Wi-Fi at LG Electronics
How Wi-Fi improved work collaboration at LG Electronics
LG Electronics India Limited implemented a Wi-Fi solution
at its Noida manufacturing plant. The implementation has improved the flow of
business information and given the plant a neat cable-free look. by Abhinav
The Indian subsidiary of the Korean major, LG Electronics,
LG Electronics India Limited (LGEIL) has a large presence in the Indian consumer
electronics, IT peripherals, and PC market. The company believes in innovation.
And going by this belief is in the process of unwiring its manufacturing plant
that sprawls across 47 acres in Noida near Delhi.
Built in early 2000, LGEIL's Noida manufacturing plant
has 500 employees who are equipped with notebooks. Out of these, 100 already
access the Wi-Fi network. The remaining 400 will be unwired by May 2004, if
everything goes as per schedule.
Business at LG
Arindam Bose, Head IT, LG Electronics India Limited said,
The goal of the Wi-Fi implementation is to improve collaboration between
employees within the manufacturing plant thereby leading to better decision
making, helping them meet their deadlines.
The plant manufactures TV sets, refrigerators, washing
machines, air-conditioners and microwave ovens. 50 percent of the Noida plant's
47 acres is built up, and the rest is free space.
Stepping ahead with Wi-Fi
Half of the built up area has gone live with the Wi-Fi
network including an entire administrative block. The other half will be covered
within the next two months, including the manufacturing building.
LGEIL plans only to purchase Wi-Fi enabled Centrino notebooks.
The company is Wi-Fi enabling existing notebooks that have already been provided
to employees by means of WLAN cards from Cisco. Plant employees use notebooks
from LG and IBM at this point of time.
Bose explains, We have started purchasing Wi-Fi enabled
notebooks to ensure that our employees are able to use their PCs not only within
the manufacturing plant but even at Wi-Fi enabled hotels, airports, and at other
companies while on assignment.
Lotus Notes, MSystems (the internal ERP system), and Internet
access are the applications deployed across the Wi-Fi network.
No evaluation exercise was conducted for the Wi-Fi implementation
as LG has a global relationship with Cisco. Bose says, LG Electronics
has a strong relationship with Cisco at the global level and so we didn't use
a stringent evaluation process. The company uses Cisco Aironet 1200 Series
AP access points.
A smooth implementation
LGEIL decided to deploy the Wi-Fi solutions in the first
week of February 2004 and the first phase of the project went live in a month's
Bose explains, Designing the architecture for the
Wi-Fi network was a smooth process as the area in the plant is wide and open.
Our office has a clean environment. Putting up access points and other devices
was a simple task.
A three-member team was involved in the first phase of
the implementation of which one member represented the systems integrator and
the other two members were from LG Electronics.
The total project cost is expected to touch between 40
and 50 lakh, out of which the first phase of the project costs Rs 10 lakh.
The 802.11b wireless protocol is being used in the Wi-Fi
network which allows 11 Mbps bandwidth.
Bose says, There are ten access points in the current
implementation that are spread across the plant's administrative block. We have
around ten users per access point. We expect to deploy 50 access points in the
next two months once the entire built-up area at the plant is unwired.
The maintenance activities of the Wi-Fi network are performed
Besides the usual IDSs and firewalls, LGEIL uses the SSID
Security protocol to secure the plant's Wi-Fi network. Bose says, The
SSID security protocol automates the allocation of IP addresses to Wi-Fi users.
The company plans to roll out Cisco's Secure ACS as an
additional security measure by the end of June 2004.
The benefits of the first phase of the implementation have
been manifold. Other than the free flow of information and better co-ordination
between employees, the implementation has resulted in a cleaner office area
with fewer cables.
Bose says, Cable management is a big challenge and
a lot of money goes into maintenance. With the Wi-Fi network going live, there
will be fewer cables and the company will save a lot of money that goes into
cable maintenance at present.
The next step
By the end of May 2004, the entire built-up area at the
Noida plant will be Wi-Fi enabled. All the 500 notebook users will have access
to the Wi-Fi network by then.
However there are no plans to upgrade the existing 802.11b
wireless protocol. Bose says, We have found this protocol to be quite
sufficient for our requirements and we will continue with this for the time
40 more access points will be added to the existing ten.
Post-implementation, six user support engineers will be assigned to manage the
entire network. This team will be fully trained on wireless support services.
The company will expand its presence in India and will
set up a second manufacturing plant at Pune. The second plant will be ready
by June 2004, and will also be Wi-Fi enabled.
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
|<In a nutshell>
LG Electronics India Limited
(LGEIL) is the Indian subsidiary of the Korean consumer electronics and
computer peripherals major, LG Electronics. It has a large manufacturing
plant spread over 47 acres in Noida which is in the process of being Wi-Fi-enabled.
LGEIL will also set up a second manufacturing plant at Pune, which will
also go wireless.
LGEIL deployed a Wi-Fi solution
at its manufacturing plant in order to improve employee collaboration,
allow better decision making, and help personnel meet their deadlines.
The company also wanted to Wi-Fi-enable all its 500 notebook users at
The company used Cisco Aironet
1200 Series AP products to set up the 802.11b Wi-Fi network.
100 notebook users are already
on the Wi-Fi network. The flow of business information has improved, and
has consequently improved co-ordination. The office area looks cleaner
with fewer cables, and network maintenance costs have dropped. 400 more
notebook-users will be Wi-Fi enabled once the implementation is complete.