Epping Forest District Council

Epping Forest District Council installs PSN CoCo compliant Guest Access solution

At the forefront of using technology for the good of their residents, Epping Forest District Council has introduced “Guest Access” allowing Wi-Fi access for visitors within their Civic Offices.

Situated to the North-East of Greater London within Essex, Epping Forest is a forward thinking district council with 125,000 people and a good portion of the ancient woodland of Epping Forest. To improve its secure wireless network it turned to AIT for advice.

Epping Forest District Council’s new secure wireless network provides better coverage and improved speed. The “controller-less” solution provides improved network resilience by removing the single point of failure and allows for a much more efficient wireless network as radio and data decisions are made at the network’s edge rather than in a data centre in another site. The solution is ideal for local government organisations who need PSN CoCo compliance and also would like to offer controlled guest access for visitors.

The challenge

The council wanted to provide public access to their network but as a PSN (Public Services Network) member they had to follow the government PSN CoCo (Code of Connection) standards to ensure that public Wi-Fi connection remains separate from the council’s own LAN traffic.

“We wanted a guest access solution that was simple for the public to use and kept the administration overhead to a minimum while meeting PSN CoCo standards required for local government networks” said Angelo Stephen, ICT Operations at Epping Forest District Council.

The solution

AIT carried out a Wi-Fi survey over the three floors of Epping Forest’s Civic Offices, covering the council offices, the chambers and public areas of the building. From the survey AIT recommended 34 x Aerohive AP121 access points to cover the building.

Aerohive is a “controller-less” solution. Each access point works is part of a distributed control plane in a “hive”.  It is here that key Enterprise wireless tasks such as authentication and radio resource management are handled. The guest access network is kept completely separate from the council network ensuring that secure traffic is always isolated from guests on the public internet.

The result

The solution is PSN CoCo compliant, enabling the council to offer guest access to visitors while providing a secure network for council employees.

The new system enables visitors to be given unique access information for the Council’s guest network. Visitor details are taken using the web based “ID Manager” platform which can either be self-service or, as in this case, controlled via a receptionist.  The guest access network enables access to the external world wide web while keeping it separate from the secure council LAN and the UK-wide government PSN network.