Dunelm has switched its dual fixed line connection for a mobile 4G private network solution to create cost-efficient robust communications between head office and the store.
Prior to the switchover, Dunelm's head office to store network was used for everything, including phones, payment, and even the music streamed into the stores. While the retailer developed a dual fixed line solution, this more than doubled Dunelm's costs.
After consulting with Mobius and Adey Electronics, Dunelm chose to trial the Mobius’ Dual SIM System and Adey’s B+B Smartworx 4G Routers, to replace the need for a second fixed line. Because 4G has no common point of failure between the three data paths, it offered the retailer triple resilience at a cost effective rate.
The technology was first introduced as a network back-up, but Dunelm wanted to see if mobile could be used as the stores' primary connection. The retailer ran a pilot, with Mobius supporting Dunelm with a no overage model for six months, because data overage costs on a SIM usually prove too costly.
Dunelm, Mobius and Adey Electronics completed a series of tests and pilots across the resilient network and hardware, and the pilot proved the stores could run on 4G with the same experience as fixed line.
Ben Ashdown, head of IT services at Dunelm, said: "The cellular backup solution gives us resilience against single points of failure which is intrinsic to fixed lines. Its flexibility also gives us the option to use cellular for "pop-up" stores, or to get a new store up and running quickly without the delay of lead times or ground works."
He added: "Our successful pilot of cellular to solely run store network communications has given us the confidence to use this as an alternative to fixed lines, as required. Dual SIMs with diverse providers adds to the resilience in this scenario. These benefits, coupled with attractive commercials has proved to be a very useful solution for us."
Dunelm then decided to roll out the solution to over 150 stores in the UK and a further upgrade now ensures three systems are protecting every store – a fixed line as well as mobile services from Vodafone and Three. Stores are now more robust than before, with significant cost savings, while new stores are running more quickly than ever because the 4G solution does not just have to be used as a backup.
Dunelm estimated the savings in avoiding a sub-optimal second fixed line to every store means its mobile solution is around 1/6th of the initial anticipated cost of the all fixed line back up plan.