Imagine having six sites spread across three continents with six different wifi solutions that create headaches when employees move between them - as many do, all the time! That was everyday life for Melker Ekelund, global head of IT operations at PolyPeptide.
A fragmented wifi environment is only part of the problem
PolyPeptide is a market-leading manufacturer of peptides, an amino acid that is, simply put, the active ingredient in pharmaceuticals. The company has facilities in North America, Europe and Asia, each with its own wifi solution, which created frustration for employees moving between facilities. Connecting and accessing company resources or even getting online was often a challenge.
- In addition to the problem of connectivity comes security. With different solutions on the sites, it was difficult to ensure a satisfactory level of security across all networks, Melker says.
Wifi as a service increases security
Melker divides security into two parts. The first part is digital security in that only authorised people can access the wifi network and thus have access to the company's resources. The second part is operational security and that the wifi network must always be available for production to function.
- We manufacture pharmaceuticals and have several environments with very high requirements on what can be in a given room. There are a lot of laws and regulations to consider while not allowing operations to come to a halt.
Requirements specification for wifi as a service
To illustrate how PolyPeptide ordered wifi as a service from AddPro, he compares it to buying a car.
- We just said how fast the car needed to be, how many passengers it would hold and on what kind of roads it would be driven on. Nothing about horsepower, fuel or make of car. It was up to AddPro to figure out what we needed and design the wifi network to suit our needs.
Thomas Mähler is a sales representative at AddPro and was involved in the planning and implementation of wifi as a service at PolyPeptide.
- It was a close collaboration between AddPro and Polypeptide. Together we worked out the requirements and defined the security level and up-times in a Service Level Agreement, SLA. The Wifi network must absolutely not become a bottleneck, says Thomas.
AddPro went to each plant to do site surveys where AddPro technicians looked at and measured the physical conditions. Based on the premises of each facility, a secure and cohesive wifi network was calculated and designed.
Every place in a facility where connectivity could reasonably be expected would have coverage, whether it was inside security locks with special requirements for cleanliness and security or in the office landscape.
The goal was that if you shut down the computer in Sweden and open it in the US, it should just work, Melker says.
Implementation was a challenge
Thomas says that implementing wifi networks in such a complex environment was a big job and that preparation was key to success. With careful project planning and a schedule of activities where one point too many was better than one too few, work got underway in 2018. The technicians installed one system at a time, adapting so as not to disrupt production.
- Just because the wifi network is installed doesn't mean it's ready. AddPro works continuously and proactively while upgrading our network with more secure components and adjusting the bandwidth to our needs," says Melker.
Now that all sites are installed, AddPro monitors the WiFi resources and acts as soon as something happens. Melker now has the network PolyPeptide needs, with good connectivity and no hassle when an employee goes from one site to another.
Support when something happens
Both Melker and Thomas agree that sometimes unforeseen things happen, such as the power going out. It's important to know who is responsible for solving the problem, but it's also important to work together to find a solution as quickly as possible.
- The support behind WiFi as a service is as important as the service itself. We want a high level of service desk. Now we've got to know AddPro's support and seen how incredibly good they are. They have the attitude "We do what we do with passion". We see that passion and feel that we are in safe hands," Melker concludes.
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