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SAS Global Communications boosts inter-site communications for global environmental consultancy

London - SAS Global Communications, an international provider of managed and professional network services, today announced it has designed and implemented a wide area network (WAN) for RPS, an international environmental consultancy. The new MPLS WAN connects the company’s 47 UK sites and is quality of service (QoS) enabled, which will allow RPS to use video conferencing between its offices over IP; something the company plans to introduce as part of its own energy management programme.

RPS is one of the world’s largest environmental and geoscience consultancies. Employing 3,750 people in offices across Europe, the US, Australia and South East Asia, it provides advice on the development of natural resources and the management of the environment. Many of the consultancy’s projects involve teams working across multiple offices; this demands a robust and high capacity communications infrastructure. RPS’s previous frame relay-based WAN was not reliable enough to support company-wide communications. It was also inflexible and expensive to run. RPS therefore decided to upgrade its infrastructure and migrate to an MPLS-based WAN, which would support growth and the addition of future applications.

However, not all of RPS’s UK sites required a network upgrade; at 17 locations the company simply needed access to email and generic software applications such as Word, RPS therefore wanted to avoid heavy investment in an infrastructure that was not wholly necessary, so decided to consult with an expert partner that could advise on the feasibility of a partial WAN migration project. This partner would also need to install the necessary equipment, integrate it with legacy systems and manage the completed infrastructure.

SAS was selected because it had a clear understanding of RPS’s business requirements, was responsive and able to complete the work in a short timeframe. Furthermore, SAS could also ensure that communications would be unaffected, even during RPS’s offices moves, which occur frequently to accommodate the company’s acquisition and growth strategy. Previously the consultancy experienced network downtime during transition periods, but with the new infrastructure in place, employees can access the network as soon as they have moved sites, thereby minimising disruption.

“As an environmental agency, it’s not in our nature to rip out and replace equipment that still serves a purpose, but we recognised that much of our telecoms infrastructure was limiting our ability to work effectively. SAS had the expertise we needed to integrate new with old,” said Dave Magee, operations manager at RPS. “We’ve been particularly impressed with the company’s ability to come up with a flexible solution that ensures network resources can always be accessed, even at times of disruption, such as when we’re moving offices. Its round-the-clock responsiveness and dedicated approach to ongoing management give us further reassurances that our network infrastructure is always performing optimally.”

SAS installed BT’s MPLS network, IP Clear, and Cisco routers at 30 of RPS’s sites, and was responsible for integrating and configuring the network across all of its 47 UK locations. SAS also helped RPS to minimise any duplication in carrier costs during the WAN migration by working directly with BT to closely coordinate the commissioning and decommissioning of the new and old circuits.

“RPS understands that managing the communications network is a key part of any company’s growth and acquisition strategy,” said Charles Davis, CEO of SAS Global Communications. “Too many companies treat their networks as an afterthought and end up putting undue stress and additional cost onto every office move. The majority of organisations need a flexible network – in terms of requirements, operability and cost – and it’s important that they realise the options available to them before they make decisions.”

SAS will continue to provide RPS with managed services, including monitoring the MPLS network and ensuring that the company is billed correctly. To facilitate this, SAS has set up a local interface for WAN support, using an ASDL link that connects directly to RPS’s network and is also used to remotely access and monitor all routers.

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