Express broadens reach with IP network

Express Newspapers Group is using a high-bandwidth private IP network to share data and applications with its New York office. It also using the network to support the North American edition of OK magazine, which was launched in September.

Express Newspapers Group is using a high-bandwidth private IP network to share data and applications with its New York office. It also using the network to support the North American edition of OK magazine, which was launched in September.

The network between Express Newspapers' London and New York offices uses two separate sets of cables and routers for business continuity purposes.

It is due to be rolled out across nine additional UK sites by the end of 2005, and five more European sites in early 2006.

The network, from MCI, has sufficient bandwidth to transfer large, image-heavy PDF files between offices and across continents.

Express Newspapers is also using the network to run PeopleSoft Financials, an advertising application, videoconferencing, and to synchronise data between its London datacentre and disaster recovery centre in Broughton, Scotland.

The MCI service replaces an SMDS (Switched Multi-megabit Data Service ) from BT. BT's plan to discontinue SMDS in March 2006 forced the publisher to find an alternative network, said Paul White, IT director at Express Newspapers.

The company evaluated services from BT, Cable & Wireless and MCI. It chose MCI because it was already providing voice services and came up with a competitively priced package.

One of the challenges for Express Newspapers was grappling with the technicalities of replacing Appletalk, a networking technology from Apple, which was integrated into the BT SMDS network and used on 700 Apple Macs across the sites.

The publisher is now planning to give its 200 freelance journalists, mainly based in the US, access to MCI's Global Remote Access system, which will allow them to access corporate systems securely.

Express Newspapers publishes The Daily Express, Daily Star and OK Magazine. It moved its London headquarters last year from one side of the river Thames to the other. It used broadband network links from both BT and MCI to transfer data between the two buildings during the move.

The publisher is currently carrying out a Windows 2003 and Exchange Server 2003 migration, and aims to install Microsoft's Active Directory next year.

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