Redcentric wireless network lands at MOD on time and under budget

20 March 2015

The latest MOD’s Defence Academy project has gone live, on time and under budget, with a new wireless network from Redcentric delivered in partnership with Serco.

The project provides a new high-speed wireless LAN at the Academy in Wiltshire, which trains personnel from the British Armed Forces, MOD Civil Service and other national and international government departments, with the aim of improving technology-based learning across its 250-acre site of around 170 buildings.

Within a tight 12 week timeframe and 7% under budget, Redcentric installed in excess of 500 wireless access points and 25 kilometres of optical fibre on the Academy site. The project was managed within the constraints of operating within a working educational establishment and its busy timetable.

State-of-the-art Wi-Fi performance was essential for the roll-out of the Academy’s Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) strategy and the improvement of the overall online experience for both staff and students.

In order to provide the coverage required, Wi-Fi needed to be installed in over 50 of the buildings across the site. Their diverse nature - from a Grade 2 listed country house, to 1930s brick properties, to modern steel frame structures – needed to be factored into Redcentric’s approach, both in terms of installing equipment and obtaining the best possible coverage.

One building of metal construction, the Defence Capability Centre, also houses very large metal objects including tanks and artillery. To ensure the signal was not blocked Redcentric mounted Wi-Fi access points at height in key locations.

Redcentric also overcame the challenge of deploying Wi-Fi across the Academy’s testing and research areas which are densely packed with wooden tunnels that would have absorbed the signal without careful access point siting.

Working on an MOD site meant that Redcentric, working closely with Serco and the Defence Academy CIO, had to meet strict security and accreditation requirements to ensure all installations were to the correct standard to obtain sign-off and certification.

Iain Hay, ICT Service Manager for Serco, comments, “The collaboration between the Defence Academy CIO’s office, my team and Redcentric was extremely efficient.  To bring in a complex project with minimal disruption to business output, on-time and under budget speaks volumes for the dedication and professionalism of all involved.”

Andy Mills, sales director at Redcentric, comments, “This was no ordinary enterprise wireless installation, with unique challenges to manage such as the size, scope and special nature of the physical environment, the timings and considerations of having to work around a live body of staff and students and the precise requirements of the MOD. The Defence Academy now has a start-of-the-art infrastructure that will underpin innovative learning strategies now and well into the future.”