Westpac says the rollout of the technology – Software Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN) – is the “first of its kind by an Australian major bank”, delivered in collaboration with NBN Co and Cisco - and enables “faster Internet connection and improved technology capabilities in branches with high levels of security, and has also resulted in a significant reduction in IT costs for the bank”.
As part of the program, NBN Co - the operators of the National Broadband Network - is rolling out a fibre network to all branches, providing Westpac with flexible access to business-grade NBN broadband services through multiple retail telecommunications providers.
Cisco is supporting the physical rollout of SD-WAN by providing a scalable and secure platform, together with a “simple cloud management architecture”, which allows better visibility of the Westpac network and all aspects of its performance.
Westpac says the solution is delivering greater stability and bandwidth and allows for faster direct access to cloud services, and SD-WAN has now been deployed in 300 branches in NSW, ACT, Victoria and Queensland so far, following a successful pilot program earlier this year.
Westpac Head of Secure Network Services, Wayne Bonett, said: “The rollout of this new technology in branches is an important part of our broader strategy to modernise our underlying infrastructure and consolidate legacy technology systems.
“We have already seen improvements in branches, with 5x faster mobile banking application downloads for customers, reduced transaction times and more reliable free Wi-Fi for customers.
“It has also helped with collaboration activities for our people, with improved video conference quality and faster direct access to cloud hosted services like Microsoft Office 365.
“In addition, the technology gives Westpac the flexibility to change Retail Service Providers and adjust the number and bandwidth of nbn services to meet future needs.”
Westpac started a program of work to transform its infrastructure 18 months ago when software defined network technology was deployed in data centres.
The banking group says this paved the way for a shift towards greater cloud connectivity for all employees, increased efficiencies in network infrastructure across the bank, and enabled the SD-WAN technology rollout in branches.
The rollout is ongoing and anticipated by Westpac to be complete across the whole branch network nationwide by the end of 2020.