GDS trials secure Whitehall WiFi solutions

Written by Rebecca Hill on 20 June 2016 in News

Common Technology Services is piloting two secure WiFi systems across government.

The WiFi solutions are being piloted across Whitehall - Photo credit: PA

The first, user.wifi, provides secure internet access for guests, visitors and staff with “always on” virtual private networks.

This option is being trialled in a number of buildings in Whitehall, including Aviation House, and will go into the beta phase soon.

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The solution provides internet access only, but requires very little effort on the part of the departments, and troubleshooting is carried out via email.

It allows seamless roaming across all buildings, meaning that the more departments on board, the more places users can roam.

Alistar Cowan of the CTS said in a blogpost that GDS is funding the solution, so departments will not be expected to stump up any funds for the system.

Staff can get an account by emailing from a government address, and those running an event can send a list of email addresses or phone numbers of participants.

Meanwhile, visitors can text a number shown on a poster, agree to terms and conditions and will then be sent a username and password.

The second solution for better secured WiFi in Whitehall is called device.wifi. Cowan said that this option is for those who want direct privileged network access – rather than using VPNs. It gives better security than user.wifi because it uses certificates to authenticate, and the certificate of the network is checked automatically.

He added, though, that it is only suitable for managed devices, not for guests’ or personal devices, and some infrastructure and configuration is needed by each IT department.

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