ESB lights the way to future with new IP network

21 Nov 2006

The ESB has completed the transition of its IT network from Frame Relay technology to internet protocol (IP) in a multimillion euro rollout involving more than 90 offices and sites around the country.

The electricity provider has engaged Eircom to provide all of its data communication services and the new IP MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) infrastructure handles and prioritises all data communications for ESB’s wide area network around the country. The project follows a competitive tender process and was completed on time under the guidance of a programme and project management team from Eircom.

Working from its business IP+ service, Eircom tailored the delivery to ESB’s needs, allowing the utility firm to prioritise data traffic and to have visibility of its own applications throughout the country. The ESB’s two main data centres are now connected via a 155Mbps link.

Ray Nulty, director of enterprise markets with Eircom, said that ESB’s choice showed that the company could deliver network upgrade projects of large scale and scope.

According to Tony Keane, ESB’s IT technical services manager, an ongoing technical relationship with Eircom also played a role in deciding how to award the project. “Initially, we looked at the network as a cost driver; however we like to be deep into the technology. We want to talk to the people who are building and supporting the network and we find it’s easy to get that kind of access with Eircom. We feel that our input is heard,” he said.

“Eircom’s dedicated laboratory environment was very helpful in terms of making our choice,” Keane added. “We saw that Eircom’s MPLS solution could deliver what we wanted, in terms of guaranteeing application bandwidth, satisfying latency requirements and allowing prioritisation of one traffic flow over another during conditions of network congestion.”

By Gordon Smith