Bringing Modern Networking to Agriculture

networkcab
webmaster
Tue, 10/19/2021 - 05:55

The Challenge

When you think commercial agriculture you don't consider things like security video, wifi and digital networking. This 100+ acre facility required security camera coverage for tracking daily operations and quickly grew to more than 400 cameras. The design was simple with all devices on the same switched network. This design was easy to add to and started simple to troubleshoot. As the site grew, problems arose with expanding and operating.

Each segment was connected with wireless bridges and the topology was logically broken up by clusters of fields equipped with security cameras and occasional wireless access points for user internet access. Multiple /24 subnets were stacked on the same switched fabric to allow this number of devices to communicate and operate but there was no network visibility, no loop prevention and no security.

The Solution

MAETRIX proposed a segmenting of the network blocks into individual netblocks to allow expandability, manageability and predictability in the network flow and operation. The proposal included network gear that could provide OSPF dynamic routing, VLANs, Spanning Tree and network monitoring functionality. One giant switched network was broken into nine smaller blocks and all hosts were readdressed and divided to their dedicated VLAN and subnet.

After the initial installation problems in the switching fabric were able to be isolated and resolved. The two internet services that were originally separate and unreliable on their own were put to use as a redundant failover using IPSLA and OSPF redistribution to dynamically detect failures and switch as they went up or down. MAETRIX SENTRY monitoring was deployed to continuously monitor network gear for anomalies and outages to speed up response and resolution time.

The Takeaway

Network perfomance was improved due to segmentation, blocking broadcasts from the busy IP security networks from users.

Mean resolution time was drastically reduced to a few hours at worst and minutes at best due to vastly increased visibility of the state of the network.

Network incidents were reduced in frequency and impact by the network blocks being segregated from each other. Misconfigurations in one block would not debilitate the entire network. Dynamic routing and redundant gateways allowed for vastly improved resiliency in the event of a failure.

Overall productivity and total cost of ownership was reduced by improvements provided.