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Greener for Life

swcomms provides Greener for Life with a wireless point to point connection that provides an environmentallyfriendly and cost-effective core to their communications infrastructure.

Greener for Life is a specialist company devoted to sustainable food and energy production. When Greener for Life set up their head office near Tiverton, Devon, they needed all the usual business communications tools: a telephone system, telephone lines and internet connectivity. Located in Nomansland, the internet requirement proved challenging as their remote location meant the only available connectivity was broadband. While broadband is a very successful product for the residential market, a resilient internet connection was crucial to the rapidly growing business that wanted to use the latest communications technology, including VoIP telephony.

Greener and more financially palatable alternative
They were also conscious of a future need to connect to remote, farm-based sites where monitoring equipment would feedback data to their head office on a 24/7 basis. At first the only solution appeared to be installation of a fibre leased line. However, this was going to incur staggering dig costs of more than £100,000 as the leased line would need to use BT’s extended reach to the nearest exchange in Wellington, Somerset. The installation period would also take several months. swcomms recommended a greener and more financially palatable alternative using a wireless connection, often referred to as a point to point microwave link.

A wide-ranging site survey demonstrated that a point to point microwave link could be installed between Greener for Life’s headquarters and a radio tower in Stoodleigh owned by Surf Telecoms. Although there was a seven-mile distance between the two locations, near line of sight could be achieved meaning a wireless link was possible. So rather than dig up miles of land to lay cables, dishes were installed at both sites which immediately cut delivery lead times as well as costs.

Uncontended bandwidth
In order to provide internet connectivity, a leased line was installed between Surf Telecoms’ tower and our data centre in Exeter so we were able to provide the 10Mbps of uncontended bandwidth Greener for Life required. Our data centre is on-net with seven tier-1 carriers with five diverse building entry points and multiple cable pathways to avoid any possibility of downtime. With this resilient internet connectivity in place, Greener for Life could operate more efficiently and could embrace the growth they had planned. All the remote sites are linked to head office in Nomansland via broadband connections to the radio tower and onwards via the wireless link. So when we installed a Toshiba CIX200 IP telephone system at headquarters, the remote sites could connect to it using remote IP handsets. The monitoring equipment also fed back data to the main site via this connectivity option.

The new phone system gave the business a companywide communications tool with free calls between sites and the ability to transfer and forward calls to any extension within their directory. They also benefit from automated attendant, voicemail, manual call recording and flexible night mode features safe in the knowledge the system can grow in line with their business. In addition to the wireless link and the phone system, swcomms deployed the local area network cabling, switches, routers as well as four channels of ISDN2 telephone lines at Greener for Life’s HQ.

We continue to work with Greener for Life as they roll out additional sites as well as providing ongoing support for the entire solution so that they have full confidence in the communications infrastructure that is so crucial to their business. The wireless link remains at the heart of the solution. Not only was it cost-effective at the time but it prevented the environmental disruption created by dig projects thereby making it the greener option too.

Andrew Ambler, IT manager, said: “As a new and dynamically expanding organisation we looked to partner with an established telecoms provider in order to develop our key communications projects. swcomms was able to put forward cost-effective and innovative solutions to help overcome the challenges of our rural environment and the distributed nature of our business operations. We are pleased to be supporting a local company and to have their expertise on hand to assist with future challenges.”

Download case study here.