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Centura Bank Expands Network and Saves Money With Wireless LAN

Centura Bank is the seventh largest bank in North Carolina, with over $4.2 billion in assets. Like most banks, Centura relies on its networking systems to provide customers with the fastest and most efficient service possible.

Application: Wireless LAN Chosen to Expand Networks
A 1993 evaluation of Centura Bank's technology recommended an overhaul of its delivery system. In addition to expanding options for automated banking, Centura planned to increase the decision-making authority of branch employees over loans, service-pricing and interest rates. Doing so, however, required networked information resources at each branch office with access to mainframes at headquarters. Estimates for re-cabling alone stood at an initial $750,000, with an estimated $200,000 a year for reorganization. Centura Bank chose to install wireless LANs and improved financial applications at 150 branch offices, resulting in better customer service and reduced operating costs.

Benefits: Wireless LAN as the Cost-Effective Solution
Because of the relatively low cost of installing and maintaining a wireless LAN, the after-tax return on investment for Centura was 30 percent better than it would have been with a wired model. The wireless networks provide each branch office with greater flexibility in terms of how and where network resources are allocated, while achieving a high level of performance.

Not only has a wireless system achieved a throughput that is 70 percent as fast as a wired LAN, but, under normal conditions, performance is virtually identical. The cost associated with the initial cabling of all 150 branches was greatly reduced, whereas the $200,000 per year estimate for workstation reorganization was completely eliminated.

"Wireless LANs have eliminated the cost of wiring," Paul Davis of Centura Bank said. "It naturally decreases the costs for your moves, adds and changes. It's nothing when someone wants to relocate (a workstation) within a facility. You just move them into another area and plug it in and keep going."

Installation Size
Century Bank installed 1,500 workstations in over 150 branch offices.

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