Juniper Networks and NEC charge up Wi-Fi user experience for Powerco | Computer Weekly


In what represents a joint nationwide network refresh by New Zealand’s second largest gas and electricity distributor, Juniper and NEC are joining forces to design and deploy a Wi-Fi network across Powerco’s sites and provide what they claim will be no less than “stellar” network assurance, insights and visibility.

Powerco delivers electricity and gas to more than 1.1 million customers across the North Island of New Zealand, serving urban and rural homes, businesses and major industrial and commercial sites. Users are linked up to the Powerco grid via 28,441km of electricity lines and cables and over 6,100km of gas pipes. Given the mission-critical and essential services it provides, Powerco needed to ensure not only strong connectivity, but also the health, safety and security of its employees when operating across its extensive utility grid.

Having experienced several issues with its legacy Wi-Fi network, Powerco began looking into replacing its incumbent wireless supplier, which would allow it to embark on a Wi-Fi 6 upgrade as part of a larger technology refresh. After a series of solution trials, Juniper Networks, alongside its strategic global partner NEC – both of which Powerco has long-term partnerships with – successfully demonstrated how their artificial intelligence (AI)-driven wireless networks could optimise Powerco’s Wi-Fi experience across its nationwide operations.

Juniper has been Powerco’s networking backbone provider, and NEC’s partnership with Powerco includes the provision of skilled consultancy and design for multi-domain networks catered to its needs.

Said to be “delighted” with the level of insights, visibility and network assurance offered by the two technology firms, as well as the ease of management operations and troubleshooting, Powerco decided on the complete replacement of its incumbent system with Juniper’s Wireless Access Points and Mist Wi-Fi Assurance. Alongside the consultancy and implementation services provided by NEC, the platform now provides automated and real-time insights into user experiences for Powerco across its network.

Going forward, Powerco is exploring further upgrades across its wider networking infrastructure alongside Juniper and NEC. This would allow it to potentially deliver even more AI-driven insights into the overall performance and health of its network, while streamlining efficiencies and minimising operational burdens placed on its IT staff.

“Powerco’s mission-critical services are essential to its customers across New Zealand, and Juniper is delighted to be able to continue our long-standing partnership with them by delivering experience-first networking to its entire Wi-Fi network nationwide alongside NEC, a key global alliance partner with a well-established history in New Zealand,” said Ken Lord, country manager for New Zealand, at Juniper Networks.

“Our technology has been built to fundamentally leverage the operational and user benefits of the cloud and AI, and we look forward to providing Powerco with superior user experiences based on network assurance, insights and visibility into the future.”

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