City of Marion Council Mobilises its Workforce with ASI Solutions
ASI Solutions, a provider of innovative and pioneering business technology solutions to Australian private and public sector organisations, has announced the deployment of Meru-based Wi-Fi infrastructure at Marion City Council in South Australia.
To ensure the best possible service levels for ratepayers, the council is constantly looking for ways to make staff be as efficient and effective as possible. About two years ago, it was identified that wireless technology could help staff members be productive regardless of where they were working within council facilities.
“Traditionally, our staff have been tied to their desks when accessing the Council’s computer network and core applications,” says Phil Mattingly, City of Marion Council Infrastructure and Service Delivery Manager. “We wanted them to be more mobile while at the same time retaining secure access to the systems that they require. While we had Wi-Fi networks in our libraries, there was no coverage in any other Council facilities.”
The council’s IT team conducted market research to determine what options were available for the mobility project. Once this had been completed, a tender was issued.
“We knew we wanted a high-performance Wi-Fi infrastructure to support our staff and were keen to assess the offerings of a range of vendors,” says Mattingly. “After a robust assessment process, we decided on a package put forward by ASI Solutions.”
The ASI Solutions offering was based on Wi-Fi infrastructure provided by Meru Networks which incorporates access points operating on the 802.11ac wireless standard in a mesh configuration.
Mattingly says the council IT team was particularly impressed by the proposed architecture of the solution. It would present itself as a single network to users regardless of the access point to which they were connected. It would also offer the ability to scale out the network without requiring changes to the underlying infrastructure.
Working with ASI Solutions, the IT team has rolled out 35 access points within 10 Council facilities over a period of three months. A fleet of about 150 mobile devices were checked and approved for use on the new network.
“One of our key requirements was strong security,” says Mattingly. “Because the Wi-Fi network would be used to access core Council applications and databases, we had to be sure it was as secure as our existing Ethernet network. ASI Solutions worked to ensure this was achieved.”
With the Wi-Fi network now operational, business benefits have been quickly realised. Rather than being restricted to their desks, staff can now move around council facilities while maintaining high-speed access to applications, data and the internet. Handovers between access points are invisible to users which makes the experience as seamless as possible.
“Whether staff are in meetings or working from a different location, they can log onto the Wi-Fi network in the same way as they do the wired infrastructure,” says Mattingly. “A staff member can be working at their desk, disconnect from the wired network, and connect to Wi-Fi with no disruption to their workflow.”
Working with ASI Solutions, the council IT team has also created a second Wi-Fi network across its locations. With strict separation in place, this network allows staff to use BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) laptops and smartphones to access certain resources without putting the security of the primary network at risk.
“Across the networks we are achieving data speeds of up to 800 megabits per second,” says Mattingly. “We have no issue around bottlenecks as our staff enjoy the same performance as they do on the Ethernet infrastructure. We have also been impressed with the mesh architecture of the network as we find it provides very good signal strength in all coverage areas.”
The Wi-Fi network has also been extended into the public libraries where it supports both free and paid wireless network services for users. “The new services have proven to be very popular as their performance is significantly higher than our older Wi-Fi offering,” he says.
Since going live with the Wi-Fi network, the council has also worked with ASI Solutions to refresh its wired network switches. The IT team went to tender to find a replacement for its ageing Cisco switching infrastructure and ASI Solutions won with a solution based on Brocade equipment.
Mattingly says ASI Solutions will continue to be a key technology partner for the council and he expects the relationship to include further projects in the future.
“ASI understands our requirements and consistently delivers the solutions we require to ensure the council can operate as effectively as possible and deliver first-class services to our ratepayers,” he says.
The City of Marion Council covers approximately 55 square kilometres just south of Adelaide. Serving a population of 89,000 residents, the council provides a diverse range of services from planning and development to waste collection and management of community facilities.
About ASI Solutions
ASI Solutions has been a provider of innovative and pioneering business technology solutions to Australian private and public sector organisations for over 30 years. We choose innovative technology solutions which are matched to each client¹s unique business needs, taking a solutions oriented approach and working to deliver a clear return on investment.
Our global technology offerings and professional implementation model provides greater efficiency and returns for all customers. We make this happen with real insight into the external forces impacting IT environments, and we balance the needs of business to help our customers’ transition to the operating challenges of tomorrow.