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Major media player, Havas, brought in Exponential-e to design and build a highly sophisticated 16 site Wide Area Network.

About Havas

Havas was formed in 1968 and has become the leading group in communications consulting. It provides solutions for advertising, marketing and interactive communications. Havas has a presence in over 100 countries with 14,000 employees and a UK Network consisting of 16 sites.


Exponential-e worked closely with Havas to design a solution that would remove the complexity and duplication from the existing infrastructure and consolidate all 16 sites into a central Network, while ensuring each business unit remained secure from each other. Exponential-e engineers were able to overcome this challenge with a relatively simple Network design.

Single access points - To accommodate Havas' requirements, we deployed a multi-site Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS) WAN solution using single, converged connections from each of the Havas offices. Each Havas business unit is now supported by our resilient Next Generation Network.

VPLS communities - To consolidate Havas' disparate WANs we needed to discover which agencies needed to be able to talk to each other. Once we had this information, we were able to group agencies into different VPLS pools to create mini-WANs. The fact that we were able to maintain LAN and WAN separacy means the solution is operationally simplistic and it gives Havas maximum control.

Centrally hosted hardware and services - We co-located the firewalls across two separate data centres using VLANs into the firewall. This means Havas can now benefit from centrally hosted firewalls which it has complete control over. Havas are able to change security policies and routing itself from one central point. The company also has centrally hosted Internet connectivity removing considerable complexity, duplication and cost from its wide area Networking.

Resiliency - Our pioneering NGN design in this instance was based on providing resilient and automated failover to secondary circuits at each site, whereby the local router will switch traffic automatically into the secondary circuit in the event of a failure on the primary circuit. In addition, we provided resilient connections to the centralised firewall to achieve automatic failover on the Internet service.

Convergence and separation - We created one unified Network but managed to maintain 100% security and separation for its individual business units. Most importantly Havas is in control and unnecessary cost and duplication have been eliminated.

The IP VPN solutions which we first considered required us to use highly-complex access-control lists. With the solution designed by Exponential-e, you don't have this headache as it's all done via secure Layer 2 broadcast domains.

Tony Farrington Havas.


There were a number of issues Havas had with its old Network. Firstly, the IP VPN solutions it was using required highly complex access-control lists on each site's CPE router to keep different business unit traffic secure from each other. This was proving very inflexible, time consuming and an administrative headache.

Havas' Network had also grown to include multiple Internet services which were operated by many of the individual business units. As a result of this, the company was having to manage multiple firewalls and Internet service suppliers which was proving to be an area of concern.

The business wanted to consolidate its Network of disparate Wide Area Networks (WANs) into one unified platform, whilst maintaining security between business unit communities. At the same time it wanted to centralise its Internet provision and security services so the company could eliminate a complex array of providers, bandwidths and underlying technologies.

Solution benefits

  • Havas now benefits from centrally hosted firewalls and Internet connectivity removing considerable complexity, duplication and cost from its Wide Area Networking. Furthermore the company is able to change security policies itself from one central point. The pioneering NGN design is based on providing resilient and automated failover to secondary circuits at each site, whereby, the local router and the centralised firewalls automatically take over in the event of any failure on the primary circuit.
  • The result is a highly sophisticated sixteen site Wide Area Network. that meets Havas' key requirement for supporting its different UK businesses from a common infrastructure whilst maintaining a high level of control and security between each business unit.
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