concludes, “as a result of the installation of wireless, the mobility
and fluidity of the business now extends to warehouse managers, office staff and
truck drivers. This contributes to sizable efficiency gains.”


Linde Gas is also planning other wireless deployments later in the
year.

Reprinted from australia.internet.com.

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