Brent Council picks Xirrus Wi-Fi for its 'cost-effectiveness and flexibility'

By Sooraj Shah
16 Jan 2014 View Comments
Man working with a laptop in a Wi-Fi hotspot

Brent Council has selected wireless network provider Xirrus to deliver its Wi-Fi network because it was the most "cost-effective and flexible" solution available.

Stephan Conaway, the CIO at Brent Council, explained that there were several reasons to select Xirrus, one of which was that it required fewer access points to provide good Wi-Fi coverage.

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"It was crucial for us to be able to demonstrate cost efficiencies and minimal disruption to council operations. Competitors quoted us between 240 and 300 access points, whereas with Xirrus we were able to deploy 70, which has obvious cost benefits as fewer arrays meant considerably less cabling, switch ports and energy usage," he said.

"Flexibility was another differentiator as was the future-proofing our investment. This is an important factor as we approach the standardisation of 802.11ac in 2014 since we can easily add or swap 802.11ac modules into the existing Xirrus modular array chassis," he added.

The council has about 2,600 staff, and on a typical day 1,400 of its staff and 400 visitors are active on the wireless network at the same time. At peak time, this number sometimes rises to 2,000.

Many of the council's employees use their smartphones and tablets to do their work - about a third use their iPads to work every day. They have access to council email and productivity applications and Brent Council believes that the Wi-Fi it has installed will help them to stay on top of their work.

The council also believes that the Wi-Fi network is the reason it has seen a significant increase in visitors to its central library.

"We believe that Wi-Fi is mission-critical to council operations, helping us provide high-quality services to members of the public as well as creating a productive working environment for our staff," Conaway said.

Conaway said that he was happy with how the project was handled and with the final solution.

"We were very impressed with Xirrus' approach to the whole project, from the initial consultancy to the final delivery and are looking to introduce additional Xirrus access points and arrays in the coming months," Conaway added.

The council plans to continue the deployment of additional Xirrus wireless arrays throughout the remaining administration buildings and libraries to provide a single WLAN in the next few months.

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