Fluidmesh and On-Line Communications Give Metuchen Savings Connectivity They Can Bank On

When Metuchen Savings, a 100+ year old community-based bank in New Jersey, sought to extend its LAN/WAN between the branch and two administration buildings, it sought the help of On-Line Communications and Fluidmesh Networks to get the job done.

Replacing the existing laser antennas with a solution that addressed all mandated requirements, time lines, and budgetary considerations was a challenge. Similar to large financial institutions, Metuchen Savings must comply with many State and Federally mandated regulations, as the FDIC,SEC, Federal Reserve, and the NJ Department of Banking all require compliance with ever changing regulations including off site data storage, system "failover" and back-up power. But, unlike the larger players, this small, local bank does not have unlimited in-house technical resources to look to. They enlisted the expertise of On-Line Communications, a provider of on-site telephone installation/maintenance services, and voice/data systems, fiber solutions, paging, and video.

Ted Zabohonski of On-Line Communications teamed with Chris Wagner, who served as integrator and project lead in the planning, execution and closing of the project. On-Line Communications was tasked with replacing a line of site laser set-up. Chris brought his experience with major Fluidmesh installations to the process: "The lasers were at the limit of maintainable life, being about 15-20 years old. We installed numerous Fluidmesh 1200 VOLO radios in a line of site triangle configuration with two antennas on each of the three buildings, which is the same route as the laser. Each 1200 is connected to a Meraki POE Data switch via Cat6 twisted pair."

Why Go with Wireless?

Wireless was the way to go for this installation, Zabohonski contended, because direct cable connections are too expensive and require too many permits.

"The old laser system had been installed almost twenty years ago and was in need of replacement. Wi-Fi was offered as a consideration, but distance was an issue. Wi-Fi security exposure is too much of a liability. We immediately saw the value of considering Fluidmesh as a solution. It fit the same footprint as the laser and eliminated the security concerns associated with Wi-Fi. In addition to providing loads of throughput, the Fluidmesh solution allows redundancy, which is another marked improvement over the old laser configuration."

Prior to the project, On-Line Communications' experience with wireless was mostly limited to Wi-Fi. A common problem associated with Wi-Fi installations, Zabohonski has found, is lightning protection, or rather, the lack of it.

"Most Wi-Fi hardware distributors do not provide or recommend lightning protection," he noted. "The easy technical solution is to connect directly into the LAN and take the risk. Lightning protection is required for any device wired from the outside to the inside of a building. The Fluidmesh design provides matching lightning protection. Anyone who knows the frustration and expense of finding an OEM protector that doesn't impede throughput in a POE environment will appreciate Fluidmesh's attention to this very important detail. Previously, we had encountered difficulty with outside Wi-Fi installs due to mismatched lightning protection."

Collaboration is Key

In addition to Fluidmesh and the installation, implementation and data infrastructure services provided by On-Line Communications for this project, Business Solutions Enterprises of Cherry Hill, New Jersey provided Internet services coordination and consultation; Verizon FIOS provided Internet service; off -site data storage is being managed by SunGard, a software and technology services company based in Wayne, Pennsylvania; and, D&H, a provider of secure and reliable technology solutions to domestic and global financial institutions, provided on-site LAN solutions with support from source one.

This collaboration, Zabohonski pointed out, is key.

"The client must rely on the vendors that they chose to successfully complete the bank's mission. A breakdown in communications can result in additional time and expense or an interruption of service. Each vendor plays an essential role in accomplishing some part of the mission. All of the services depend on the Fluidmesh radios as their delivery system. This puts Fluidmesh at a point of convergence of several vendors’ services."

The project was completed in February, 2015, ahead of schedule.

How is the system meeting the needs of Metuchen Bank?

"In one word, confidence," Zabohonski reported. "The connectivity, throughput and routing of the Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN) provided by the Fluidmesh radios has given everyone involved confidence and resulted in a very good outcome.”

A Solution the Bank Can Bank On

Metuchen Savings Bank used laser technology to connect the three buildings in its campus-like setting for nine years.

"During the reconfiguring of our network and upgrading our devices, D&H suggested that the bank replace the laser system to a mesh device," explained Ed McGovern, CEO, Metuchen Bank.

The Laser systems did not provide for an automatic failover, even though there were three in place. The issue was that the branch wasn't able to connect to its co-located servers that provide connectivity to its core processor Fiserv, or to documents on its server. The Fluidmesh system, together with the bank's new fiber connections, facilitated the connection to the server.

"Another reason we selected Fluidmesh was because of its security," McGovern added. "The security of our customer’s data is the bank's first priority, and Fluidmesh is designed to provide that security. With the help of On-Line Communications, D&H, and Business Solutions Enterprises, the project was completed and the bank's goal was met."

Zabohonski credits Georgi Malchev, who heads up the Fluidmesh Tech Support team, with successfully navigating each technical challenge with total professionalism.

"Over the years, I've worked with many system engineers and I would place Georgi among the best at what he does. Many engineers know their product inside out, but often fall short on people skills. In a world of rapidly changing technologies, pre-sales engineering and installation…implementation support ensures success. The best business relationships prosper when a good product is backed up by skilled people committed to customer satisfaction. Fluidmesh delivers."

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