Aruba Wi-Fi + ClearPass + Switches, a seamless and secure network for every client.
Located in the heart of Paris, in the Quartier Latin, Le Bloc is a collaborative co-working space dedicated to start-ups, freelancers and entrepreneurs. Created by the Eyrolles publishing house and opened in May 2017, the space, with an area of approximately 500 m², is structured in three levels: a relaxation level and two levels reserved for work, offering 112 open-space cubicles, 4 private offices for 6 people, 2 meeting rooms for 8 people and soundproofed telephone booths.
User-friendly and secure, more flexible and less costly than a traditional business centre, Le Bloc is perfectly suited to the start-up spirit and new ways of working in the digital economy. It offers attractive rates and a range of packaged solutions tailored to a wide range of requirements.
A private, secure and seamless network access for each Le Bloc customer
The project to create the co-working space started in 2016. Its initiator, the Eyrolles group, wished to innovate from the outset by offering each client their own secure and rapid network access, anywhere throughout the premises, without having to be restricted to the single work area. "In a co-working environment, several companies or independent professionals coexist in the same place. The confidentiality of each person's data is therefore essential. But the concepts of flexibility and freedom of movement, to encourage group work and inter-company exchanges, are also highly important. That's why everyone needs to be able to work with the same efficiency wherever they are in the open space, closed offices or meeting rooms, and even in the relaxation area," says Paul Antoine Eyrolles, Director of Le Bloc.
Following a call for tenders for the network infrastructure, the solution proposed by Aruba, the only one capable of complying with all the specifications, was chosen.
Nine Aruba AP-315 Wi-Fi access points
The Wi-Fi network is ideally suited to my needs, with good stability and excellent performance in terms of data rate as well as response time, and access is instantaneous. Michael Joseph, developer for the website Solendro.com
The network, which is entirely HPE & Aruba based, includes both a wired Gigabit Ethernet infrastructure with a LAN socket for each of the 112 work stations, and an all-encompassing wireless coverage. Nine Aruba IAP-315 Instant access points, that is three per level, are deployed, connected to two HPE FlexNetwork 5510 HI access switches in high availability mode. Internet access is provided by two 1 Gbps fibre optic links in parallel.
All connections, on the fixed or mobile network, are managed by an Aruba ClearPass cloud-based solution. This set-up allows every user to be immediately recognized wherever they are on the premises, enjoying fully secure network access.
The IT team of the Le Bloc space has segmented the network into as many VLANs as client companies, each VLAN also corresponding to a specific SSID on the wireless network. This dynamic VLAN follows every user wherever he or she is on the premises, providing access to a private and totally secure network.
ClearPass: automatic recognition of equipment connected to the network
ClearPass is a very powerful solution that simplifies network administration and makes it very easy for users to connect to it. Antoine Eyrolles, Director of the Le Bloc Space
An innovative solution, Aruba ClearPass Access Management System software enables the IT team of Le Bloc to fully control all wired and wireless network accesses. In fact, it automatically recognizes any connected device via its MAC address and connects it to the VLAN assigned to it. In practical terms, at each detected connection, it queries the Active Directory in which all authorized devices (tablets, mobiles and laptops) have been configured, each characterized by its MAC address, and allows or disallows the connection. "In practice, users enter their login and password only once when connecting to the network for the first time. At this point, ClearPass issues a security certificate to the device, allowing it to be authenticated automatically, every time a subsequent connection is made," notes Paul Antoine Eyrolles. "ClearPass is a very powerful solution that simplifies network security and makes it very easy for users to connect to it."
Great flexibility of use
The freedom of movement provided by dynamic VLANs, together with the automatic recognition of the equipment offered by ClearPass, plus the support of the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands of the IAP-315 access points, allow users to benefit from a network that is both seamless and secure, regardless of the connected terminal, in line with the mode of operation of the start-ups. "This extreme flexibility of use represents a real advantage for us, compared to other co-working spaces in the capital," emphasises Paul Antoine Eyrolles.
The IAP-315 Wi-Fi access points offer excellent performance, both in terms of data rate and coverage, sufficient to ensure excellent quality links, even with a large number of simultaneous connections. They are equipped with four omni-directional dual-band antennas, and support data rates of up to 1733 Mbps in the 5 GHz band and 400 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band with the 802.11ac standard. "The Aruba access points bring us great peace of mind," concludes Paul Antoine Eyrolles. "With them, we are sure that the network will respond in all circumstances, while our 112 workstations will all soon be occupied."