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Tech Update - WLAN
WLAN Implementations in India

Here's how Wireless LANs and Wireless MANs have been implemented in various industries/sectors in India. by Brian Pereira

GOVERNMENT

Company: National informatics Center (NIC) is a premier Information Technology organization in India. It provides IT solutions to the Government of India. NIC has set up a satellite-based nationwide computer communications network called NICNET, having over 1,400 nodes, connecting the national capital, state capitals and the district headquarters to one another.

Requirement: NIC's wireless data networks are hub based. All communication is directed through the hub. These hubs are located at NIC offices in all cities where they are connected to the NICNET VSAT through a high-speed port. NIC wanted to connect the state capitals and governments departments to the NIC hub network using a Wireless MAN (WMAN) last mile access solution. The company chose a WMAN solution because using leased lines for network connectivity was a very expensive proposition and the recurring cost of leased lines is high.

Solution: The pilot project took off in three cities—Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad in 1997. It was later extended to 18 cities. Lucent's Wireless LAN bridges and wireless NICs were the core products that were used in the implementation. Other products such as Avaya Access Point, wireless repeaters, cables, antennas, wireless network management software have also been used.

Bangalore-based Convergent Communications implemented the WMAN solution for NIC. The wireless solution is most appreciated in places where there is no telephony infrastructure. The solution provides high bandwidth and dedicated connectivity to both state and central governments.

MANUFACTURING

Company: The USD 1.5 billion giant steel conglomerate Jindal Organization is ranked sixth amongst the top Indian business houses. It recently initiated its pilot wireless project with a successful WLAN implementation at the Hissar plant (Haryana) of its USD 260 million flagship company, Jindal Strips Limited (JSL). The portfolio of JSL includes products ranging from stainless steel hot-rolled/cold-rolled coils, plates and flats, to slabs and blooms.

Requirement: A network was required to interconnect JSL's Cold Roll Division (CRD) and the HR and Administration Division (HRD)—the main road and a railway track runs between the two. The two divisions, standing opposite each other across the road, were first connected through optic fiber, which went from HRD to CRD under the main road and railway track. With a government department digging the road from time to time, the vital communication links were lost, thus hampering connectivity. Hence, the very first need was to establish a continuous and unbreakable communication link between two points across the road. The company concluded that wireless would be the best bet in terms of reliability and continuity of communication links. There were other reasons why wireless was chosen to replace the fiber optic links. The intense heat of the furnaces in some areas proved to be too harsh an environment for the exposed fiber.

Solution: The WLAN solution deployed at JSL's Hissar plant comprises 3Com's 11 Mbps Ethernet Wireless LAN building-to-building bridge, omni direction antenna, directional antenna and Air Connect 11 Mbps WLAN, Air Connect Wireless PCI Card, 40B CR-E1. In addition to this certain security measures have also been deployed.

EDUCATION

Company: A premier technical and educational institute in Bangalore.

Requirement: The institute was facing the problem of providing network access in places where LAN cabling was not feasible, either because of technical or administrative reasons. Frequent mobility within various locations inside the building was a requirement for a certain workgroup. The WLAN solution is mainly used to access the Internet and e-mail.

Solution: The current deployment involved implementation of multiple access points catering to clients spread across different work places. The access point acts as a wireless hub that bridges data from the wired LAN to the wireless clients. Deployment, testing and integration of the whole network solution took a very short time as compared to the wired network.

Wipro Infotech has implemented the WLAN solution using Cisco's Aironet 340 product. The Aironet 340 was chosen because it works in the unlicensed 2.4 MHz range and can deliver a bandwidth up to 11 Mbps.

The implementation will give users mobility within the building with speed as compared to a 10 Mbps LAN network. This 'always connected' feature will enhance the productivity of individuals who are always on the move.

SHIPPING

Company: P&O Ports is a leading global port operator, with 21 container terminals in 19 countries and operations in a total of 84 ports. P&O Ports (India) is located at NSCCT, Nhava Sheva, Navi Mumbai.

Requirement: The port uses heavy mobile cranes that are used for loading the ships. These cranes are computer controlled and are constantly moving. Earlier they were controlled through wires connected to them. However these cables used to get cut, due to the movement of the cranes.

Solution: The movable and immovable cranes were connected to base stations through a wireless LAN, thus enabling unfettered movement of the cranes. Although the range of an 802.11b WLAN is 35 meters indoors and 100 meters in the open, this can be extended by strategic placement of antennae and access points.

Cisco's Aironet Bridge and other wireless solutions were chosen. Tulip IT Services Ltd. was involved in the implementation of Cisco solutions for this network.

HOTEL INDUSTRY

Company: Hotel Le Meridien and Taj Mahal, Mumbai.

Requirement: The hotels needed to provide broadband Internet access to their guests. Also instead of providing Internet access to all rooms, they preferred to create an infrastructure only for the actual users.

Solution: Cisco access points were installed at strategic locations so as to cover the entire hotel. Those guests that wish to use the Internet can rent a PC Card from the reception and have instant access. This is a cost-effective and focused deployment covering only actual users. The Aironet solution also supports Secure VPN Connectivity to ensure that sensitive business communications are secure.

Tulip IT Services Ltd. was involved in implementing these wireless networks.

BANKING INDUSTRY

Company: HDFC Bank.

Requirement: The bank required a medium for connecting branches within cities to the main regional branch in the city.

Solution: HDFC Bank is currently using Cisco Aironet to connect various branches within cities.

Tulip IT Services Ltd. was involved in the implementation of this network.

Company: Bank of Punjab Ltd.

Requirement: Inter-city and intra-city connectivity.

Solution: The bank's network is based on leased lines for inter-city and wireless for intra-city connectivity. Over 150 radios have been installed. This has enabled the bank to achieve an uptime in excess of 99.5 percent. The bank will soon have connectivity to new branches/ATMs. It will also run voice/data on the network.
Tulip IT Services Ltd. was involved in the implementation of this network.

LOGISTICS

Company: EIPL (Exel India Private Limited), a logistics solutions provider company, was looking for a reliable means to connect its offices in Mumbai. Exel in India has its central office in Mumbai and a total of 22 offices and eight warehouses.

Requirement: The company was looking for reliable means to connect its offices in Mumbai. It found leased lines unreliable and inflexible for this purpose and had to ensure always-on communication links between its central office and operations offices in Mumbai.

Solution: After a line-of-sight survey, the company implemented wireless RF links between six offices in Mumbai. Each link offers bandwidth of 4 Mbps.

Tulip IT Services Ltd. assisted in the survey and in the implementation of this network.

Brian Pereira can be reached at brianp@networkmagazineindia.com

 
     
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