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Akzo Nobel
Redesigning of the Akzo Nobel data network

Akzo Nobel, international company active in the areas of pharmaceuticals, Coatings and Chemicals has chosen Black Box Network Services to redesign their Belgian data-network in order to implement a high level of redundancy.

Project Background
The activities of Akzo Nobel Coatings in Belgium are dispersed over several plants in the district of Vilvoorde and Machelen. Three of these plants are located a few hundred metres from the central building whilst one plant is located 4,5 km from the central building. Interconnection of the nearby buildings was accomplished by fiber optic cables.

Interconnection with the far-end building was accomplished by a Free Space Optics link (laser-beam) over 4,5 km, installed a couple of years ago by Black Box. No redundancy was build at this time (see scheme below).


The goal
The goal was to deliver the same connectivity to the user as, after selling part of the premises, the fiber could no longer be used. A new network-topology in order to implement redundant protocols over parallel network paths was needed, whilst the switchover from the active to redundant path should not be an inconvenience to the users.

After some visits to survey the sites, Black Box set to work on a design.

Together with the IT manager of Akzo Nobel, it was decided to opt for a design employing wireless technology, as pulling new fiber connections from building to building was not possible. High speed, high security access points to bridge all the buildings to the central building were used. By using high-tech military technology Black Box was able to bridge the 4,5 km needed to cover the distance to reach the furthest building (see new topology below).

A very effective installation was performed, configured, tested and approved during working hours with no downtime for the users. Redundant network paths and protocols are fully operational and act efficiently and remain transparent to the user.

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