Case Study – Wesfarmers

Wesfarmers Resources is an Australian open-cut miner and a leading metallurgical coal producer and supplier of thermal coal for domestic power generation. It owns and operates a remote coal mine at Curragh in Queensland’s Bowen Basin and has a significant stake in Bengalla mine in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales.

Wesfarmers Connectivity Requirements

Wesfarmers Resources data infrastructure was under enormous strain due to growing demand for communication between its three Queensland metropolitan sites, rural branch offices at Rockhampton and Blackwater, and a remote mine site at Curragh, some 14kms from Blackwater and 800km North West of Brisbane.

In addition to carrying normal financial and operational data, the network was being increasingly used for teleconferencing, telephony services and even radio, which neither the 10Mbps service to Blackwater, nor the microwave service to the Curragh mine were able to adequately support.

Wesfarmers required greater bandwidth capacity and improved performance and reliability from its communication network. The remote location of most of these sites presented an additional challenge, with limited communication services available.

And importantly for us, Nextgen was able to provide a complete end-to-end solution.”

Andrew Anneveldt, Senior ICT Administrator – Wesfarmers Resources

The Nextgen Solution

The Wesfarmers remote sites required better connectivity to provide greater capacity and resilience for the entire network, and to provide a solution that would meet its needs both today and into the future. Although Nextgen was already delivering point-to-point services for the three Wesfarmers Resources metropolitan sites, Wesfarmers was looking to relocate to a new data centre. Through the relocation process, Nextgen identified an obvious gap between the current network capability and the business requirements.

Nextgen proposed a solution to deliver a five-site VPLS network delivering gigabit speeds to the metropolitan sites as well as a 50Mbps service to Rockhampton and a 100Mbps service to Blackwater that supports a 50Mbps microwave service to the Curragh mine site.

Andrew Anneveldt, Senior ICT Administrator, Wesfarmers Resources said that Nextgen had a proven track record of reliability in the point-to-point services that they provided. “It was an easy decision for us to make,” he said. “And importantly for us, Nextgen was able to provide a complete end-to-end  solution.”

Nextgen VPLS provides a fully meshed, secure, full-featured Ethernet network that interconnects all customer sites into a single Wide Area Network. This network supports the widest range of IT applications with the low latency and Quality of Service required for real-time and mission critical applications.

“The key benefit is the direct relationship that allows efficient communication between Wesfarmers Resources and Nextgen. When we first engaged Nextgen I was impressed with how quickly they designed, built and commissioned our new service.”

Andrew Anneveldt, Senior ICT Administrator – Wesfarmers Resources

The Outcome

Mr Anneveldt said, “This solution has also enabled remote locations to have the same level of service as head office, for conferencing, video and business data. At the same time it delivers a level of reliability that is mandatory for operating a mine site.”

Adam Kain, Strategic Accounts Manager, Nextgen, said that until recently, clients in regional QLD had limited options when it came to bandwidth requirements in regional areas like mine sites. “Through leveraging our relationships with extended access providers, Nextgen is able to provide a complete end to end offering with high bandwidth speeds at very competitive prices compared with what used to be available.

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As a result we provide a legitimate solution and choice to  the regional QLD market. Companies can now access the bandwidth speeds that used to only be available in the CBD, which is a game changer for regional QLD.”

“The switch to Nextgen has been a seamless process delivered on budget. We expect that with greater link capacity and performance we can meet our needs both today and well into the future,” Mr Anneveldt concluded.

About Wesfarmers

Wesfarmers is one of Australia’s largest listed companies. Its diverse business operations cover: supermarkets, department stores, home improvement and office supplies; coal mining; insurance; chemicals, energy and fertilisers; and industrial and safety products.