Satellite to 3G switch provides windfall for Suzlon

Saves $900,000 in data costs per year

Wind power equipment manufacturer, Suzlon Energy Australia, has saved some $900,000 in data costs per year after moving its remote workforce from satellite communications to a multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) network.

Suzlon IT manager, Rohan Mayer, said the organisation’s remote locale and mobile workforce posed a challenge to his IT department.

“Those buildings [in our workforce] are essentially placed in a paddock, it could be anywhere,” he said.

“…generally there is no power, no Telstra comms or no comms at all, and from there we take delivery of the wind turbines and have construction vehicles coming through to start building roads…hence where the Telstra solution comes into play.”

Mayer said monthly bills for satellite usage were “exorbitant” and is increasing every month, with the highest bill having reached $12,000 for a month.

After joining Suzlon in 2008, Mayer sought out a private network solution from Telstra that integrated with the company’s existing MPLS network.

“Telstra had the solution of connecting the 3G data cards into their MPLS cloud,” he said. “That enabled us to connect a wireless device into our private network which linked us back to the head office in Collins Street.”

Mayer said Telstra was a natural choice for Suzlon Energy Australia because the company’s mobile, landline and MPLS network was already with the telco.

“When it came to our hard wired network, Telstra’s MPLS network to me was most superior,” he said.

“…the issue we have with our remoteness is coverage. We had no choice but to go with Telstra for our mobiles because other mobile carriers just didn’t reach that far.”

While Mayer said the ROI for the project has been “hard to quantify” because of the growth in the organisation, he said the cost savings have been vast.

“Had we continued the way we had been going…I’d dare say we’d have a $100,000 bill per month for satellite communications,” he said. “The Telstra MPLS network at the moment is costing $16,000 per month.”

Mayer said the nature of the Suzlon’s closed network has also been beneficial to the company

“All of our calls are internal, we’re not crossing state boundaries or encountering flag falls,” he said. “It’s not only had a cost benefit and rapid deployment benefit, but it’s instilled a ‘we are one’ culture.”

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