The provision of Internet services to a community can be an enormously complex process.
End users need to be able to plug into the network or connect by wireless; their connections need to be authenticated and secured; multiple devices - desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, gaming consoles, media players and televisions need to be supported - and most of these devices have complex configurations, with varying operating systems. Some of thoses devices need to roam between networks and change their configurations accordingly. Some users have modern hardware, whilst others may be using devices many years old. When a user has a problem and something on their device doesn't work - they often don't know the cause: whether it is due to their hardware; their application; or the network.
The network itself may comprise hundreds of wireless access points, kilometers of data cabling, thousands of wall ports and other cable terminations as well as switches, routers, servers and databases.
Not only that, the effective operation and use of the network depends on good communication between Cirrus, the managers of the community and the end users.
Cirrus is an expert at designing and managing these networks. The team understands the ingredients required to make a network operate successfully. And a network will operate successfully if it has been well designed, is simple for users to connect, and provides an effective mechanism for users to gain support when something does go wrong.
It is also important that consideration is given to security. In a student environment particularly Cirrus has found that some residents try to take advantage of the system and explore the boundaries of the network. A few simple techniques and a disciplined approach to network management can minimise the risk to all.
Communities can have a broad variety of technical and commercial needs so Cirrus keeps its offerings modular - but there are several themes common to all solutions:
- A data cable network to each user, or wireless network;
- A data (download) allocation to each user - and the potential ability for users to purchase more;
- Support - during busines hours, 24/7 and on the ground;
- Tools for the site manager to see what is going on; and
- The ability for the site operator to share in revenues.