Moving to a sophisticated wireless enterprise network improves efficiency

Uckfield Town Council has replaced its under-performing legacy network with a new high-performance wireless solution from Wi-Fi experts Redway Networks. The new network, built on a robust design, provides an exceptional wireless performance to the town council for delivering services to its visitors and mobile working for its staff. Uckfield Town Council plays an important role in the community by providing facilities for residents and visitors alike. The Civic Centre has offices, seven conference rooms and open public access - including a restaurant – which can see hundreds of visitors per day. Due to the number of visitors to the town council, having a secure, reliable wireless environment is key to its efficiency and its existing Wi-Fi was not up to the job as it was slow, unreliable and couldn’t cope with the usage demand. Mark Francis, Estates and Facilities Manager at Uckfield Town Council, says: “Our existing Wi-Fi wasn’t standard and was scattered which meant we couldn’t scale the network. We had two networks, one for service which wasn’t Wi-Fi and one for Wi-Fi, so we had to use several repeaters, meaning we had constant issues with coverage, interference and downtime. We were also concerned about network security as we hold large events for up to 280 people and our restaurant can hold up to 100, so we have a considerable number of visitors accessing the network at the same time. We also use laptops in our training rooms and because the Wi-Fi kept cutting out, we were getting complaints.”

In addition to providing a better Wi-Fi experience to visitors, Uckfield also wanted to encourage a more agile workforce by enabling staff to login to services from anywhere via a secure VPN and Mark knew that the town council’s current network couldn’t support its needs. Mark says: “I was recommended to use Redway Networks so contacted them to conduct an Ekahau wireless site survey and, after analysing our network, they proposed a new wireless solution that would fit our needs.”

A new Extreme/Aerohive Wi-Fi solution was recommended due to its reliability, ease of use and the fact it can be managed remotely through the Hive Manager. Redway Networks then built a virtual model of how the new network (which included HPE Aruba switches, ten high-powered access points, a firewall and security software) to verify all the apps and devices worked efficiently before the new network was installed. Mark says: “During the install, we had a great service from Redway’s engineers. We had some complex troubleshooting to get around and they coped with it easily.” Uckfield Town Council now has a high-performance wireless solution with a VPN that provides unlimited connectivity 24/7, fast download speeds and the ability for staff to connect from anywhere, which is important to operations and efficiency. Customer service has been improved as visitors now have much faster, reliable Wi-Fi connections and the new guest acceptance portal keeps the network secure. Mark says: “Our new Wi-Fi is great as it means visitors stay for longer and our conferencing and training facilities run better as hirers get a better conference service. We’ve also seen an increase in business at the restaurant, which is great.”

Uckfield Town Council has improved business agility and Mark is pleased as he is spending considerably less time monitoring the new network. Mark says: “Being able to manage the network remotely really saves time and if I do find any issues, I can identify where they are and resolve them quickly”. He continues: “The support I’ve had from Redway has been outstanding, for example, one evening I had issues logging into the VPN and one of Redway’s engineers got straight back to me, logged in remotely and sorted the problem out, which is what I call an outstanding service.” Its new wireless solution has been a massive leap for Uckfield Town Council as it provides an agile, secure network that can keep pace with new technology requirements. Mark says: “I can now look at future projects, such as the installation of cameras across the town, connected to our network to monitor our building, which I’m already talking to Redway about”. He continues: “Redway Networks has given me the best service I’ve ever received from an IT company, its wireless expertise, product knowledge and service are first-class.”

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