Aruba Wi-Fi + ClearPass + AirWave, a winning combination at all UNESCO sites worldwide.

Founded in 1945, UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It has 195 member states, and 8 associate members. Its headquarters are located in Paris, close to Les Invalides, and consist of four separate buildings over a 7.4-acre site made available by the French government. The complex was designed by three renowned architects: Marcel Breuer, Pier Luigi Nervi and Bernard Zehrfuss. The main Y-shaped building, inaugurated in 1958, has seven floors.

UNESCO employs 1,200 people in Paris, in addition to 900 people spread over 65 offices around the world.

110 Wi-Fi access points cover all areas open to the public

“In all areas covered by Wi-Fi, we have no bandwidth problems, and the throughputs are very good, even in areas where the hotspots are accessed the most.”Gyula Bognar, Network Manager, UNESCO

The first wireless network infrastructure was installed at UNESCO in 2004 to provide Internet access to visitors in public areas. The organization regularly hosts conferences and cultural events, for which it has 16 conference rooms that can accommodate from 10 to 1400 people, in addition to five exhibition areas.

From the outset, the organisation chose Aruba equipment, renowned since then for its performance and resiliency. The installed configuration has evolved several times since 2004, and currently includes 110 Aruba AP-225 access points, managed by a 7210 controller. These cover all the conference rooms and halls open to the public.

Additionally, in 2015, UNESCO acquired Aruba’s ClearPass Access Management System NAC solution to provide secure Wi-Fi access to around 100 employees equipped with laptops. For this purpose, two SSIDs were configured on the 7210 controller. The first for public access, via the captive portal integrated into the controller, the second for internal users.

Excellent performance

Integrating the 802.11ac technology, the AP-225 access points simultaneously operate the two frequency bands, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, allowing them to post excellent performance.

“We have no bandwidth problems in all areas covered by Wi-Fi, and the data rates are very good, even in areas where the network is accessed the most,” points out Gyula Bognar, Network Manager, UNESCO. “For example, in the large conference room we had to install 14 Wi-Fi access points, divided between the two frequency bands of 2.4 and 5 GHz, to provide an optimal connection to all the 1,400 people the room can accommodate.”

Perfect reliability

The Wi-Fi infrastructure is working perfectly, and no failure has been noted since 2004. The captive portal provided with the controller is sufficient to meet the requirements.

ClearPass: automatic recognition of equipment connected to the Wi-Fi network

“The ClearPass solution simplifies network administration and makes it very easy for users to connect to it. Its extension to UNESCO’s wired network access control is planned for 2017.”Gyula Bognar, Network Manager, UNESCO

Aruba’s ClearPass Access Management System, an innovative solution, unique on the market because of the range of its features, allows UNESCO’s IT department to reduce its administrative costs and ensure full control of all accesses of the organisation’s employees to the wireless network. In fact, via the 802.1x standard, it automatically recognizes any connected equipment via its MAC address and assigns it the access privileges corresponding to its status. “In practice, users enter their login and password only once when connecting to the network for the first time. At this point, the ClearPass system sends a security certificate to the device, allowing it to be identified automatically every time a connection is subsequently made,” notes Mr. Bognar. “The ClearPass solution simplifies network administration and makes it very easy for users to connect to it. Its extension to the access control of UNESCO’s wired network is planned during the year 2017.”

Deployment of Wi-Fi underway in 65 offices around the world

Completely satisfied with Aruba’s technology, UNESCO has decided to equip its 65 offices around the world with a Wi-Fi network to provide Internet access to visitors, again with Aruba equipment, in this case IAP-205 access points. The deployment of these access points is underway. In the fourth quarter of 2016, one third of the 65 offices were already equipped. “The IAP-205 APs have their own controllers, which makes them extremely simple to administer,” emphasizes Mr. Bognar. “But they will be managed later via Aruba’s AirWave solution.”