Fortnums spends £1m on network upgrade

Fortnums spends £1m on network upgrade

Fixed and wireless local area network is part of shop's two-year modernisation programme

Fortnum and Mason has spent £1m upgrading its network infrastructure to provide disaster recovery capabilities and better support for both existing systems and future plans.

The fixed and wireless secure local area network (Lan) infrastructure was installed by Alfred McAlpine as part of the store’s two-year modernisation programme.

Existing systems, including electronic point of sale, are now on a single secure, resilient network. And the upgraded structured cabling infrastructure for both front of house and back office will offer wireless access points and a secure network to protect critical information.

The network had been neglected for some time, according to Fortnums' interim head of IT Mahshid Rafizadeh.

" It was a very old-fashioned hybrid infrastructure that had been created going along and it was a nightmare in terms of usability," she said.

"There was no Lan - just a number of switches bought randomly."

The project was signed off in September and now the store is in a better position to deal with the busy Christmas period and incorporate new technology, such as plans for an IP telephony project next year.

Security and reliability has also improved.

"We now have proper failover and disaster recovery capability," said Rafizadeh.

"Previously, if something went wrong in one area, it would affect the rest of the network and impact the back-office and shop floor, but now we have ensured business continuity.

"Being in retail you can’t afford to lose any information or have downtime especially during busy periods such as Christmas," she said.