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Intelligent infrastructure system keeps Canary Wharf lawyers on the case

Global law firm Clifford Chance has entrusted the physical network at its new Canary Wharf London office and a City satellite office to an advanced monitoring and control system which resolves many network issues in seconds, enhances security, and allows previously complex moves and changes to be made in double-quick time.

And according to Online Group, which implemented the Patchview for the Enterprise (PV4E) intelligent physical layer management solution, the twin-site system is one of the largest implementations of the technology in the world. At the 33-floor Upper Bank Street tower just outside Canary Wharf tube station, PV4E takes care of almost 110,000 managed ports and 2,500 staff, while a variable number of staff at the satellite Coleman Street office – many of them hot-desking – are served by 8,500 managed ports.

PV4E links intelligent versions of the standard patch panels which lie at the heart of all modern cabled networks with a live database which continuously monitors every single voice and data connection in the physical network. The seamless communication between patch panels and software allows faults to be flagged on a desktop screen in seconds.

Physical network changes can also be designed on the desktop and then fed to the patch panels where LEDs indicate the changes which need to be made. Thanks to PV4E’s remote capabilities, Clifford Chance can now design changes at Canary Wharf and feed them to Coleman Street without expert technical teams even having to visit. Instant updating of the physical network documentation ensures that all changes are easily reversible.

Already Clifford Chance telecommunications manager Neil Munro is seeing benefits. Every year, 5,000 network moves and changes are needed as lawyers move into new teams. Before PV4E, Munro’s experience was similar to any other manager coping with the corporate word’s annual migration of staff and network resources. “It was a nightmare,” he says, “but this year, my team said that the moves went better than they have ever done. Patching connections were all right first time and as a result the number of helpdesk calls was much lower.”

PV4E is also allowing Munro’s team to activate and deactivate ports at extremely short notice – vital in an environment where high capacity feeds may need to be activated for events such as AV presentations but which need to be closed down as soon as they are no longer needed in order to maintain tight security. Now all ports can be activated and closed down from an authorised desktop.

The facility is also proving its worth at the Coleman Street offices where many lawyers choose to hot desk before and after meetings. A quick phone call is all that is needed for the Canary Wharf team to remotely activate the required resources.

Munro is currently supported by three full time staff and three outside contractors. Without the move to PV4E, Munro reckons he would have needed five extra staff - two full time and three additional outside contractors - to cope with a main office which is twice the size of the one it replaces and the satellite Coleman Street city office.

The final word on the move from a passively managed network infrastructure to intelligent physical layer management goes to Neil Munro: “We wouldn’t want to go back – none of us would.”

* DIGITAL PHOTO AVAILABLE of new Clifford Chance tower and Canary Wharf Jubilee Line tube station

information for editors:

Clifford Chance Limited Liability Partnership is the first fully integrated global law firm, with 32 offices in 19 countries. The firm aims to provide seamless global services to the world's leading financial institutions and multinational businesses. Unrivalled in its international resources, Clifford Chance has over 3,500 legal advisers and is organised around six global practice areas: capital markets; corporate (including M&A); finance; litigation and dispute resolution; real estate; and tax, pensions and employment law.

Online Group is the UK’s leading intelligent physical layer management specialist. Online Group carried out its first installation of RiT’s intelligent patching system in 1997, putting it ahead of the industry. Online Group’s technical expertise is now devoted to helping its specially selected partners to carry out their own intelligent patching installations. Online Group is a corporate member of leading industry bodies BICSI, the FIA, and TIA. Online Group has in-house RCDD (Registered Communications Distribution Designer) expertise and is registered to the BS5750/ISO 9000 quality standard.

Online Group: Debra Geard, sales and marketing manager, Online Group Ltd, Unit 4, Pembroke Buildings, Scrubs Lane, London NW10 6RE. Tel: 020 8968 2244.

Online Group press information: Paul Taylor, intro communications.
DDI: +44 (0)20 8699 7176.
ON038/A May 4, 2004

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