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Central-site management of multiple protocols at Kerr-McGee.

The dissemination of critical data among oil refineries, chemical plants, coal mines and other facilities worldwide is easy at Kerr-McGee Corp., thanks to a centrally managed and reliable network.

Designed to handle multiple protocols, support a digital migration strategy and promote efficient bandwidth utilization, the Kerr-McGee data network links an IBM mainframe host at our headquarters in Oklahoma City, and several DEC minicomputers, with approximately 2,500 terminals and PCs throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

A fortune 200 energy and chemical company, Kerr-McGee relies on these links for efficient information exchange.

The network comprises Motorola Codex multiplexers, DSU/CSUs, and dial-up and leased-line modems, in addition to analog and digital circuits running at 9600 b/s, 19.2 kb/s and 56 kb/s. To ensure that just one person can manage the network, we decided to install a Codex 9800 Series Network Management System, which provides simplified configuration and control from a single console.

The Kerr-McGee network has accelerated the exchange of financial, materials management, and engineering information, and has given hundreds of end users an entirely new perspective on connectivity can increase productivity.

End users are always looking for new ways to take advantage of the network and have driven the network's growth over the past three years.

Reliability key to success

The installation of the Motorola Codex networking devices, and IBM and Digital Equipment Corp. computer systems at Kerr-McGee was prompted in 1986 by the limited functionality the centralized processor offered at that time. In fact, most financial and materials management information was mailed from remote sites to headquarters.

Initially, our data communications group purchased Codex modems. We were pleased with the equipment's quality and reliability and agreed several months later to test Motorola Codex multiplexers. Four were added to the network by the end of 1987, and now 47 are in place.

The network grew rapidly throughout the late 1980s as our end users realized the benefits of distributed processing.

We made computing power available and, all of a sudden, we could provide connectivity between point A and point B in a matter of minutes. Naturally, people wanted to take advantage of this.

Multiple protocols

In the network, 674X Series statistical multiplexers facilitate consolidation of IBM and DEC transmissions with multiple protocols. 3600 Series modems provide multidrop capabilities to decrease the cost of connecting IBM control units at seven U.S. sites, and two 6292 T1 fast packet switches are used at headquarters to test IBM token ring LANs.

All of our network devices are managed 24 hours a day by one person per shift with the help of the 9800, which provides complete management applications, including topology and inventory configuration, diagnostics, historical events and real-time statistics.

The 9800 is menu-driven, easy to use and seldom requires us to use the keyboard, since we can isolate problems through the mouse-driven topology map.

Whether or not someone is familiar with the system, the color-coded topology on the screen makes it easy to see what's out there and find alternate routing if there is a problem on the network.

Efficient bandwidth utilization

Kerr-McGee is expanding the amount of available bandwidth on the network by adding more 56 kb/s digital lines to improve response time by as much as 50%.

The system has allowed us to move to digital services at our own pace. The flexibility of the network products makes upgrading easy and, as changes are made, we can centrally monitor the devices with the 9800 and fine-tune performance to offer the best service possible.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Modems & Muxes
Author:Vinge, Lars
Publication:Communications News
Date:Feb 1, 1992
Words:592
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