About City, University of London
As a leading global university focusing on business and the professions, City University has offered its students world class facilities right in the heart of London since its foundation in 1894. Five specialist schools with more than 2,200 staff support around 20,000 students each year – almost half of which come from outside of the UK.
A unique range of expert teaching and research is delivered within outstanding academic departments by a world-leading faculty of academics and lecturers, all of whom are experts in their fields. As a measure of their continued success, the university is ranked first in London and fifth in the UK in the People and Planet University League.
Managing the complexities of a university network infrastructure with multiple sites and varying user needs poses a real challenge.
The network needs to be able to rapidly onboard predominantly BYOD users and Internet connected devices, enabling them to securely access a complex mix of applications and services while delivering a consistent, personalised and world class user experience.
City, University of London was becoming frustrated with a network that wasn’t meeting their increasingly complex needs. Their incumbent provider lacked the in-house skills or engineering resources to provide them with the level of support they required. The demands of a multifaceted Extreme portfolio deployment that included switching, the management suite and security suite via Extreme Control technology required a partner that was able to more effectively support them across the full portfolio.
In addition, the university was also using a legacy 7 year old WiFi solution that had grown organically and no longer provided the level of service it needed for its users. They needed to replace a WiFi network across multiple sites across the university with over 800 access points.
The Charterhouse Solution
As one of the largest Extreme partners in the UK with the highest number of engineering resources across the full Extreme portfolio of wired, wireless, management and NAC/Analytics, Charterhouse was the clear partner of choice for City, University of London.
Selected following a competitive tender process, the solution initially encompassed an end-to-end Fabric network with Identity Engine and Fabric Connect. This has continued to evolve with updated versions of end of life hardware as well as supporting applications ranging from the university’s Moodle virtual learning environment, to streamed lectures, to essential back office management and administrative tools. Thanks to the Extreme Control solution the on boarding of devices now offers greater flexibility and is easier to manage.
Beyond the LAN element the solution expanded to include the wireless network, moving from WiFi 4 to 6. This offers a superior user experience in terms of supporting the latest devices with higher throughput and a more reliable infrastructure. Charterhouse assisted with technical design and configuration of the wireless network, providing technical assurance with a wealth of knowledge of the product, offering best practice recommendations regarding configurations. The final solution was selected after 6 months of careful testing across pilot sites to ensure it met the specific needs of the university to deliver world class WiFi to staff, students and guests.
The wireless solution now seamlessly integrates with the wired infrastructure as well as the software suite from Extreme which includes the management centre, analytics and control. Both wired and wireless networks are now managed by a single interface which makes it easier to manage centrally via a single pane of glass.
In 2021 the solution further expanded with a security offering via Pentesec, part of the Charterhouse Group, which included a Check Point firewall refresh. Check Point now enhances the cyber security element of the network, enabling internal segregation so that individual policies can be applied between different layers of the Fabric network, ensuring that different services are segregated from each other. This takes the whole solution to the next level, elevating its functionality and security, and enabling full control over how each layer interacts with each other.
The underlying software and configuration continues to evolve to suit the changing needs of the university.
Reliability. The automated campus network has delivered a 100% reduction in human-error outages and dramatically-lessened opportunities for misconfiguration. 100% uptime across all core systems has enabled the university to efficiently and successfully meet the growing demands of mobile learning for students anywhere on campus.
Campus-specific architecture. A network that leverages simplicity and automation to enable enhanced agility means it can evolve and change as rapidly as the needs of the university demands.
Flexibility and control. Policy-centric network deployments means traffic can be easily separated and access to different resources and information can be controlled according to individual need.
User experience. Delivering the speed, accessibility and flexibility across all university locations to enhance the user experience has meant that students have expressed a greater level of satisfaction with IT services.
Seamless integration. A fully integrated wired, wireless and security solution that leverages best in breed technologies in networking via Extreme Networks and cyber security via Check Point to deliver a next generation solution to City, University of London.
Simplified management and network administration. By eliminating protocol overlays and enabling dynamic services within a single technology, the network team can implement faster network changes, deploy new applications more quickly and troubleshoot more intuitively.
Greater visibility across the network. City, University of London now has detailed insight into users, devices and applications with full context and scale.
Trusted partner relationship. Working with Charterhouse means City, University of London can truly elevate its network thanks to access to market leading vendors with cutting edge technology.