AI-driven network fuels massive Australian freight rail project
Australia’s Inland Rail will allow double-stacked trains to move freight between Melbourne and Brisbane in less than 24 hours. The huge infrastructure project will ease congestion with growing freight demands and connect producers to markets, boosting the nation’s economy.
Supporting the design and construction of the 1,700-kilometer rail alignment is an AI-driven enterprise network from Juniper.
Rail line construction supported by a flexible workplace
Securely connect hot-desk reservation system
Economic boost to the Australian GDP
Simplify Wi-Fi for temporary locations and remote offices
Secure Wi-Fi connectivity for flexible workplace
A new head office for the Inland Rail project in Brisbane was to be a flexible workplace, with the ability to reserve a desk at a moment’s notice.
“We sought a modern, best-practice-based wireless deployment to support the agile ways of working that Inland Rail was moving toward,” says Brad Henshaw, network architect at Australian Rail Track Corporation, which is delivering Inland Rail in partnership with the private sector.
One requirement was a Wi-Fi network that could securely connect the desk displays and other IoT devices that were part of the desk booking system, visitor registration system, and digital signage.
“We need to isolate untrusted network devices so that all of the desk reservation, signage, and conferencing/room control devices are in secure zones,” says Henshaw. “With Juniper wireless, that was easy to do.”
High praise: “Juniper Mist does what it says on the tin.”
Inland Rail was an early adopter of Juniper wireless networking, driven by Mist AI.
“When our network engineers tested Juniper wireless operations in our lab, the wireless performed as the documentation and sales guy said it would,” says Henshaw. “Juniper wireless does what it says on the tin.”
Juniper Series High-Performance Wireless Access Points, which deliver high-performing Wi-Fi 6, work in conjunction with Juniper Mist Cloud and Mist AI to optimize the network user experience while simplifying IT operations. The IT team can use Marvis Virtual Network Assistant, with a conversational interface and prescriptive actions, to streamline operations.
“Deployment of Juniper wireless was exceptionally easy,” Henshaw says. “The Mist portal provided all of the features we needed, and integrated easily with our wired network and authentication infrastructure.”
Enabling a flexible workplace from office to field
The first 100-kilometer section of the 1,700-kilometer alignment was completed in 2020. At the head office in Brisbane, teams engage in everything from mapping the geography and engineering the rail line to project management, marketing, and legal. As staff and partners collaborate, they can be confident they’ll have an exceptional network experience.
Inland Rail’s ICT group also can be confident that the wireless is secure. “Juniper wireless provides useful security controls to restrict untrusted devices and help mitigate our IoT security risk,” says Henshaw.
With the multiple pre-shared key functionality in Juniper wireless, IoT devices can access the Wi-Fi without a common key. “We’re securing IoT with novel security methods and it worked the first time,” he says.
Henshaw is creating office-in-a-box kits with Juniper High-Performance Access Points and Juniper Mist Edge for temporary locations and remote offices.
“We can utilize Mist Edge to deploy Juniper Access Points to our remote sites and securely connect IoT devices by tunneling back to our data centers in Brisbane, where additional security controls are in place,” says Henshaw. “Mist Edge allows us to take our security model and extend it over our existing WAN.”
Published December 2021