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Methode - Case Study

Electronics manufacturer consolidates traffic on a single, easy to manage network.

Methode is a manufacturer of custom-engineered and applicationspecific products and solutions including biometric identification, magnetic signature sensing and revolutionary solid-state touch sensitive switches used in today’s appliances and automobiles.

Methode is a manufacturing company in transition. Like many other manufacturers, it was forced to move parts of its production to Asia several years ago, which presented a challenge for the already aging and piecemealed communications infrastructure. 

“When I came into this company, the infrastructure was so shoddy,” said Joseph Pikul of Methode, who joined the company in 2008. “We had servers that were seven years old that were failing every so often for external DNS. We could either invest in new servers or find a company to manage the DNS on their servers.” 

Pikul said the wide area network was “hodge-podged” together. At one point Methode had used Verizon previously for MPLS and then switched to AT&T for internet and VPN tunneling. At the same time, they were moving to XO dedicated circuits. 

Another one of Pikul’s biggest problems was the internal surfcontrol for anti-spam. “It would not notify people when things were blocked, or they were getting blocked when they shouldn’t have been getting blocked,” Pikul said. “It was a headache for me and the entire team. I saw right from the beginning that we didn’t have enough technicians on the network side within our company. That was a major driver in our decision to find a company that could provide us that technological engineering and management of the routers.”

West Unified Communications Services not only cleaned up Methode’s network situation but boosted its performance, resiliency and transparency by implementing the Maxxis Application Network. A completely private, fast and flexible solution that let Methode prioritize voice, video and data applications, Maxxis consolidated all traffic onto a single, easy-to-manage network infrastructure. 

To ensure network security, Methode implemented the completely managed MaxxSecure solution, which provides advanced spam filtering, intrusion detection and prevention, virtual private networking, virus and spyware protection, and web content monitoring and filtering.

Methode has also employed colocation services from West UC. Through colocation, Methode’s servers are located on-net with the West UC platform, simplifying its communications infrastructure by limiting the amount of routers used. West UC designed several ad hoc solutions for Methode, including assistance with managing Cisco Call Managers at Methode’s Indian and Mexican locations and VPN access to Methode’s international locations.

Through the use of Maxxis and MaxxSecure, Methode’s communications infrastructure is more solid and as a result, Pikul is seeing better throughput and fewer interruptions in service. He has also been able to utilize West UC’s NOC as an extension of his IT service to assist the entire company with any issues. “I can see it by looking through the NOC work orders. Our users are calling the NOC with questions and getting answers,” Pikul said. “In a lot of cases I don’t know about it, and that’s the way I like it.”

From an IT standpoint, having West UC completely manage the installation and day-to-day operation of the network has saved Pikul time and headaches, and has allowed him and his staff to focus on more mission-critical objectives. Coming from a network background, Pikul appreciates the easy access to technical professionals at West. “I have to manage people and servers, but our network is something I don’t have to worry about anymore.”

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