Wi-Fi improves work collaboration at LGElL
LG Electronics India successfully streamlined the flow of
business information at its Noida plant with a Wi-Fi deployment
The Indian subsidiary of the Korean major, LG Electronics,
LG Electronics India (LGEIL) has a large presence in the Indian consumer electronics,
IT peripherals and the PC markets. The company believes in innovation and has
unwired its manufacturing plant that sprawls across 47 acres in Noida, near
Built in early 2000, LGEILs Noida manufacturing plant has 500 employees
who are equipped with notebooks. Of these, 100 users already had access to the
Wi-Fi network. The remaining 400 users have been unwired by installation of
50 wireless APs.
Business At LG
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 deadlines
Arindam Bose, Head IT, LG Electronics India says, 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 deadlines.
The plant manufactures TV sets, refrigerators, washing machines, air-conditioners
and microwave ovens. 50 percent of the Noida plants 47 acres is built
up, and the rest is free space.
Stepping Ahead With Wi-Fi
Plant employees use notebooks from LG and IBM currently. Bose explains, Users
have been given Wi-Fi-enabled notebooks with VPN connectivity to access applications
through the Internet.
LGEIL plans to purchase Wi-Fi-enabled Centrino notebooks. The company is Wi-Fi
enabling existing notebooks that have already been provided to employees with
WLAN cards from Cisco.
Lotus Notes, MSystems (the internal ERP system), Citrix, Oracle 11i and Internet
access are the applications deployed across the Wi-Fi network. Remote users
access ERP through Citrix servers installed at LGs Greater Noida site.
This has been done to save bandwidth. All the buildings are covered with
wireless connectivity. Recently we have provided wireless connectivity to wireless
scanning devices at logistics centres, says Bose.
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 didnt use a stringent
evaluation process. In branches we have Cisco Linksys APs installed. We have
recently installed Linksys Access Points at our mother warehouse as well.
- The company: LG Electronics India (LGEIL)
is the Indian subsidiary of the Korean consumer electronics and computer
peripherals major, LG Electronics.
- The need: LGEIL deployed a Wi-Fi solution
at its manufacturing plant in order to improve employee collaboration,
allow better decision-making, and help personnel meet deadlines. The
company Wi-Fi-enabled all 500 notebooks at the plant by adding more
- The solution: The company used the Cisco
Aironet 1200 Series AP products to set up the 802.11b Wi-Fi network.
- Benefits: 500 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.
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 months
Bose explains, Designing the architecture for the Wi-Fi network was a
smooth process as the space 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 cost of the project is Rs 35 lakh, out of
which the first phase of the project costs Rs 10 lakh (Pune factory).
Inside the works
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 implementation that is spread across the plants
administrative block. We have around ten users per access
point. When the entire built-up area at the plant was
unwired, we had deployed a total of 50 access points.
HCL Comnet maintains the Wi-Fi network.
Besides the usual IDSs and firewalls, LGEIL uses the SSID security protocol
to secure the plants Wi-Fi network. Bose says, The use of different
SSIDs helps users to connect to different VLANs. Moreover, the use of similar
SSIDs in different blocks helps users to remain connected to the network while
Access Control Server (ACS) has been implemented for the core routers and core
switches. This ACS is remotely managed and maintained by HCL Comnet.
The benefits 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 maintenance doesnt
come cheap. With the Wi-Fi network going live, there will be fewer cables and
the company will save money that goes into cable maintenance.
The Next Step
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 then.
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 will continue with this for the time being. Six user support engineers
have been assigned to manage the entire network. This team is fully-trained
on wireless support services.
The company had expanded its presence in India and set up
a second manufacturing plant at Pune. The second plant
is also Wi-Fi-enabled. Cisco Aironet 1200 Series access
points have been installed in Pune to provide wireless
connectivity to mobile users. Different SSIDs have been
configured to connect the user to different VLANs as
in Greater Noida.