Irish Health and Safety Authority switches to 3Com Gigabit Ethernet for faster networking

Dublin 14 January 2002Inspectors with the Health & Safety Authority of Ireland now have faster access to essential health and safety information, regardless of their location, thanks to a high-speed Gigabit Ethernet network based on 3Com switching technology. The new infrastructure, up to 100 times faster than the previous network, has resolved the bandwidth issues and eliminated network jams which had threatened to undermine the efficiency of on-site workplace assessments.


The Health & Safety Authority (HSA) has overall responsibility for the administration and enforcement of health and safety in the workplace in Ireland. The HSA monitors guidelines and inspects industries such as construction, mining, fishing, manufacturing and agriculture to ensure health and safety legislation is being followed.

"The addition of switching in the new infrastructure means that data traffic can be effectively filtered and transmitted on a one-to-many basis without the network being flooded", stated Aidan Curran, HSA's systems development manager. "It is now easy to access whatever data is required, whenever it is needed, right across the network. Ultimately, this can only increase the organisation's performance and productivity."

The 160-user Gigabit Ethernet network was installed by 3Com channel partner, Kedington. The initial implementation is based on 3Com SuperStack 3 Switch 4300 high density, high-performance 10/100 switch and 3Com SuperStack 3 Switch 3300 high-speed workgroup switches. Plans are also underway to augment the network with 3Com wireless technologies next year.

"We have found 3Com products to be well-priced, reliable and easy to install", stated Mr. Curran, who also highlighted the improvement in network reliability. "We now have optical links and cabling connecting all four floors in our building which provides total network resilience. So, if one floor goes down, we are still up and running."

Mr. Curran detailed the problems HSA experienced with its previous network. "When an inspector has carried out an inspection on a construction site, for example, he needs to be able to access databases and have a high availability of data at his disposal. During busy periods, the lack of bandwidth generated by our hub-based network meant that inspectors working at a remote site often couldn't access the information and materials they needed. Data traffic collisions were also a regular and equally frustrating problem. However, since Kedington installed the new 3Com network access has been fast, easy and absolutely reliable."

3Com's Irish sales manager Ray O'Connor commented: "More organisations are looking for more speed and higher performance from their network. Even so, just adding smart technology like switching will not, by itself, deliver the desired end result. There is no use just throwing more bandwidth at a congested network. Sound management along with strict security policies will get the most out of networking."

Claire Purcell, strategic account manager, Kedington added: "Moving from Ethernet or Fast Ethernet to Gigabit Ethernet will of course yield a massive boost in terms of network speed, in some cases rising 100-fold." 3Com is an expert in functionally-rich, easy-to-use networking products which connect businesses to their employees, customers and suppliers anytime, anywhere.

3Com is also specialised in Internet protocol (IP) service platforms and access infrastructure for the network service provider market. In 1979, the company was founded by one of the inventors of Ethernet technology on which virtually all local area networks are based. Since then, 3Com has sold more than 340.000.000 Ethernet connections. 3Com has headquarters in Santa Clara, California and offices around the world.

More news on the use of 3Com solutions in health care is available in the VMW November 2001 article Growing number of US hospitals goes wireless using 3Com's AirConnect solution.

Leslie Versweyveld

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