Patented SD-WAN technology plays a pioneering role in site networking

Krämer Pferdesport relies on router solutions from Peplink for site networking.

Brick-and-mortar retail is increasingly networking with online retail. Specialist retailers often have a large network of branches and also operate online stores. To be successful here, the local networks of the various locations must be interconnected. A high-performance IT infrastructure and stable site networking are therefore essential. Krämer Pferdesport, an equestrian sports retailer with branches in Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland, also relies on Peplink's router solutions.

Krämer Pferdesport develops, distributes and sells over 25,000 equestrian articles. With over 900 employees, the company now supplies over 800,000 customers in Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and, through its subsidiary Felix Bühler, also in Switzerland. Around one million orders are processed annually via the online store www.kraemer.de. In addition to the mail order business, there are mega stores in many locations in the DACH region and in France, each with a sales area of around 1,300 square meters.
In order for Krämer Pferdesport to offer its customers the best possible service, the employees at the various locations must be able to communicate via the company network without interruption. Stable site networking is essential for the continuity of work processes, for example to process inquiries and orders promptly, complete payment transactions via the online store or send out the newsletter. Optimized communication and optimal accessibility are important components for customer satisfaction today and therefore also for the success of the company. Even brief failures in the IT landscape can have serious consequences and significantly impair work processes. To prevent this, Krämer Pferdesport set out to find a reliable router solution for site networking and connecting its distributed locations that would guarantee a stable Internet connection.

High demands on the router solution

Krämer Pferdesport researched various providers of router solutions such as Barracuda, Fortigate and Viprinet on the Internet. "The requirements for site networking were very high, so many of these manufacturers' products were not even an option," says Phil Stricker, Managing Director of Krämer Pferdesport. "The heterogeneous IT infrastructure, which is used across several countries, requires a highly flexible solution that guarantees reliability through shorter and transparent failover times at all times." Finally, the company became aware of the manufacturer Peplink and its partners in the DACH region, Vitel and ASCEND. Mr. Stricker and his team contacted the distributor and the IT system house to find out more about the router solutions. Ascend GmbH and its distributor Vitel GmbH provided the company with advice and support and helped with the selection of products in order to find the optimum solution for Krämer Pferdesport's individual requirements. The Peplink products impressed with their integrated multi-WAN functions to ensure the required connection quality. The decision was finally made in favor of the products in the Balance series.

Bandwidth bundling for maximum reliability

Based on the patented SpeedFusion technology, the external locations could be connected to Krämer Pferdesport's central company network. During implementation, errors initially occurred with the OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) router protocol. However, the initial problems were quickly solved by the experts so that the data packets can be transported efficiently through the connected networks.

Peplink's router solutions use SD-WAN to support various connection types such as MPLS, LTE, DSL and fiber optics. Their speed and bandwidth are bundled into a single WAN connection. This bundling enables stable VPN networking and maximum bandwidth. If there is a fault in the network connection, the system recognizes it and redirects the data traffic at packet level to an alternative connection. Data packets are sent separately via available WAN-to-WAN connections after the bandwidth-bound SpeedFusion tunnel has been set up. Each packet is individually encrypted and therefore inaccessible to a man-in-the-middle attack.
Connection errors are detected immediately and switched to a pre-prioritized connection. A core function of the technology is also hot failover with the option of switching from one WAN connection to another without the risk of a session being interrupted. This ensures fail-safe communication with the merchandise management system even when switching connections, for example.

The central on-premises management platform InControl supports those responsible at Krämer Pferdesport as a virtual appliance (ICVA) during rollout and in the daily administration and monitoring of the entire site network. Long-term planning with Peplink routers Future requirements were also taken into account when selecting and implementing the solution. For example, the setup directly provides 100 locations as a basis. In the first six months, four existing locations were initially networked with each other; in the long term, the company plans to gradually equip all 52 locations with Peplink devices.

"The solution is exceptionally reliable in a multi-WAN environment. It does not replace firewalls, but implements the core functions cleanly," says Phil Stricker. "The support team has always helped us with technical problems and responded quickly. We will continue to contact the experts if we have any questions in the future and work with Ascend GmbH to push ahead with further expansion."

Conclusion

A stable connection to the company network is required so that all Krämer Pferdesport employees can do their work in the best possible way - whether on the road, at the headquarters in Hockenheim or in the branch offices. With the new router solutions and the patented SpeedFusion technology, the company has a powerful basis for site networking. SD-WAN technology bundles different connection types into a single WAN connection. It detects any connection errors and seamlessly redirects traffic at packet level via the other available connections. The hot failover function ensures that sessions are continued if the connections change. The routers ensure location-independent and, above all, uninterrupted communication and reliable data exchange at Krämer Pferdesport.

Author: Lena Schneider, freelance journalist

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