Norway’s top real estate agent uses Citrix SD-WAN to improve networking between and within branches.
Twice winner of the prestigious Norwegian Customer Barometer award, Eiendomsmegler Krogsveen understands the importance of making things simple. When its clients move to a new house, the estate agent offers to pack, store and transport their belongings to their new location. It will even clean their old house to make it ready for the new owner or tenant.
Krogsveen takes the same end-to-end approach with its IT, as Head of IT Thomas Andersen explains, "If we relied on an outsource partner, as many of our competitors do, things would be slower.” He continues, “By keeping our IT skills in-house, and using smart tools, we can be more agile. It's easier to roll out new apps or services for all our staff and branches."
Krogsveen has been a Citrix customer for many years, hosting its apps and data within its head office datacenter and delivering a hosted desktop to thin-client terminals for employees. Historically, the business used MPLS lines to connect each of its 53 branches to head office. However, as Andersen says, “Initially, the branches had no direct connection to the internet. Everything looped back through the main office, increasing our data usage and slowing overall traffic on the MPLS lines. Therefore, to provide internet, or even Wi-Fi, to the branches, we needed to provide a separate line.” For some more remote locations, the price of an additional line was prohibitive. MPLS was an expensive and inflexible solution for Krogsveen’s needs. Opening a new office could require a month or more delay before a new line could be installed. Whenever an MPLS connection failed, branches would be unable to operate and Andersen’s team would be unable to help.
The Krogsveen team decided to test Citrix SD-WAN to improve its inter-branch network. With a little advice from Citrix, as Andersen says, “Citrix SD-WAN was quite easy to set up. It took just a couple of hours.”
The team used SD-WAN to create a new connection using just a standard broadband connection with a 4G connection as backup in each store.
Following a successful proof-of-concept, Krogsveen looked at costs.
“The quote to renew our MPLS contract was expensive,” Andersen says. “But, by using SD-WAN in every branch and replacing those old MPLS lines with a standard broadband connection and a 4G backup, we would pay back the project costs within 18 months. We would be providing a better quality service to our branches at a lower cost.”
Krogsveen employees now enjoy a consistent quality of experience wherever they are. Every branch enjoys local internet connection and Wi-Fi that enables devices from the iPads used in customer meetings to the screens used in branch window displays. Customers can also use the Wi-Fi network when meeting with company representatives.
The quality of all connections is monitored by SD-WAN. If a broadband connection fails or simply becomes slow due to the weight of traffic, the 4G connection kicks in to supplement.
“We use a low-cost, low-data deal for each 4G connection. When we see a connection come into use, we can increase the data allowance to cover the period required until the main connection is able to cope again.”
SD-WAN also enables the team to prioritize individual workloads.
“That’s been useful during the current Covid-19 crisis,” Andersen says. “When the schools were first closed some parents brought their children into the office, so we had lots of kids using our Wi-Fi network to watch Netflix. To begin with, that had a big impact on our network performance. But, we used SD-WAN to limit internet traffic to just 50% of our total bandwidth so that our business apps weren’t affected.”
“The biggest benefit of SD-WAN is its flexibility. If we open a new branch, we can use 4G until a broadband line is installed. There’s no delay. If we take over a business that uses MPLS, we can integrate those connections until we change them.”
Overall, SD-WAN helps Andersen’s team provide a more reliable and more agile service to the business. It also frees up time.
“With SD-WAN, we have greater control over our system. We’re not at the mercy of a single provider of connectivity. The simplified admin and greater network insight also mean we have more time,” he says. ”If you have more control and more time, you have happier IT staff! We have the space to innovate, providing better tools for our brokers and other staff. And, of course, we have peace of mind. We sleep better knowing we have SD-WAN.”
With SD-WAN, we have greater control over our system. … If you have more control and more time, you have happier IT staff! … And, of course, we have peace of mind. We sleep better knowing we have Citrix SD-WAN.