The Barbican Centre
Overview: The Barbican Centre: A connectivity solution suitable for corporate guests.
Sector: Leisure and Hospitality.
Solution: 2Mbps to 100Mbps upgrade.
The Barbican Centre (The Barbican) is one of the world’s leading arts centres, founded and run by the City of London Corporation. It encompasses dance, film, music, theatre, visual arts and creative learning who work together in creating the model of tomorrow’s international arts and learning centre.
The architecturally renowned Centre, now Grade II listed, opened in 1982 and comprises the 1,949 seat Barbican Hall, the 1,166-seat Barbican Theatre, the Pit theatre, a 286 seat cinema, the Barbican Art Gallery, a second gallery The Curve, foyers and public spaces, a library, Lakeside Terrace, roof-top tropical conservatory, conference facilities and three restaurants.
The Barbican was looking to maintain its position as a world-class venue in a very competitive marketplace. In order to broaden its appeal to corporate clients, The Barbican implemented a £14.1m refurbishment of its conference facilities.
In line with these improvements, The Barbican decided to upgrade its existing 2Mbps copper-based Internet connection, which was being used to capacity. This was having an adverse effect on the speed of web-based services. Applications such as ticketing systems, internal e-mail and WiFi services slowed down as they competed for bandwidth. The Barbican’s existing 2Mbps connection also meant there was limited bandwidth capacity to support the growing demand for Internet access at corporate events, conferences and seminars held at The Barbican.
The Barbican decided to upgrade from its copper-based Internet service to a 100Mbps fibre-based Internet connection. A robust failover option would also be installed to provide additional resiliency for Internet services. The additional bandwidth would allow The Barbican to address the immediate issue of slow speeds suffered by Internet users, provide Internet access to corporate clients in keeping with The Barbican’s world-class reputation and improve the resiliency of Internet services.
In addition, the project team faced the challenge of adopting a new set of IP addresses. A knock-on effect of this would be the need to re-configure firewalls and make network address translation (NAT) changes. The project team would have to undertake an overnight migration to minimise disruption to visitor services during business hours.
After comparing a number of solution providers rigorously, Exponential-e was chosen to deploy a 100Mbps fibre Internet connection. The deciding factors were Exponential-e’s professional and responsive approach in designing a solution, its expertise in fibre-based network solutions and experience in the Leisure and Hospitality sector.
Exponential-e provided The Barbican with a significant increase in bandwidth. The additional bandwidth immediately addressed usability issues experienced by Internet users. The extra capacity also provided The Barbican with the scalability needed to create a dedicated WiFi zone for visitors.
The Internet connection provided by Exponential-e enabled The Barbican to deliver multiple services over one connection by splitting VLANs. This meant The Barbican could set and change the bandwidth dedicated to specific services with a few simple keystrokes. This additional flexibility meant that key services such as WiFi or booking services no longer compete for bandwidth. The simplicity in making changes to this service also means that The Barbican is able to provide corporate clients with their own dedicated Internet access to support their events.
Today, The Barbican has state-of-the-art fibre Internet connectivity - matching the world-class concert and meetings facilities. The additional bandwidth has improved the day-to-day performance of Internet based services such as WiFi and ticketing applications. The capability to split multiple services across one connection has given The Barbican the flexibility to not only guarantee the bandwidth provided by business-critical applications, but also to offer dedicated Internet services to clients interested in using The Barbican facilities. The failover connection provides venue with additional resiliency and minimises the risk of network outages.
- Upgraded from a 2Mbps copper-based Internet services to a 100Mbps fibre-based Internet line.
- Extra resilience mitigating the risk of network downtime.
- Increased scalability and flexibility.
- Ability to offer dedicated bandwidth to third parties.