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Case study: Tamer Group boosts bandwidth and network connectivity

Saudi Arabian firm chooses point-to-point wireless to ensure it provides the connectivity required for a fast-growing business

Saudi Arabia-based healthcare, beauty product and consumer goods company Tamer Group has enhanced bandwidth connectivity with InfiNet wireless point-to-point systems.

Headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Tamer Group is a 95-year-old conglomerate operating in the pharmaceutical, healthcare and consumer sectors. The company’s activities include importing, distribution, marketing, sales, promotion and manufacturing.

It also has a logistics and warehousing business, as well as investments in various industrial, trading, finance and real estate fields (Sukoon) in Saudi Arabia.

Over the years, the firm has grown its operations in Saudi Arabia, and today, it has seven branches across the country, more than 3,000 employees and operations in other Middle East countries.

With this growth comes the need for secure, high-bandwidth network connectivity to connect the increasing number of users and locations.

But the company’s networks were struggling to keep up with the rapid growth and business needs, requiring the IT division to look for a technology to connect its growing user base and locations across Saudi Arabia.

Mohannad Al Jammal, head of IT operations and network infrastructure at Tamer Group, says the IT team decided on a wireless point-to-point system as it was looking to deploy something easy and cost effective to implement.

After considering its options, conducting due diligence and evaluating a number of wireless suppliers, the IT team narrowed it down to InfiNet and one other supplier.

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After some initial comparative testing, it became evident to the company that the performance of InfiNet’s point-to-point system fitted the bill. “What settled the matter conclusively for us was the ability of the InfiNet service to provide reliable, high-bandwidth connectivity in harsh conditions and over large distances,” says Al Jammal.

The point-to-point wireless network links two locations together through line of sight (LOS), operating in unlicensed/licensed radio frequencies or through free space optics.

Al Jammal says it was clear that upgrading the wireless infrastructure was going to be critical for the future growth of the business. “One of the big obstacles we faced was the typography, as well as the distance between our head office and the remote branches,” he says. “Many of the remote sites are about 30-40km apart.”

Deploying a wireless network that was reliable and stable in unforgiving conditions was at the top of the team’s agenda. “At the same time, we needed to ensure that the new wireless network could provide high bandwidth that would not only support the existing business needs, but also be future-proofed for demand over the next few years,” he says.

Point-to-point providing cheaper and faster connections

Point-to-point wireless systems are more cost effective than leased line, and offer better and faster connections, with some of the latest models capable of providing gigabit speeds.

Working closely with United Horizons, InfiNet’s systems integrator partner in Saudi Arabia, Tamer Group conducted a proof of concept at one of its sites.

Enthused with the outcome, the company went ahead and deployed InfiNet’s InfiLink 2x2 5GHz Pro and Lite family of products across all 20 locations in Jeddah.

According to Tamer Group, for the critical connection between its datacentre and head office, it deployed the R5000-Omx model as it could support speeds of up to 300Mbps over the 50km distance.

For connections between all other sites, the company installed the R5000-Smn and R5000-Lmn InfiNet products.

In addition to offering superior performance, the InfiNet technology was easier to deploy. “The entire wireless implementation process took just three to four days, and was completely managed by United Horizons,” says Al Jammal.

One of the biggest benefits of the InfiNet technology has been how it has enabled Tamer Group to transmit significant volumes of business-critical data between its various sites.

The company currently depends on the InfiNet service for the exchange synchronisation of the storage area networks (SANs) in its datacentre and disaster recovery (DR) sites. “We consider the users [our staff] as the customers of the Tamer Group IT division,” says Al Jammal.

Another benefit has been the long-term cost savings to the group. “The upfront capital expenditure, compared with other technologies, is slightly higher because there is a lot of hardware cost,” he says. “However, over the long term, the total cost of ownership is far lower.”

InfiNet cuts maintenance time

Al Jammal emphasises that implementing the InfiNet system has saved the company’s IT resources a lot of time, as the deployment has significantly reduced the amount of effort needed to manage and maintain the network.

“While we have the ability to monitor several parameters – such as performance, availability, bandwidth and transmission – on a daily basis, we do have a service agreement with United Horizons, which is responsible for taking care of any problems with the network,” he says.

To date, Tamer Group has managed to connect 20 sites through InfiNet wireless, joining its head office in Jeddah with various branches between 10km and 50km away.

The implementation is part of a wider strategy at Tamer Group. “I am pleased with the reliability and stability InfiNet’s system has brought to our network,” he says. “Based on our experience with InfiNet, I am confident that as we expand our operations, we will depend on InfiNet services for our wireless network infrastructure.

“We endeavour to have a strong IT department that offers the latest technologies,” says Al Jammal.

He adds that IT today is business driven, and the IT team has a role to play in bringing the technology to the organisation and serving other divisions well.

Looking ahead, the Tamer Group has completed a new warehouse and is working with systems integrator partner United Horizons to link this branch to the datacentre at the company’s headquarters.

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