Contact Us

Hughes Delivers SD-WAN with High Availability across 2,000+ Pharmacy Stores

Resource Type
Use Case


"Our partnership with Hughes over the years has been valuable, and our recent network refresh has significantly improved customer and associate experiences –– and will support our growing technology and business needs." - VP, IT Infrastructure

An American drugstore chain with more than 2,000 pharmacy stores nationwide has been a Hughes customer for 20 years. The partnership began when the company first deployed satellite service using Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs) installed at several stores, which quickly expanded to all locations. 


The pharmacy’s VSAT network was stable and running well. However, some of the equipment was outdated and they had outgrown its capabilities. The retailer required more bandwidth in both primary and backup paths to support new applications and systems; voice and video applications were driving the need for more speed than the VSAT network could deliver. The secondary network backup system was also due for a refresh as the satellite was scheduled to be decommissioned. 

That deadline prompted the retailer to consider an accelerated technology and infrastructure refresh across all stores and data centers. The pharmacy looked at the network review as an opportunity to significantly improve the overall customer and employee experience and gain a next generation network to meet its business needs well into the future.

Hughes Solution

The customer selected Hughes to deploy a Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) to all 2,000+ stores plus data centers—in a compressed timeframe. The SD-WAN solution features a Native Fortinet security platform and a redundant high-availability infrastructure. 

Following the customer’s standard operating procedure, Hughes deployed and tested the solution at pilot sites prior to rolling it out to all stores. 
Throughout deployment, Hughes worked closely with individual stores to minimize disruption during their transition to the new system. On average, the team installed 137 stores weekly, refreshing all existing hardware and infrastructure components, like firewalls. Cutover time from the old network to the new typically took less than 10 minutes, coordinated during off hours for least disruption to the business.

In just six months, all retail locations had a next generation network with integrated security to support data, voice, and video requirements, including inventory, point-of-sale, pharmacy and video call drive-through systems; on-site music and store paging; services like Western Union money transfers; security camera systems; and multimedia training programs. With access to greater bandwidth and speed, the stores can now provide customers a more efficient, high -quality digital shopping experience and quicker transactions.

Hughes Technology

The Hughes Managed SD-WAN solution includes fully redundant hardware and services with dual-path network connectivity for an improved customer and employee experience.

  • Hughes migrated edge equipment in each store to two on-site Fortinet routers with 4G backup. 
  • Each set of paired Fortinet devices share transport, picking the best path for traffic at that site, eliminating performance degradation and mitigating the impact of any failover.
  • With a refreshed network came multiple higher Service Level Agreements (SLA) and monitoring capabilities.

Get more information about Hughes Managed SD-WAN.