Case Study: Clarus Communications Provides Trans States Airlines With Network Flexibility, Failover

Case Study Challenge

The Company

Clarus Communications
Twitter: @clarusco

Clarus Communications, a leading national provider of telecommunications technology, specializes in providing more than 150 provider options to businesses that need dependable, scalable and innovative technology solutions. Since 2001, Clarus Communications has been helping clients make the best decisions regarding their phone service, phone systems, wireless and data needs.

The Client

St. Louis-based Trans States Airlines flies approximately 237 routes a day on behalf of United Airlines (as United Express) and American Airlines (as American Eagle), providing service to more than 70 cities in North America.  The airline, which served nearly 3 million passengers in 2015, has additional crew bases in Washington, D.C., Denver, Chicago and Raleigh-Durham.

The Challenge

Trans States’ commitment to providing safe, reliable and on-time air transportation, and to delivering the highest standards in professionalism and customer service, means their systems need to be accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Their phones need to work flawlessly and their data network must be 100 percent reliable to serve the needs of their crews, carriers, clients and the FAA. Their flight management software, maintenance records, equipment record updates, content network and scheduling system must be operational at all times. No exceptions.{ad}

Being reliant on a single communication path for those applications exposed the airline to outage risks. In an effort to mitigate this risk, Trans States deployed a backup carrier link several years ago. With two MPLS networks that are a combination of T1 and fiber, they intended to implement a Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) solution — but the configuration didn’t work as they had hoped and it didn’t meet their needs.

Network outages aren’t just a nuisance for the airline industry. In recent years, outages have cost other airlines millions of dollars. “When our links didn’t fail over, we were dead in the water,” said Paul Washburn, Trans States’ network administrator. “If our team can’t get weather reports, we have to ground aircraft.”

The Solution

Clarus Communications, working with Kb Data, a professional services subagent that helps Trans States with their systems, recommended an Ecessa WANworX solution that included software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) features.

“The day I heard about the Ecessa SD-WAN solution, I immediately thought about …


… Trans States Airlines,” said Chris Torbit, president of Clarus Communications. “WANworX would take the responsibility for making a failover solution work out of the hands of the carriers and let us make it happen. Plus we’d be teaming up with a partner who provides white-glove service.”

Tran States’ Washburn agreed. “The dual WAN technology Clarus Communications recommended was on point and on budget.”

“The team at Ecessa worked with us every step of the way,” said Torbit. “They helped validate our client’s issue, recommended a solution and helped us deploy it on our client’s schedule.” 

Trans States has deployed the Ecessa solution at five of its sites and will continue rolling it out throughout their network. “We appreciate that the Ecessa technicians have been ready to help whenever we needed them,” said Washburn. “We run a 24×7 operation, so taking down the network is tricky. The Ecessa team was on standby with us at one location for five nights until we could do the installation.”

The Results

With Ecessa’s WANworX, Trans States not only enjoys fully automatic failover, they now have additional software-defined features that help them conserve resources. The solution’s VPN tunnels create a more stable pathway for Trans States’ VMware virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) by reducing jitter, lag and drop from remote sites. “The pinpoint routing is great,” said Washburn, “and so are the analytics we get from the device.” 

Trans States is now able to do complex routing and separate traffic for specific applications that are more network intensive, such as weather pattern data. Separating traffic has freed up bandwidth for primary users and saved the company from needing to purchase additional costly leased lines. The stability of the SD-WAN solution will allow Trans States to further save money by leveraging affordable broadband as a backup solution at its other 17 locations.

“Ecessa’s SD-WAN solution not only finally delivers us confidence in our failover solution at all of our critical sites, it also allows us to better leverage our investment in multiple carriers by converting static failover circuits to active circuits,” said Jeff Holmstedt, vice president and CIO of Trans States Airlines. “This provides lower cost per Mbps transmission and the potential of additional throughput. As we move forward, it will provide the flexibility to augment other critical MPLS sites with less expensive broadband architecture, further lowering costs.”

Do you have a success story you’d like to share? The Channel Partners Case Study Challenge is accepting submissions on a rolling basis. They will be published in a special section on the Channel Partners site, and the best ones will be awarded a Case Study Challenge Winner logo for use on their own websites. The best of the best will be invited to share their stories during a live session at a Channel Partners event. Case studies should be 1,200 words or less. You can download the form, send responses directly to Lorna Garey, editor-in-chief, or use our Web submission process. Let us hear from you!

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