The wireless network deployment at Ruijie is also discussed here to serve as an illustration for similar large-scale and high-density office settings.
1. Client Background
Ruijie Networks Co., Ltd is the pioneering provider of end-to-end network solutions in China. One of the worldwide branches is based in the Haidian District northwest of Beijing city. The 4000m2 office spreads across three floors with more than 400 staff members.

Ruijie Office Tower

2. Challenges
Ruijie Networks has retained a great emphasis on informationization construction since its founding. Ruijie has built an extensive library of IT systems for daily business operations ranging from Email to Office Automation (OA); from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP). All the systems have greatly enhanced the operational excellence and maximized cost savings.



Ruijie Wireless Infrastructure Timeline

Since 2009, Ruijie has observed an emergent trend of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in the workplace. More and more employees bring their personally owned mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablet PCs to the office. BYOD has already become a very common practice in the Ruijie office, according to its analysis in 2011. To solve the challenges with BYOD, Ruijie Networks has put continuous efforts on improving the wireless network in the workplace and has achieved satisfactory results in 2013.

Ruijie Networks has started building wireless infrastructure in the workplace since 2010. The enterprise employed installation of multiple thin access points in the open-plan and closed-plan office areas, and also the meeting room section. However, the wireless solution required further improvements in terms of signal coverage and security management. WiFi performance degradation occurred due to the presence of interior obstacles such as structural columns and brick walls. And there were even some dead zones with no wireless signal available. In order to deal with the security issues, the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) was implemented. Despite of the setup of three individual sets of SSID and password - Management, Staff and Guest – for the respective group of people, unauthorized access using Management SSID and password was commonly found among employees.

Structural columns (left) and brick walls (right) are main challenges for wireless deployment

Ruijie deployed user-specific wireless management in 2011. It effectively enhanced network security as every user had a set of personal username and password. On the other hand, the whole login process required a considerate amount of time to complete. Users had to search the respective SSID, wait for the login page to load, and enter their login credentials. It highly undermined the operational efficiency and staff productivity. The user-specific authentication also brought heavy workload for IT administrators. Since the wireless accounts could not be centrally monitored using the existing WindowsAD management system, extra resources were allocated for the wireless accounts and the Virtual Private Network (VPN). Former employees getting access to the wireless network with their old login credentials was another security loophole to be fixed.

Ruijie has set up an Experience Center aiming to provide the best user experience for the clients. Growing amount of daily visitors has come with a higher demand in wireless network. It has no doubts increased the workload of IT administrators in terms of wireless account management.

To solve the challenges with BYOD, Ruijie has aimed to achieve the following:
1. Zero dead zone: Ensure full coverage even at the most hard-to-reach areas. Guarantee sufficient bandwidth for smooth business operation.
2. Unified management: Centrally manage wireless and VPN accounts using the existing WindowsAD system. IT administrators can easily manage all accounts (including guest accounts) using one unified system.
3. Role-based access rights granting: Management staff can have full network access; Department heads can set restrictions depending on their respective needs to avoid unauthorized access by employees; Guests can be granted access to the Internet.
4. Easy wireless access: Simplify authentication procedure for the best user experience.
5. Easy wireless management: The office spreads across three floors - 6th, 11th, 12th floor. It is crucial to allow IT administrators to have ease in management and maintenance within the respective floor.
3. Solution
The above problems are commonly found across businesses with wireless deployment. By in-depth client research and technical analysis, Ruijie has designed and deployed a series of advanced wireless solutions in 2012.
A) Wireless Coverage
 The topology display at Ruijie Beijing branch is shown below:

Wireless solutions in different areas:

1. Open-plan office area: Installation of AP with the Ruijie’s innovative X-Sense Smart Antenna. The AP dynamically selects up to 16 million different antenna combinations and intelligently ‘searches’ for end users. WiFi signal can hence ‘bypass’ flexibly the any obstacles such as structural columns to reach the mobile terminals. The AP can also adjust power supply based on the distance from the end user, saving energy and minimizing interference.
2. Closed-plan office and meeting room areas: Deployment of Ruijie’s patent iShare Wireless Technology to solve the signal degradation problem. Each AP connects six antennas which can be installed right inside the room by cable connection. Wireless coverage is highly enhanced. Ruijie iShare deployment is easy and cost-efficient, involving only a 5-mm drilled hole for installation.

Figure 7: Ruijie's Patent X-Sense Smart Antenna

B) Wireless Access
Ruijie Networks has further improved the solutions to achieve unified user management and seamless authentication.

1. Unified User Management System: A single portal capable of identifying different users. All wired, wireless and VPN users are centrally managed using the RG-SMP platform. RG-SMP further maps with the existing WindowsAD and realizes true unification. WindowsAD is the master controller of all user account management. All changes are simultaneously updated to the web account. Every user is only required to have one set of username and password.
2. Self-service Guest Management: QR Code Authentication is deployed to cater for the increasing WiFi demand from visiting guests. Guests can scan a QR code posted in the public area and are automatically granted login ID and password for WiFi access. IT administrators can easily adjust the validation period of the QR code and password. This measure effectively lessens the burden on guest network management.
3. Advanced Guest Management: Ruijie Networks has further upgraded the QR code authentication measure. Authorized staff who has logged in the company network can grant guest access rights. This binds the guest’s network activity logs to the staff’s account together, offering an easy record for management. Guest first connects to the wireless network and a QR code page will be shown (left image in Figure 6). The guest can ask any authorized staff to scan the QR code and access rights are granted right away (right).
4. User Authorization: User-specific restrictions are available. Management staff has free network access. Guests can only access to the Internet.



C) Wireless Management
To cope with the difficulties in managing all the APs across three floors, Ruijie has designed its very own network management system - Smart Network Commander (SNC) - and relevant wireless devices. IT administrators can monitor all the AP status on the network using one single portal. Automatic alerts are available when failure occurs. Over 80% breakdowns can be solved using the remote system.
Figure 9: Ruijie SNC Topology Display




Ruijie SNC Alarm Statics Display

4. Performance
Through the wireless network transformation in 2012, Ruijie Networks has now achieved full wireless coverage in the office with zero dead zone. Transmission speed satisfactorily fulfills the 802.11n standard of 300Mbps which totally supports smooth business operation. Ruijie has observed an increasing trend of employees switching to wireless network and currently more than 80 employees are constant WiFi users at the Beijing branch office. Wireless access has greatly simplified using the Seamless Authentication. Wireless demand has been increasing steadily and more employees are going BYOD.

BYOD Situation in Ruijie Office

The following is the BYOD situation at Ruijie after the solution deployment:

Ruijie has succeeded in building an end-to-end wireless solution to embody the growing trend of BYOD. The solution provides full wireless coverage, seamless authentication, and easy management and maintenance which all have greatly enhanced the staff productivity. The solution has saved 50000 minutes of working time for the Beijing branch employees. The workload for IT administrators has also been greatly lessened. Users have found the wireless interface easy to use and highly secure. All these are features of a mature wireless network. Ruijie Networks CIO Shen Jian’s comments below truly visualize the values of BYOD solution.