“We had a sprawling, undocumented network that was kind of unruly and hard to manage. There were multicast problems, especially related to Protocol-Independent Multicast (PIM), with many different versions running on different codes and different boxes.” Ben Fischer, Network Engineer at Indiana Department of Transportation
Disabled motorists on Indiana highways can be sure that emergency personnel are on their way even before anyone dials 911 because of the statewide network of over 350 cameras. The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) closely monitors roads around the clock for any sign of trouble, so they can dispatch the necessary personnel and services. Cameras assist INDOT in providing an online map of real-time traffic images, and enable the state to deliver video feeds to news station partners. With those cameras dispatching video across the network, the flow of network traffic at INDOT directly impacts the flow of roadway traffic.
In the past, the network was not robust, reliable, or responsive, leading to quite a few roadblocks. The roadblocks often resulted in intermittent video or outages and troubleshooting could take hours, or even months as was the case of an outage that affected two-thirds of the network. The network engineer spent an average of 20-30 percent of his work week on PIM and multicast issues.
INDOT started evaluating new network solutions because they needed to reduce the multicast complexity and add redundant links. According to Network Engineer Ben Fischer, shortest path bridging (SPB) was a main factor for consideration. “The overall simplicity of deploying the SPB network made it possible for us to consider a flash cut and to do it at a reasonable price.” Extreme Networks’ ExtremeFabric Connect solution made it to the top of the list. Fischer adds, “Shortest Path Bridging, along with Fabric-related devices, and the simplicity that SPB provided over PIM would reduce our ongoing costs of operations and provide the best value to the State of Indiana.”
INDOT relies heavily on the network, so when it came time to deploy the new Extreme solution just about every possible scenario had already been run through. “We spent a lot of time talking through everything – potential issues and what was most critical to have up and running within about a half hour of the transition,” Fischer says. “We walked through it multiple times from different angles.” INDOT set the goal of transitioning all 28 locations at once. When transition day came, there was stress, but also immediate improvements to the network. Within a few minutes after the cutover, assets were back online and the capacity expanded dramatically.
The ExtremeFabric Connect solution has given INDOT a more stable easy-to-manage network that will support its current infrastructure and growth. If something ever goes out, the redundant routes of the ExtremeFabric Connect direct traffic automatically via the shortest path. That means the team never has to drop everything during the day – or worse, at night – to troubleshoot.
“It could have easily been an 8-plus hour day just to troubleshoot why one link failed, and it would have involved numerous technicians stopping their normal jobs to get it back up. Whereas now, if we have a link like that fail, we won’t have to drop everything,” says Fischer.
Since ExtremeFabric Connect’s shortest path bridging technology adds devices to the network easily, INDOT’s IT team saves time and cuts costs. ExtremeFabric Connect is the industry’s most powerful virtualization technology making the network much simpler to design, operate, and troubleshoot as a single integrated asset. This makes the INDOT network more agile, eliminates complexity, and improves uptime. As a result, the IT team has more time to work on proactive activities, rather than troubleshooting.
“At INDOT, we strive to be on the forefront of technology to reduce the need for adding expensive new lanes. With ExtremeFabric Connect, we are more efficient; our engineers spend less time troubleshooting so they are able to focus on other business needs.” – Ben Fisher, network engineer, INDOT
To learn more about Indiana Department of Transportation’s network solution, please check out these resources: