Ericsson Colorado and Yukon routers with Newbridge Networks MainStreet 3612, 3630 and 3608 platforms

With dealerships in Exeter, Barnstable and Plymouth, Volvo knew it needed a reliable intranet that would support the needs of its...

With dealerships in Exeter, Barnstable and Plymouth, Volvo knew it needed a reliable intranet that would support the needs of its customers across the West Country and beyond

Kastner is a Volvo dealership based in the West Country with branches in Barnstaple, Exeter and Plymouth. With nearly 30 years experience, it fully understands Volvo, its customers and their needs. Its philosophy is "to give all our customers a purchasing and ownership experience that is not only the best available, but which actually improves their perception of our industry." From the outset it was clear that all communications links, whether telephone or data, would have to be consolidated if Kastner was to form one big converged network.

The network is constructed of Ericsson Colorado and Yukon routers to consolidate all LAN traffic, with Newbridge Networks MainStreet 3612, 3630 and 3608 multi-service platforms for voice and data convergence across the WAN. A KiloStream link connects Barnstaple to Exeter, with a MegaStream link from Exeter to Plymouth. A 512Kbit/s link connects Plymouth to the body repair shop a few miles away.

Point-to-point connections are used to directly link the range of MainStreet 3600 multi-access platforms, which then consolidate toll-quality compressed voice and data onto narrowband leased lines linking all four sites.

Acting as a router, the Colorado sits behind the MainStreet platforms at Exeter and Plymouth and deals with both LAN and WAN traffic on the network, consolidating the LAN traffic into the central network. It is designed to interface with existing network equipment and transport data along with LAN traffic over the same wide area connections. The dual WAN connections give network managers the option of taking advantage of cost-effective Frame Relay and switched services to create a much simpler, cheaper and manageable network with the speed of leased lines being increased by a further 50 per cent.

Ericsson Yukon routers sit on the LAN at the Body Repair shop in Plymouth and at the showroom in Barnstaple. It routes the data traffic on the LAN and is ideally suited for these two branch locations of this "virtual" dealership.

"Now when customers telephone any branch of Kastner they can be seamlessly transferred to other branches and departments irrespective of their geographical location, " says Jonathan Sawyer, sales director, Taurus Telecom. "Previously, Kastner had to call them back or ask them to ring one of the other branches. It also means that all branches can communicate with each other without having to use the PSTN, which obviously saves them money."

Since the network has been installed, Kastner has been able to deal with customers in a faster and more efficient manner. Enquiries can now be instantly directed to the right person at the right branch. This has undoubtedly led to a higher standard of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Customer records are now stored on a central server allowing every department access to relevant information which in turn has led to a seamless full service operation for customers.

"From the outset, Kastner were clear about one thing - when customers telephoned their local branch and were transferred to another in the region, the quality of the call should not suffer," says Sawyer. "They were also keen to have a network that would support the convergence of voice and data traffic. We knew that Newbridge products had a reputation for reliability and our strong relationship with Data Connectivity meant that they were able to recommend products that ensured top quality."

"The motor industry is one of the most competitive and it is only through investment in new technology that Kastner has been able to offer services that allow them to stay one step ahead of their competitors," says Grahame Smee, managing director, Data Connectivity. "This project is another example of how closely DC works in collaboration with our VAR partners to provide the best quality of service possible to the end user."

Compiled by Mike Burkitt

( Multimedia PRM 1999

Read more on Voice networking and VoIP