Smart sensors and next-gen equipment has improved on-campus connectivity to boost how the media group stays competitive.

As part of active digital transformational efforts, a national newspaper group in Singapore is modernizing its wireless networks to support its 4,000 employees that are now alternating between remote-working and in-office work arrangements.

Singapore Press Holdings’ (SPH) expansive campus spans over 150,000 square meters across its Print and News Centres.

The network modernization will “create operational efficiencies and bolster security across thousands of users and devices from a single management pane, providing full visibility into the network.”

Given the need for robust network management, the firm wanted a better-connected and futureproof workplace that provides connectivity, speed and security at scale for its employees. Said its Chief Technology Officer Glen Francis: “We are moving into the new digital future, not only through the way we deliver news, but through constant innovation to build the workplace of the future. The pandemic accelerated the agenda to strengthen our technological foundations, so we can improve work quality and streamline processes with an enhanced network infrastructure. Mobility and agility will be key driving forces in the evolving ‘anywhere’ office.” 

Shaping the future of work

Moving towards a true Wi-Fi-only office not only allowed for cost savings in the thousands by minimizing wired connections: remote employees, on-premise staff and roving journalists could now enjoy high-quality connections wherever they have to work at. Beyond improving staff experience, sensors deployed at home offices also allowed SPH to monitor actual subscriber experience while they accessed SPH digital content from home.

With thousands of digital endpoints connected to the firm’s network on a day-to-day round-the-clock basis, a single management tool was adopted to provide full visibility over the multitude of endpoints, and extended role-based access control with granular policies. This has enabled administrators to deliver protection that is consistent and dynamically enforced, regardless of user role, device type or location. It also builds a secure and intelligent edge with roles that follow users and devices across wired, wireless and remote connections.

Maintaining the configuration within a single tool reduces the risk of making a configuration mistake compared to before, when various authentication servers were used for different types of endpoints.

Faced with roadblocks such as legacy networking systems and an over-reliance on wired infrastructure that hindered the media group’s vision, the SPH Technology team wanted granular visibility into the ageing wired and wireless networks. With the use of advanced sensors, user experience was closely monitored in real time, and this effectively pinpointed the main sources of connectivity issues, such as the fact that the 2.4GHz channels were being over utilized. This enabled the team to quickly address the issue by steering away from 2.4GHz, improving user experiences.

Once core pain points were identified and resolved, network coverage and performance were further strengthened at all corners of premises and beyond using the integrated solutions from Aruba Networks.

Ready for better news services

Since the upgrades, on-premise roaming has seen big improvements from previous coverage which was spotty at best; and Wi-Fi bandwidth provisions have doubled from 64 to 128 Mbps. The Wi-Fi 6-certified access points can now reliably connect up to four times more devices and manage them better while maintaining power efficiency. This flexible posture will ensure adequate network support as the organization continues to grow.

Looking forward, the firm hope to fully harness the power of data generated at the Edge. “The current forward-thinking infrastructure is a perfect fit in powering our vision,” concluded Francis. “It builds a solid foundation for SPH to continue delivering better products for customers, simplifying technology for business users, and developing new capabilities. We have never been more confident and well-prepared to move into the new digital future.” 

According to Aruba’s Senior Director (South East Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong), Justin Chiah: “This year, IT teams will begin the next step of their transformational journey, which is creating the necessary infrastructure for the intelligent edge. Beyond simply connecting remote workers to the Cloud, how users and the Internet of Things are connected will be a key area of focus to improve business outcomes, while enriching employee experiences.”