Europe, Middle East
What do comic books and wireless networking have in common? Both are vital to Milwaukie Portland, OR based Dark Horse Comics. Dark Horse began in the mid-1980s as a retail comic book chain in Portland, Oregon by Mike Richardson. Noticing the content of comic books began to stale, Richardson began to seek innovation..
Today Dark Horse is one of the largest comic book publishers in the United States. It has published books based on some of the most popular movies and television shows of all time such as: Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens and Predator. In 1992, Richardson launched Dark Horse Entertainment and produced The Mask starring Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz; Barb Wire starring Pamela Anderson and TimeCop with Jean Claude van Damme amongst other feature films.
Dark Horse is a graphics intensive company with about twelve to fifteen thousand square feet of office space. Employees use a menagerie of Macintosh desktops, laptops and various network-capable printers and graphics equipment. For their phone system, Dark Horse chose experienced voice and data vendor Matrix Networks to install a Mitel 3300 Voice over IP (VoIP) telephone system.
With over 100 employees, many of which telecommute from satellite offices and remotely, Dark Horse needed a solution that would fit their demanding, graphic-heavy workload. Additionally, Dark Horse experienced a recent expansion, which added offices directly across a busy street from their headquarters.
The Challenge To find a seamless, cost effective solution to meet the company's wireless needs.
Short of a costly fiber run, there was no easy way to add additional IP phones to the new space. Dark Horse needed a wireless solution that was affordable, feature-rich, easy to configure and very secure. Because of the distance required to offer all employees access to the VoIP telephone system, a solution with external antenna connectors was essential.
The Solution Satisfying all requirements using pre-standard 802.11g equipment by Buffalo Technology
What Dark Horse needed was a highly secure wireless Ethernet bridge, they again called on Matrix to find the solution. Nigel Ballard, Matrix's Director of Wireless chose the latest wireless technology available - a pair of Buffalo's AirStationTM 54Mbps Wireless Broadband Routers (WBR-G54) in "Ethernet bridging mode" in both locations.
Buffalo's easy-to-use, affordable router was the perfect wireless solution for Dark Horse.
Flexibility and ease-of-use Buffalo's G54 router features a quick set-up guide, which makes installation and configuration a snap. It took Ballard just ten minutes to configure each. To protect Dark Horse's future wireless investment, Buffalo's G54 products are certified to be backward compatible with 802.11b. A built-in 4-port Ethernet switch allows the company to combine a wired and wireless network on the same LAN.
Security Buffalo's G54 router met hefty security requirements with its exclusive Intrusion Detector firewall with VPN support and other upgradeable features for improved security. To ensure maximum security, the G54 also includes 128/64bit WEP, password protection, MAC Address Registration, Privacy Separator and Dynamic Packet Filtering.
Range and Throughput To meet the company's throughput requirements, Buffalo's G54 router offers speeds up to five times faster than its predecessor, 802.11b. Matrix also installed external antennas for maximum range and throughput that were compatible with the two Buffalo G54 routers. The router also features bridging and repeater functionality to maximize signal strength and distance.
Affordable Running copper wire across a busy street was not only costly; it would have been a bureaucratic headache. The routers are readily available and are very aggressively priced at $129.99 (street) each. Buffalo also offers their customers a guarantee on their G54 products.
Because Buffalo's products were able to meet all of Dark Horse's needs, both offices can communicate affordably and flawlessly. Now both IP telephony and regular computer data pass seamlessly and securely across an invisible bridge and across a busy street. Ballard mused, "Wi-Fi might be the new copper for such line of sight situations."