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Leading Pharmacy Chain Backs Up MPLS Network and Adds New Applications

Low-cost, high-availability “dual-broadband” satellite and landline solution meets pharmacy and photo service demands.

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One of the largest retailers in the country needed a better backup network and a network upgrade to deliver rapid, reliable prescriptions and photo services to its customers. Over time this company had employed different primary technologies in its single-threaded Wide Area Network (WAN), including satellite, frame relay, and eventually, higher cost Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS). The MPLS solution initially met their networking needs, but cost issues, back-up requirements and bandwidth challenges mounted as they brought on new applications.

Their pharmacy application, for example, would require near 100% uptime and robust back-up to reliably fill customer prescriptions. In addition, their new digital photo development application would require MPLS bandwidth expansion at considerable cost. Internal studies indicated that each location would need at least 384 kbps to handle this new photo application. That kind of cost increase multiplied across thousands of stores was simply not possible within the existing budget, and in any case wouldn’t resolve the backup challenges. The company was approached by several vendors who offered separate, secure networks, but those independent architectures came at a premium price that was impossible to justify.

The retailer solved both the pharmacy back-up and photo bandwidth challenges with the Hughes Managed Network Solution. The Hughes solution complements the existing MPLS network with broadband satellite technology, resulting in near 100% store/pharmacy availability (see Figure 1). And the increased network bandwidth eliminated the need to upgrade the existing MPLS network. In short, the retailer now enjoys enhanced performance and higher availability employing a dual path, route-diverse WAN—all while lowering overall networking costs.

In particular, the upgraded dual path WAN configuration provides extreme flexibility and resiliency for the company’s photo and pharmacy applications. This “network within a network” architecture delivers optimized performance while delivering the utmost in network availability. Using automatic failover, selected applications are dynamically re-routed to utilize the alternate transport. Using policy-based routing the company is also able to prioritize pharmacy applications, allocating the necessary bandwidth for mission critical applications as well as leveraging backup capacity for lower priority applications.

With help from Hughes, this leading retailer now offers customers some of the most advanced pharmacy and photo development services in the country, and has the required infrastructure to make sure they can satisfy customer prescriptions 24/7. They also now enjoy more than enough bandwidth to handle some of the most demanding applications in the market. With their Hughes Managed Network Solution, this retailer enjoys enterprise-grade performance, availability and reliability—delivering the competitive edge they need to stay ahead of the competition.

About Hughes

Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES) is the global leader in providing broadband satellite networks and services to enterprises, governments, and consumers. Its broadband satellite products are based on global standards approved by the TIA, ETSI, and ITU standards organizations, including IPoS/DVB-S2, RSM-A, and GMR-1. To date, Hughes has shipped more than 2.2 million systems to customers in over 100 countries. Headquartered outside Washington, D.C., in Germantown, Maryland, USA, Hughes maintains sales and support offices worldwide. Hughes is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hughes Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: HUGH).