As the largest local bank in the country, the National Bank of Oman required a high bandwidth, high value-for-money network solution reliable enough to connect its vital assets including local branches, a training centre and its head office. To ensure it had a networking infrastructure it could rely on for day-to-day, unfaltering connectivity to uphold round the clock banking operations, the bank turned to Infinet Wireless and Hussam Technology Company (HTC).
The National Bank of Oman SAOG (NBO) was the first incorporated bank in the Sultanate of Oman (Oman). Established in 1973 as a joint stock company to provide conventional and Islamic banking services, today NBO operates in five main segments: retail banking, corporate banking, investment banking, treasury and international banking, and Islamic banking.
NBO has over 60 branches and 173 ATMs and Cash Deposit Machines across Oman, serving a considerable portion of the country’s five million residents.
With many customers across a variety of segments all requiring secure and dependable financial services, it is crucial for NBO to have a network that can ensure the facilitation of banking services that are convenient, accessible and trouble-free for all customers.
NBO was relying on a Free-space optical communication (FSO) network to provide its connectivity for crucial day-to-day banking transactions for its customers, as well as the for the bank’s internal operations between its branches and head office, for example.
However, due to the limitations of the FSO network, NBO required a networking upgrade to provide connectivity to a number of bank branches in Muscat, the capital of Oman, for the daily operation of various banking activities such as transfers, transactions, customer services and more.
NBO faced a number of issues with its FSO-based networking infrastructure. The challenges faced by NBO included the high cost of leasing a network from a private operator. Furthermore, there were a range of limiting factors, such as the susceptibility of laser connectivity to extreme weather changes. Additionally, beam dispersion, interference from the sun, and disruption caused by dust storms were potential considerations, as was the susceptibility of laser-based connectivity to heavy rain.
After trialling a number of competitors’ solutions to provide the network, Infinet Wireless was approached by the bank because of the price-to-quality ratio of its offering and the performance capabilities of its products and solutions. Inifinet Wireless worked with local partner Hussam Technology Company LLC (HTC) to implement the network.
To address the issues faced by NBO, Infinet Wireless deployed a Point-to-Point (P2P)[JC1] solution in Muscat over distances between 5 and 10 kilometres. Up to three branches per device were connected to the head office using Infinet’s R5000-Smn/5.300.2x63.2x23 and R5000-Mmx/3.300.2x200.2x22 InfiLINK 2x2 devices, as well as the InfiLINK XG. The InfiLINK 2x2 product family is a highly diversified family of wireless Point-to-Point products which brings together capacity up to 280 Mbps with a rich set of features and cost effectiveness for high capacity "last mile" access infrastructure.
InfiLINK XG 1000 is a range of products that accommodates escalating requirements for speed, reliability and flexibility. It can provide throughput of up to 1 Gbps over the air in 5 GHz license-free frequency bands. InfiLINK XG 1000 was specifically designed to deliver superior performance over long distances and in extremely adverse environments including nLOS and NLOS scenarios.
The last mile network used unlicensed spectrum in the 5.5 and 5.8 GHz bands. The solution worked by scanning local channels for the cleanest channels to ensure optimum connectivity was delivered. The solution was chosen for the enhanced connectivity it provided as compared to other solutions on the market, as well as its ease of installation and ease of use. Furthermore, the solution offered an attractive costing and potential Return on Investment (ROI) for the bank.
Infinet Wireless’ local partner HTC worked with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Oman to ensure that the network met all regulatory standards. All private and public wireless networks in Oman require regulatory approval to be connected.