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Systems Upgrade for a District Council, in the South of England.


Hewlett-Packard was approached at a trade show by a reseller who had been supplying a wide variety of equipment (except networking) to a district council for many years. The Council network was due for major upgrade and the incumbent reseller was unwilling to work with a specialist networking reseller for fear that they could then go on to poach their business. Neil Salmon of Network Solutions Plus was introduced to the reseller by the then HP Networking Country Manager as a ‘consultant who knows HP networking products inside out but does not sell hardware, only services’.

At that time the Council network was three sites linked by fibre-optic cabling with a bridged link between the two main sites. The two main sites housed about 800 users each and about 100 on the third site. Each site was flat comprised mainly of Bay hubs with a few switches connecting a range of servers and desktop devices. There were also links from one of the main sites to the County Council network and the Internet.

The customers initial concerns about the network were:-

  • The shared nature of much of the network, lack of performance.
  • The age of the equipment and difficulty of finding support,
  • The 2Mbit link between the two main sites – lack of bandwidth and no redundancy.
  • No monitoring of the network or the traffic was possible.

All the Bay equipment was replaced with HP switches, each site was routed, link aggregation was used to increase bandwidth to the smaller site, multi instance spanning tree was introduced at each site to provide additional resilience and HP network management tools were installed and configured so that the network could proactively warn the IT team of any errors. Full handover documentation and training were provided so that the Council felt comfortable with the new setup. The upgrade had to be carried out over a period of time to minimise disruption to the Councils business.

The Council, HP and the reseller were very happy with the results as the testimonial from one of the directors, Roland Norris confirms:-

“We were asked to quote to design and replace the ageing switches on a network by a large local authority. The network was spread over 3 sites, with over 700 users per site. 

We consider ourselves fortunate to have employed the services of Neil Salmon, of Network Solutions Plus, recommended to us by HP.  Working with Neil enabled us to promote HP’s ProCurve networking to our customer with confidence. 

Neil provided us with complete network designs, full component lists and implementation schedules for all 3 LANs and connections to the WANs. These designs were implemented without a single problem, much to the satisfaction of our customer.  Finally, Neil provided us with full documentation of the complete installation. 

We would be pleased to recommend Neil’s services to anyone who would like a well-designed, faultlessly planned implementation of both LANs and WANs. 

We would not hesitate to re-employ Neil’s services whenever the opportunity arises.”

Since that time other projects for the same organisation have included local routing, quality of service to support voice over IP, preparations for the network to support storage traffic; the relocation of two server rooms; the rollout of a VoIP solution across all sites and a project to supplying wireless networking into leisure centres that the council supports to allow swim coaches to use wireless tablets to collect data.