Phone Home for Free – A Customer Story

We are always interested in hearing how customers are using the features of our cloud-based solution in their unique environments. Recently, we sat down with Simon Duncalf, the Technical Services Manager for Cash Converters International, to hear the ins and outs of his Meraki story.

Note: The full case study will be featured on our website soon, but here is a sneak peek into how they are using VOIP and the automatic failover mechanisms built into Meraki products to support their business operation.

Based in Perth, Australia, Cash Converters is a pawnbroking franchise company and retailer, with over 700 stores in 21 countries that specialize in the sale of second-hand goods. All of their stores operate on an online point of sale system, making Internet connectivity critical. “We are 100% dependent on the Internet at all times,” Duncalf stressed.

To ensure a secure, reliable, and scalable network, each Australian Cash Converters store is equipped with a full Meraki stack, consisting of a Cisco Meraki MX security appliance, MS switch, and MR wireless access point. The stores use a fully-redundant MPLS network, with traffic spanned across multiple VLANs.

For the giant pawnbroker, one of the most attractive features of the Meraki offering is the automatic failover mechanism built into each MX security appliance. The MX can automatically failover to VPN in case the MPLS connection is ever lost. This way, traffic continues to pass between sites over the encrypted VPN tunnel, avoiding downtime without sacrificing data security. Employees are able to complete sales transactions, determine the appropriate buying price of incoming goods, update settings for purchased mobile devices, and other necessary business functions at all times.

The Cisco Meraki MX also supports cellular connectivity through 3G and 4G USB modems, maximizing network uptime by relying on this cellular connection in case the primary ISP links go down. With this appliance installed at every location, there is now no single point of failure in the Cash Converters network, “effectively making our uptime 100%,” Duncalf reported.

Confident in the strength of their network, all of the desktop phones at Cash Converters locations are now hooked into the Meraki switches. “To make every store unique, we gave each store its own number, which relates to its IP address,” Duncalf explained. The unique addresses are used by Cash Converters to set up IP forwarding to certain switch ports, enable VoIP for each location, and then configure 1:1 NAT with their security appliance and phone system. Cisco phones connect directly to the PoE switches, traverse into the corporate network over the MPLS cloud, and are then routed to the call manager at corporate headquarters.

All phone calls are now free between distant sites as a result of this network design. “We worked with Meraki Support to figure out some of the intricacies involved in our specific setup,” Duncalf said. “Support was awesome, they really came through for us.” The self-healing properties of the Meraki design allow these phones to stay connected and functional, even in the case of network failure.

Easily configure settings for business-grade voice over IP telephony in dashboard

With a solid solution now in place, Cash Converters is able to keep their IT team lean and their focus on expanding their business, not worrying about their network. To read more about Cash Converters and their unique Meraki deployment, keep an eye out for the full case study coming soon to our website!