March 26, 2003

A proliferation of networked applications, such as e-mail, CRM and thin-clients, is causing organizations to seek inexpensive ways to boost network capacity.

Telecommunications equipment manufacturers are responding with bandwidth-boosting "appliances." By removing repeat data patterns found in any type of traffic, network appliances free up congestion and speed data traffic.

One such product-Accelerator from Expand Networks, Roseland, N.J.-has enabled Premier Community Bank to avoid cost-prohibitive wide-area network (WAN) link upgrades and to quickly deploy new applications to its branches.

The Clearwater, Fla.-based bank had recently implemented a new Teller System, Premier II Teller and an accounting platform, Premier II Platform, both heavy users of WAN bandwidth. While the bank runs all its financial applications over Citrix, remote access was proving to be a challenge, resulting in degradation of response times.

"Since the upgrading of 64 Kbps circuits requires significant infrastructure overhaul , we decided to investigate a low-cost service like DSL," said Pat Mielke, senior vice president of operations at Premier Community Bank. "DSL proved too problematic-we could not get reliable WAN access for the new teller system."

Expand Networks' Accelerator provided a cheaper alternative to DSL. "We recognized that in this economic environment it would be critical not to swap out the whole data infrastructure with the cost and uncertainty associated with such a project," said Todd Bramschreiber, technical consultant at Network Solutions, a consulting firm hired by the bank.

Accelerator increased the capacity of the bank's 64Kbps circuits by 5 to 10 times and added tools like monitoring.

"Premier Community Bank can now get more out of their WAN," said Bramschreiber.

The results were impressive, according to Mielke.

"Our remote offices reported that WAN performance of all networked services was comparable to accessing these applications from our headquarters," said Mielke. "But the real benefit was our ability to cost-effectively continue servicing smaller rural communities which other banks have abandoned because they could not keep costs down."