Hill and Smith Limited
Delivery of a Wireless network
Upgrading of layer 2 infrastructure
Hill and Smith Limited manufacture and supply specialist safety barrier systems throughout the world, based in the West Midlands. Rockford have provided IT infrastructure services to Hill and Smith group companies for several years. In 2014, the IT Manager was tasked by the business to provide wireless connectivity over the entire site to support computerising the job sheet system, warehousing and picking onto handhelds and tablets.
The biggest challenge at Hill and Smith was the significant amount of heavy machinery, large presses and huge crane systems in their production environment which cause both interference and blockages to wireless signals. This required high density of wireless access points. Using WatchGuard’s analysis tool after installation allowed for the tuning of APs to ensure the network was reliable and a consistent strong signal. The site also operates 6am – 10pm so implementation had to be carried out without downtime or significant interruption.
Following a thorough survey, Rockford proposed a WatchGuard Wireless solution comprising of 30 dual radio indoor APs and 12 external APs controlled by a WatchGuard XTM850 with Security Bundle. In addition, Rockford had to provide structured cabling to each AP location and fibre out to intermediate distribution cabinets. The proposal significantly extended and upgraded the existing layer 2 infrastructure and recommended installing a stacked pair of core switches, redundant links to all switches, segregate the network into VLANs and configure spanning tree topology. The WatchGuard XTM was to be placed at the centre as a layer three core with all security services scanning all traffic.
Hill and Smith have site wide wireless connectivity. They have a network VLAN for their tablets and handhelds, a corporate wireless network, a BYOD and guest network, secured for other networks. These wireless networks can be broadcast to any part of the entire 150,000sq ft site through a simple WatchGuard XTM interface. The network is secure and all traffic is scanned for vulnerabilities by multi-layer systems on the WatchGuard XTM. The resilient switch network is hardened and fully monitored to alert Rockford and Hill and Smith IT to any faults, unexpected activity or unusual traffic. We are waiting to see the results of Hill and Smith’s efficiency improvement but it’s estimated to be significant.
The Wi-Fi project Rockford IT provided, has given us a stable and secure platform for us to extend our software infrastructure. The execution of the project has impressed us and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Rockford IT
Hill and Smith Limited (IT Manager)