How a Las Vegas Water Reclamation Facility Updated Their Entire Network Infrastructure

The City of North Las Vegas Water Reclamation Facility is a state-of-the-art facility that uses submerged membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology to produce clear, reclaimable water for its +250,000 residents. As the third largest wastewater MBR plant in the United States, it manages an average of 17 million gallons of water flow each day. To keep up with this demand, the facility runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year through an extensive computerized operational system staffed by highly trained personnel.

The Challenge

The City of North Las Vegas Water Reclamation Facility was constructed in 2011 and supports one of the fastest growing communities in Nevada. Only eight years later, it was clear the facility needed to upgrade its existing network infrastructure in order to keep up with the area’s water treatment needs.


The initial network was built on 75 Hirschmann switches that had run nonstop since the plant’s inception. While the legacy switches were still operational, the facility required additional bandwidth, redundancy and connectivity to meet its evolving needs.


To complete a network upgrade, the water reclamation facility needed a solution that could be implemented without any system or network downtime.


“During our initial conversations with vendors, most recommended a complete rip-and-replace approach. Not only would that have been extremely expensive – and required us to replace all 75 operable switches – we couldn’t have avoided network downtime during the install. This just wasn’t an option for us,” said Wayne Rogers, WRF Electronic Supervisor at the City of North Las Vegas Water Reclamation Facility.

The Solution

Industrial Networking Solutions (INS), the local industrial Ethernet distributor that had partnered with the facility on its initial network buildout, brought Belden to the table. INS knew Belden’s expertise in critical infrastructure and knowledge of Hirschmann products would help the facility identify the best way forward.


Belden and INS engineers visited the water reclamation facility to evaluate the network and ultimately recommended a more cost-effective retrofit approach to upgrading the infrastructure. This involved:


  • Replacing only six of the 75 legacy switches. With advanced redundancy protocols, the new Hirschmann RSP30 Managed Switches provide consistent, reliable performance to maximize network uptime. Its four Gigabit Ethernet ports also enable fast and uninterrupted data communication between network devices.
  • Adding two compact, next-generation switches. With the Hirschmann BOBCAT Managed Switches, the facility is able to meet rising bandwidth needs, optimize performance, and prepare for future network growth by enabling more connected devices on the network.
  • Upgrading the existing devices’ software. By installing the latest Classic Switch Software, the team easily upgraded the old switches to make them compatible with the new standardized Media Redundancy Protocol (MRP) and prevent the need to replace them.

“The unique requirements involved in keeping the facility fully operational during a complete network upgrade and topology change was a challenging task. The ability to leverage both forwards and backwards compatibility within the Hirschmann portfolio was key in facilitating their operational requirements and serves as a great model for network design among all industries,” said Scott Kornblue, Field Application Engineer, Belden.

The Results

With only eight new switches and a software upgrade, the City of North Las Vegas Water Reclamation Facility was not only able to modernize its entire network infrastructure, but future proofed the network to support its continued growth.


With advanced redundancy through MRP connections, in the rare event there is downtime, the network can be back up and running in less than 200 milliseconds—but often even as fast as 2-5 milliseconds. The facility has also increased bandwidth speed by 10 times.


And with Hirschmann Industrial HiVision Network Management Software in place, engineers now have complete visibility into the network, making it easy to identify and troubleshoot issues before they cause downtime. The software also offers extensive configuration and monitoring capabilities, including network wide topology maps and simple device configuration.


“The new hardware enables the City to have more flexibility and faster recovery times in the event of a catastrophic incident. And by avoiding a rip-and-replace approach, we were able to help them prevent hours of planned downtime during replacement,” said Matt McKinney, Regional Sales, Industrial Networking Solutions.


Belden Customer Innovation Center (CIC)

In today’s fast-moving and changing times, data and insights are more essential than ever for making smart, timely and effective business decisions. With the convergence of operational (OT) and informational technologies (IT), organizations are better positioned than ever to build the backbone required for operational success and security.


As experts, we know getting there isn’t easy. Increasing customer expectations, talent shortages, global supply chains, market fluctuations, and an ever-evolving selection of technologies add layers of complexity to moving forward.


This is where the Belden Customer Innovation Center (CIC) can help. As connectivity and networking experts, we’re dedicated to helping customers accelerate the design and implementation of robust, reliable and secure networks to deliver the data and insights that drive better business performance.


Learn more at the Belden Customer Innovation Center.