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TNP supplies new Local Area Network for Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government

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The Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University has benefited from a huge uplift in the scope of its internet access and services for students and international visitors with a new AI-driven Local Area Network delivered by public sector specialists The Networking People (TNP).

TNP recommended the Juniper Mist system to replace the existing outdated network and helped the college develop plans for a complete refresh that has transformed the user experience for internet access and functionality and reduced operational costs.

The Blavatnik School of Government (BSG) at Oxford University was formed in 2010 to build a better led, served, and governed world and is committed to improving the quality of government and policymaking worldwide. It required a next-gen network capable of delivering the connectivity for international events and enabling its large AV network which had outgrown the previous infrastructure.

TNP Account Director George Knowles provided dedicated account support throughout the delivery of the new system from the initial discussions and proof of concept.  He explained: “Great Wi-Fi is increasingly a vital part of the University experience and simply being connected was no longer good enough for BSG. With an uptake in the number of user devices and increasing digitisation of services BSG needed more performance from the network.”

A recent service review of the new LAN infrastructure reported huge improvements in the simplicity and reliability of Wi-Fi that was easier to use with more stable and consistent performance.  There was enhanced ability to send video over IP, enabling new AV kit to make the most of the new network, and greater flexibility with event setup across lecture rooms, and in the development of online events.

A Blavatnik School of Government spokesperson says that the network performance for the college has been radically transformed.  He explained: “We can have anything between 200 and a thousand people attending events at the college, together with worldwide on-line audiences for simultaneous live transmission for high profile individuals such as Hilary Clinton who visited recently.  We cannot afford to have any blips in how the IT network operates because that in turn reflects on the reputation of the college itself. But the new network has been exemplary in delivering everything we need; now with TNP we are continuing to develop how we can extract maximum advantage.

“Oxford University has a huge legacy of academic excellence, and we are now at the forefront of delivering excellence in our networking visibility, capacity, and connectivity through investment in the new system.”

BSG operates a small network team which received Juniper peer-led training, and part of the original brief was leveraging technology and automation to ease the operational burden. The Juniper Mist system uses Artificial Intelligence that enables self-healing technology, reducing operational support from internal teams, and the ongoing cost of the system.   TNP had originally proposed a 5-year network support agreement, but this was reduced to 12 months taking into account the system performance and effectiveness of the AI technology.

TNP’s George Knowles added: “The resilience of the Juniper Mist system and its self-healing AI capability were key elements in delivering the new system and low operating costs. The TNP ethos has always been ‘customer first’ so it was a natural fit for the BSG project, reducing ongoing operational support and delivering a system with outstanding performance and minimum ongoing costs that is future-proof and easily upgradeable.”

TNP assisted BSG in scoping out the requirements for the new LAN infrastructure and won the contract in an open tender.  Work began on creating the new system in September 2022.  The need for a complete refresh meant that none of the previous assets remained, but TNP needed to ensure continuity of Wi-Fi service for BSG, which often meant working out of hours and during term breaks.  The new system went live in August 2023.

Juniper is a long-standing collaborator with TNP, and Mist AI is its latest enterprise-grade flagship product designed to bring true innovation to the wireless space with AI-driven Wireless LAN (WLAN). The network makes Wi-Fi predictable, reliable, and measurable with unprecedented visibility into the user experience through customisable service level expectation (SLE) metrics. Time consuming manual IT tasks are replaced with AI-driven proactive automation and self-healing, lowering Wi-Fi operational costs, and saving substantial time and money.

Juniper also brings enterprise-grade Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) and IoT together to increase the value of the wireless network.  All operations are managed via the open and programmable microservices with Juniper Mist Cloud Architecture for maximum scalability and performance.