Yorkshire Water has switched on a data and voice virtual private network, in order to prevent individual site outages from bringing down networks at other locations.

Last week, the company switched on the last site in the centralised network, which was provided by ntl:Telewest. The network underpins voice and data traffic for the utility’s 130 sites, linking all sites to a central backbone and replacing individual networks from being linked in a “daisy chain” setup, the firm said.

Work began in October 2006 when Yorkshire Water realised that the previous setup was too unreliable. If one site’s network went down, it would cause an outage at the adjoining sites.

Dave Nussey, network manager at Yorkshire Water, said: “The network we’ve deployed provides us with the resilience and flexibility to needed to manage and ensure the delivery of our service.”

He added: “Carrying all traffic on the same network provides significant cost benefits today, but it also provides us with ... the ability to introduce some new services, such as unified communications and broadening the footprint of our telemetry systems in the future.” Yorkshire Water also plans to provide field workers with mobile devices, though no date has been announced for this work.

Yorkshire Water has also switched on an HP storage area network, after recently consolidating disparate servers into a new datacentre in Bradford. Key business applications include Citrix, SAP and Lotus Notes, and its PC users predominantly use Microsoft Windows.

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