What if Wi-Fi could help to curb Covid-19?

04.05.2020

By deploying Wi-Fi through Orange’s Business LiveBox 4G Plus routers, Croix-Rouge is providing internet access to the residents of its asylum reception centres, enabling them to communicate while complying with the lockdown measures.

Croix-Rouge de Belgique has over 7,000 places in its 25 refugee reception centres in Brussels and Wallonia, with an occupancy rate of 95 %. It was already providing wireless access to its residents to enable them to communicate with their loved ones, find information, pass the time and study. “It was a minimalist Wi-Fi network,” explains Laurent Malcorps, IT responsible of the department Reception of Asylum Seekers of Croix-Rouge de Belgique. “But the coronavirus crisis forced us to impose strict social distancing rules on residents in communal areas, hence the need to deploy a better performing Wi-Fi network. At the same time, the demand for connectivity from residents increased with the pandemic.”

170 new routers

That’s why Croix-Rouge asked Orange, already a mobile telecoms partner for its employees, to propose improvements to its wireless coverage. Less than 48 hours later, Orange proposed deploying Business LiveBox 4G Plus routers in the centres, with a tailored pricing structure. “After examining the proposal internally, we placed an initial order of 30 units on 20 March that was delivered on 27 March. Then a second batch of 50 units ordered on 30 March was delivered on 6 April,” says Mr Malcorps. A third order of 90 units will be delivered in mid-May, ultimately taking the total to 170 Wi-Fi antennas in 25 centres.
 

Various advantages

Among the major advantages of the Business LiveBox 4G solution from Orange are the speed of delivery, ease of ‘plug-and-play’ deployment with no complex technical configuration (no need to call out a technician) and flexibility of installation (the antenna can be moved depending on needs and configuration changes, e.g. if new isolation zones have to be created). Likewise, Mr Malcorps welcomes the responsiveness and pricing flexibility – the antennas are leased and billing is based on use – from Orange. Security is ensured by filtering and traceability via the VPN network of Orange. “Even if in the future, this security may be further enhanced,” says Mr Malcorps.
 

Respecting social distancing rules

While the residents will of course be pleased with this high-performance Wi-Fi access, the management of the centres can also be assured that the necessary social distancing will be respected. “In view of the urgency of the Covid-19 crisis, we have found an excellent compromise to enhance the Wi-Fi coverage in our centres,” Mr Malcorps says.
 

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