Foskor Limited has improved network performance and saved on bandwidth through innovative technology supplied by Opteq South Africa.

Prior to installing the Opteq iQ solution, Foskor, which is the largest, single producer of phosphoric acid based products in the southern hemisphere, was in the process of a multi-million dollar project to roll out the JD Edwards software package as its corporate ERP system while concurrently outsourcing its server  management and DRP.
Halfway through the installation, Foskor’s IT department identified that user response times had deteriorated and users were complaining about access times.
The link to the data centre was a dual 512kbps load balanced WAN link of over 500 kilometres and would have been expensive to upgrade, especially midway through the roll-out.
At the time, several companies, including Opteq SA, were tendering for a project to install a 100Mbs sniffer pro network analyser. Foskor asked the top four contenders to install a unit and produce an analysis and report of the JDE problem. Opteq’s Bandwidth iQ module managed to drop response time for a standard order entry at a peak time from over 15 minutes to under two.
It also decreased the time to produce a sales report from over 50 minutes to under five. This was achieved within an hour of the Opteq unit being installed.
Opteq iQ is a modular, fully integrated product suite, designed and built on a singular solution architecture providing advanced functionality, scalability and  performance, says Mike Zietsman, CEO of Opteq SA.
This offering provides consistency, manageability, ease of use and a fast, measurable return on investment.
According to Andre van der Westhuizen, acting group telecommunications and network manager at Foskor, the Opteq iQ unit exceeded all of the organisation’s requirements for a sniffer & network management solution.
Not only can the Opteq iQ solution analyse and report on the network, it has also allowed us to act on the findings and implement policies. This has made a significant difference to network performance.
Opteq was also instrumental in Foskor being able to delay further upgrades to its Internet link speeds, when it was identified by management that prior upgrades had not been successful, resulting in low user satisfaction ratings. The procurement department specifically had to arrive at work early in order to process Internet banking payments and enquiries.
An Opteq iQ pilot project was completed successfully and it was discovered that e-mail and P2P file transfers were seriously compromising link performance and causing session timeouts and disconnects, particularly within peak times. Opteq advised on a number of steps to overcome these issues, explains Zietsman.
Firstly, the restriction of e-mail to 25% of link speed during work hours did not seriously affect service levels and freed up the link substantially. Bursting was allowed to full link speed whenever the link was not utilised by higher priority traffic and after hours.
In addition, P2P traffic was limited during work hours and staff were trained how to schedule transfers to start after hours. This further freed up the link without compromising service. Internet Banking was allocated a high priority during work hours so procurement staff could then process their work with no delays. Two hours per week of overtime was eliminated by this and staff satisfaction as well as supplier and management service levels significantly improved.
Normal browsing was allocated a higher priority and transparent caching was implemented. User support calls about Internet connectivity dropped from an average of 15 per day in week one of the pilot, to none at all in week two.
Link savings averaged 30% during the second week of the pilot due to the caching, he says.
It was established that for current requirements and growth of between 30% and 50%, the current link speed was sufficient to meet required service levels if the traffic was properly managed.
Says Van der Westhuizen: "Thanks to the statistics we are now receiving, Foskor has been able to identify areas where additional savings could be achieved. We have also set up an obligatory company Internet policy covering personal e-mails, which sites can be browsed within working hours and after, P2P allowances, downloads and IM (Instant messenger or ICQ) usage."
Foskor also upgraded its Opteq iQ unit to include url content management in order to implement the agreements policies and replaced its firewall with an Opteq Firewall iQ solution.