As the world’s largest appliance maker, Whirlpool Corporation knows a thing or two about innovations. But the company recently looked at its factories’ mixed networking devices and realised that their backend infrastructure needed some innovating too. An unstable wireless network set-up was costing the company money, was difficult to troubleshoot and simply could not keep up with new technologies.
Whirlpool turned to Cisco and the appliance company’s service provider, Black Box Network Services, to come up with a plan to update their network architecture.
Beginning with five pilot sites—including one of Whirlpool’s largest plants—Cisco employed designs to modernise the network. The products included in the plans were:
- Cisco Catalyst 3750X switch
- Cisco Catalyst 2960X Series switches
- Cisco FlexStack and StackWise cabling
- Cisco Aironet 3600 Series Access Point with Cisco CleanAir technology
- Cisco 5500 Series wireless controller
Additionally, network traffic was collected and analysed by Cisco IOS Netflow, while Cisco Prime centrally managed the entire network.
Operations at the five test plants have soared as information now moves faster than ever. Networks are better equipped for video, which is speeding up innovation design and time to market. Issues can be dealt with quickly, before business can be impacted.
Whirlpool workers have been happy with the changes.
“Some engineers say they never realised how bad the old network was,” said Whirlpool program manager Greg Fisbeck. “Jobs that used to take a half an hour now take just a few minutes.”
Whirlpool was so pleased with the initiative in the five pilot plants that it will be upgrading their remaining 80 plants worldwide at a clip of 20 locations a year.
To learn more about the Whirlpool Corporation solution, please visit the case study page.