Dimension Data has completed the deployment of a federated wireless infrastructure upgrade for Deakin University.
Known as DeakinSecure, the new network is designed to improve connectivity for the increasing number of students spending course time in remote health locations such as public hospitals.
Deakin University has about 39,000 students and of these, about30 per cent spend significant amounts of time off campus through the year. The deployment delivers seamless connectivity for Deakin students working in placements at hospitals and medical clinics across south western Victoria, enabling increased efficiency and mobility to user devices including laptops, smart-phones, tablets and the popular iPad for students both on and off campus.
As part of the deal, DiData established an encrypted Ethernet over IP (EoIP) tunnel between South Western Alliance of Rural Health (SWARH) and Deakin, utilising Cisco technologies. The connection is physically located in Deakin’s Teaching, Training and Research (TTR) centre at Geelong Hospital, where both organisations are fully protected by firewalls.
According to DiData CTO, Gerard Florian, deploying a secure wireless infrastructure linking two vast and very private organisations wasn’t without its technical challenges, and there was considerable effort made to ensure security design and approach met the needs of both organisations.
“Security was paramount to the successful deployment. Protecting the hospitals’ operational systems and patient data was critical, as was the protection of Deakin’s student records – so the concept of ‘sharing’ a wireless infrastructure had to be considered very carefully,” Florian said.
Previously access was provided by specific hard-wired locations, which restricted inter-site communications. Users suffered downtime and restricted access to vital campus-based information, prohibiting mobile remote working while at any non-Deakin locations.
Deakin executive director of information technology, Peter Brusco, said the new connectivity solved a long standing problem encountered by many universities.
“Our previous hard-wired solution limited students working at off-campus sites in many ways. They did not have easy access to any of the high quality services available to students on campus, severely impacting their ability to work effectively. Video tutorials and other increasingly popular services were not available due to slow connections and restricted connectivity,” Brusco said.
“We are trying to facilitate the training of doctors across our region and the best way to do this is to ensure that we provide them with access to educational resources while they are in our hospitals, without jeopardising the security of both our organisations,” SWARH executive officer, Garry Druitt, said.
“Effectively, with this project we have extended the capabilities of both our fixed and wireless infrastructure to meet the different needs of SWARH staff and Deakin’s medical students. Our challenge now is to see how we can adapt the security profile to provide these students with access to specific SWARH resources to further their training, such as clinical applications.”