Renew your data communications

Lukuaika 3 min

The city of Oulu invests in the reliability of data communications

Oulun Digi, a city-owned company, provides IT services for 11,000 city employees and manages over 20,000 devices connected to the data communications network in over 400 locations. The city of Oulu has countless critical activities that highlight the need to have reliable data connections. 

“It is worth investing in the reliability of data communications, as any downtime would be highly expensive and disturb the city’s operation,” says Päivi Kärki, the head of ICT services at the city of Oulu. 

Over the years, Kärki has gained good experiences from the data communications training organised by Elisa Santa Monica. In 2014, the cooperation extended to data communications services, after Elisa Santa Monica was chosen as one of the framework agreement providers of data communications equipment and expert services. 

Versatile cooperation 

Cooperation began by spreading the communications equipment of Oulu city’s data centre into two different device facilities. 

“Fault tolerance and limiting the impact of faults are a central target when we develop device architecture and network topology.” 

Cooperation has expanded from the data centre’s communications equipment and services to load balancing, IP-address management and the planning and implementation of a wireless network. Load balancing is now based on the modern F5 technology, which replaced the old system that had come to the end of its lifecycle. Similarly, when renewing the management and monitoring systems of IP addresses and name services, the former separate solutions were replaced with the integrated IPAM solution. 

In May 2016, cooperation expanded to planning and implementing a new wireless network. After the implementation, city employees could use a private WLAN that better acknowledges the special requirements and data security of mobile work. Now, in 2020, the network contains over 3,000 base stations. 

In 2016, the cooperation expanded further to updating the data security equipment, which was implemented with decentralised firewall architecture. The system has been kept up to date in the ever-changing online world and increasing traffic. 

From early 2018, the cooperation expanded with services that improve the snapshot of data security. The service was acquired through competitive tendering of cybersecurity solutions. 

Local expertise 

The devices are connected to Elisa Santa Monica’s 24/7 network monitoring centre, in addition to using the help of a local expert. 

“Data connections cannot always be fixed remotely – helping hands must be available when needed,” says Kärki. 

Thanks to the development gained during the cooperation, the architecture of Digi’s data communications environment now serves a purpose: it can be managed better than before, and its documentation is at a new level. 

“Elisa Santa Monica’s experts understand out network better than before. They answer for 24/7 monitoring, data security, capacity management, and protection against catastrophes. On this basis, we can improve our data communications services together,” says Kärki. 

“Elisa Santa Monica is a strategic partner of Digi in data communications services.” 

Guaranteed technology and expertise 

Elisa Santa Monica delivers communications equipment to Digi, as well as their setup and management service, and participates in the further development of the network. The delivery contains switches from Cisco and Juniper as well as Juniper’s routers, for example. The firewalls are provided by PaloAlto. Load balancing of data communications, uploading applications to the internet and access management use a duplicated F5 solution. The management solution for IP addresses (IPAM) uses EfficientIP devices and software. 

The new wireless network will be based on Cisco technology. The technology is focused on a duplicated and high-availability WLAN controller that is compatible with WiFi6. Santa Monica’s experts design base stations that best suit each location. 

The management and monitoring services for data communications and security equipment are centralised in a network monitoring centre that provides services in Finnish and with the Elisa Santa Monica 24/7 principle. The partnership also entails that Digi’s data communications team is trained to use the new technological solutions as they are introduced. 

Read more about Elisa’s expert services and the NOC network management services.

Article in Finnish: Tietoliikenne uuteen kuosiin