Case Study: Energy Sector

 Wireless LAN Design and Deployment to ensure minimal disruption

This Company is one of the world's largest investor-owned electric utility service providers operating in over 30 countries. As part of an ongoing program with their IT service provider, a requirement was identified to provide a new, advanced wireless network across the organisation.

Background

The Company has multiple disparate facilities that require Wireless Network connectivity, ranging from modern purpose built office buildings, warehouse and industrial factories to training, conference and accommodation buildings. Many of the locations already had some wireless network coverage utilising different technologies of varying age and functionality. 

Their IT service provider engaged with A&O IT Group to provide an RF design, deployment plan and installation services for each of the locations across Europe for a centrally controlled 802.11ac Wave 2 Cisco wireless LAN.

The challenge

Each location presented a different challenge when designing its optimal RF network, the fabric of the building, the type of building, it uses, the number of potential users and their network requirements all needed to be addressed at the design stage of the wireless network.

A&O IT Group used the latest Airmagnet Survey Pro software and a Cisco 802.11ac Wave 2 Access point to perform an active wireless site survey of all locations within each facility that required wireless network connectivity. The data gathered from these active wireless site surveys provide insight into how the radio waves propagate around the facility. This information along with additional information on the number of users, locations and size of high-density wireless locations such as meeting rooms and conference facilities, the type of user data traffic the wireless network would be transporting allowed simulations to be performed within the Airmagnet software to find the optimal quantity and location of wireless Access points within each facility.

Additional information of the Local Area Network at each facility was recorded to identify where each new AP is to be connected, and to ensure that existing local area network is ready to support the new wireless network.

Once the RF design was complete, A&O IT Group engineers would liaise with the customer cabling contractors or A&O IT Groups cabling partners to determine the practicality of installing the AP’s in the optimum positions defined during the simulation phase. 

The final proposed locations of the AP’s would be decided, utilising existing AP locations where possible, and locating new AP’s where practical to ensure the desired operation and aesthetic appeal.  Further simulations would be performed if practical AP locations differed greatly from the optimum proposed locations to ensure complete RF coverage is still achieved.

In readiness for the deployment of the new Cisco Wireless Access Points, new cabling would be installed by the customer cabling contractor or A&O IT Groups cabling partners where required. Deployment of the AP’s was performed liaising with the Infosys offshore team, after each AP is installed the Infosys offshore team would provision the AP and bring it in to service.

If any of the new AP’s failed to provision the A&O IT Group engineer would work with the Infosys offshore team to determine the cause and then rectify, enabling all new AP’s to be brought into service.

Return on investment

A&O IT Groups global reach of engineers centrally managed from the UK facilitated continuity in the design and delivery of the new Cisco 802.11ac wireless network. A&O IT Groups project management team scheduled each stage of the survey, installation and deployment activities to ensure minimal disruption to the organisations personnel and business operations during the transition to the new wireless network.

Solution

The deployment of leading edge wireless technologies within the company helps to promote efficient working practices within the organisation, providing a seamless user experience for both personnel, their clients and partners.

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