Aruba Networks, Inc., a global provider of next-generation network access solutions for the mobile enterprises, has announced that Gulftainer, a port management company, has installed a new wireless network at its new headquarters in Sharjah, UAE using Access Points (APs), a mobility controller and the latest in Access Management Systems from Aruba Networks.
Towards the end of 2014, Gulftainer moved its headquarters to the Sarah Al Emarat office tower in Sharjah. While a move of this magnitude is usually an IT Manager’s worst nightmare, for Vinay Sharma, Group IT Manager at Gulftainer, the move was a blessing in disguise as it gave him and his team the opportunity to make significant upgrades to their wireless network infrastructure.
The network infrastructure at the old headquarters was a piecemeal solution that had been gradually extended over the years to accommodate an increase in staff requirements due to significant growth. This fragmented solution required regular manual configuring of access points and troubleshooting on the part of the IT team.
The management of secure guest access to the wireless network was another concern for Sharma and his team. Each day over fifty guests will visit the Gulftainer headquarters, these are a mix of one-time and returning visitors. In each instance, an IT resource was needed to grant wireless access to the user. The new system has now automated this function thereby freeing up valuable IT manpower.
As an IT veteran Sharma carried out significant research on a number of the leading wireless network providers, assessing their technology offerings against Gulftainer’s business needs. The adaptability and flexibility of the Aruba ClearPass Access Management System – a single foundational platform with the ability to manage network policies, deploy AAA services, configure and secure personal devices, connect guest users and assess device health made it an easy choice for the Company.
Prior to its installation the Gulftainer team conducted over two months of extensive Proof of Concept (POC) testing, in a controlled environment, on the ClearPass system. The results of the testing met their expectations and over a two-month period Gulftainer, in partnership with Alpha Data Company, completed the implementation of the Aruba Enterprise Wireless LAN solution and Aruba ClearPass Access Management solution at their new headquarters.
Two months into the implementation Sharma couldn’t be happier with the results. “We adopt a ‘best in class’ approach and leverage the most appropriate solution for each aspect of our IT infrastructure. Aruba’s solution has been seamlessly integrated into our multi-vendor environment,” said Sharma.
With the help of an Aruba 7030 Cloud Services Controller and 45+ Access Points (a combination of Aruba 115 Series and 225 Series Access Points), the Gulftainer IT team can now centrally support over 160 daily wireless users with an average throughput between 144mbps and 270mbps. Users can now also connect to the network anywhere in the office via a single SSID. This has significantly reduced the number of ‘non value-added’ calls to IT and more importantly improved the user experience.
Using ClearPass, Gulftainer was able to implement the self-service portal for Guest Wi-Fi management. Guest access can now be granted by authorized employees without the intervention of the IT team. The Gulftainer team can now easily set policies that define how various end-points can access the network. Furthermore, the advanced end-point posture assessments and health checks ensure that all mobile devices are fully compliant prior to connection. Finally, the Gulftainer IT team now has better visibility and more control over all network users, thereby enhancing network security
“Thanks to the Aruba solution, we have seen a 15% reduction in our IT Service Desk ticket volume and are also closer to our goal of achieving ISO 27000 certification,” said Sharma.
With a centralized, secure, low maintenance, high-bandwidth wireless network in place at the Gulftainer headquarters, Sharma is eager to duplicate this success across Gulftainer’s three UAE operational sites. The challenges associated with such an implementation are many (size of the site, outdoor location, RF interference, etc.), however, Mr. Sharma is confident that with Aruba as a partner, it is only a matter of time before Gulftainer has a seamless wireless network across all its UAE facilities.
“At Aruba, we do not consider ourselves a product company but rather a solution provider – we see our customers as partners, truly understand their network challenges and then work with them to find a solution that will add real value to the business. This project with Gulftainer not only gave us the opportunity to partner with one of the leading port management companies in the region but more importantly gave us the opportunity to help them realize their target of becoming an all wireless workspace,” concluded Zeeshan Hadi, Territory Manager at Aruba Networks.