Mark’s Work Warehouse goes wireless

The corporate headquarters of retail clothing chain Mark’s Work Wearhouse Ltd. has turned its Internet service over to a wireless broadband vendor.

Calgary-based Mark’s decided to switch from Internet service provider (ISP) Telus Corp. to TeraGo back in December 2003 when its Telus contract ran out. At that time, the company also decided to switch from the digital subscriber line (DSL) connection Telus was providing. Monte McIntyre, IT director at Mark’s Work Wearhouse, said switching from Telus to TeraGo saved 30 to 40 per cent of its Internet network costs. However because TeraGo has so many options, it took time for Mark’s Work Wearhouse to find the right plan to maximize service while saving money.

Mark’s deployed TeraGo’s E10 Service Suite, which took only two weeks to implement, significantly less time than a similar offering such as DSL or T-1 from a wired provider like Bell or Telus would take, McIntyre said. The company can get up to symmetrical speeds of 3Mbps on TeraGo, he added, plus the network is burstable, meaning it can increase capacity for short periods of time. TeraGo’s burst options range from 1Mbps to 10Mbps while its regular broadband services for E10 include — on the uplink and downlink — 1Mpbs, 1.5Mbps, 3Mbps and 5Mbps.

Mark’s Work Wearhouse also uses lines from both Telus and Bell to connect most of its stores across the country to the corporate headquarters and data centre; there are two separate pipes from each provider running into the primary data centre at the company’s headquarters.

“We think it’s a good strategy to have more connectivity in the data centre that is independent of the physical carriers,” McIntyre explained.

Mark’s Work Wearhouse is currently building a redundant data centre in another location in Calgary, where it will have connections from TeraGo, Telus and Bell, McIntyre said.

Also, a virus outbreak at one of Mark’s ISPs last year dramatically impacted the Mark’s network, McIntyre said. The small outages experienced by TeraGo have had no impact on the company’s network, he added. In fact, McIntyre said Mark’s did not even know about any outages until after the fact, when it was notified by the company.

Mark’s Work Wearhouse also runs its online store on TeraGo’s network. Right now, the retail chain has signed up for only one year of TeraGo’s service but McIntyre said he sees no reason why the company wouldn’t continue with TeraGo in 2005.

Mark’s Work Wearhouse currently has 329 outlets from coast to coast and north to south, including the Northwest Territories. TeraGo operates in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario.

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