Archdiocese of Brisbane Cares for Community’s Most Vulnerable, Supported by Juniper AI-Driven Networking

In the modern era, doing good works requires great Wi-Fi.
The Archdiocese of Brisbane and Centacare tends to the most
vulnerable people in Queensland as well as the spiritual lives of
714,000 parishioners. Through its nonprofit agency Centacare, the
Archdiocese provides supportive homes for people with disabilities,
support services for seniors, domestic and family services, and childcare.

“Having a community support system is a crucial part of any society,” says Iain Teo, who manages ICT operations for Archdiocese of Brisbane and Centacare. “Our community services for disability services, aged care, childcare, and relationship services havegrown steadily.”

Together, the Archdiocese of Brisbane and Centacare have 5,000 employees in 400 locations serving tens of thousands of people.

Cohesive Wired and Wireless

Centacare discovered the Mist Wireless LAN Platform when it was exploring new campus switching for its care homes, school programs, and parishes.
“Mist and Juniper are like chalk and cheese compared to the network we had before,” Teo says.

Mist, a Juniper company, offers an AI-driven platform that is built on a modern, microservices cloud architecture. Mist delivers exceptional network user services by simplifying and automating network operations and troubleshooting. Centacare also deployed Juniper Networks® EX2300 Ethernet Switches for compact, high-performance access switching in it’s major sites.

“As a small team, we needed products that would assist us from easy implementations to troubleshooting issues,” Teo says. “Juniper and Mist fit into our requirements very well.”

“Mist and Juniper are like chalk and cheese compared to the network we had before.”

—Iain Teo, ICT operations manager, Archdiocese of Brisbane and Centacare

A Better User Experience

Now, adults with disabilities living in Centacare’s supportive homes have fast, reliable access to the Internet from their phones, tablets, and laptops. Residents can watch their favorite movie, play video games, or video chat with their families and friends. Group home staff provide support for daily living and personal care, and residents build life skills and stay engaged with activities like cooking, painting, and drama.

“The performance of the Mist Wi-Fi is great,” Teo says. “One of my administrators told me that he could still get Wi-Fi from 50 meters from the building. That’s amazing.”

In the past, offering visitors access to the Wi-Fi was frustrating. “With Mist, we can give staff at the group homes the ability to approve guest Wi-Fi access,” Teo says. “Before, visitors had to request guest Wi-Fi through our service desk team, which meant they needed to log a ticket. Now with Mist, staff in the homes can approve guest Wi-Fi access, and life is so much easier for everybody.”

The Mist Cloud provides full programmability via open APIs, which allowed Teo and his team to radically accelerate deployment to hundreds of locations. Mist APs were shipped to the locations in advance, then the ICT team configured them centrally from the Mist Cloud.

“We used the Mist API to automatically configure the network in 300 buildings in about an hour,” Teo says. “The longest wait was for the courier to pick up the APs and deliver them to the sites.”

“We used the Mist API to automatically configure the network in 300 buildings in about an hour. The longest wait was for the courier to pick up the APs and deliver them to the sites.”

—Iain Teo, ICT operations manager, Archdiocese of Brisbane and Centacare

Streamlined Network Opeartions

Another one of Teo’s small-but-mighty favorite Mist features is the one-time password. TVs and other IoT devices are connected using password that was changed monthly. But with the previous wireless LAN, a technician had to travel to the site to manually change the password.

“We had to send a guy onsite to implement passwords,” Teo says. “Some of our sites are 500 kilometers away.”

Mist banished that inefficiency. “With Mist, we can give out a onetime password that’s locked to the MAC address,” he says. “The password is secure because it can’t be reused. Now it’s a two-minute job, instead an hour of work.”

The ICT team has a single, cohesive approach for managing its wired and wireless networks, automating operations and simplifying troubleshooting.

“With Mist, we saved about 60 percent of the service desk’s time in identifying and resolving wireless issues,” Teo says.

“With Mist, we saved about 60 percent of the service desk’s time in identifying and resolving wireless issues.”

—Iain Teo, ICT operations manager, Archdiocese of Brisbane and Centacare

Using the Mist dashboard, the team can set, monitor and enforce service level expectations for wireless performance metrics such as throughput, capacity, roaming, and uptime. When Mist detects an anomaly, it automatically starts a packet capture for event correlation and clear visibility into the user experience. Mist also can provide predictive recommendations to avoid or fix problems rapidly.

“The packet capture capability in Mist is fantastic,” Teo says. “When we first started deploying, the DHCP server wasn’t working at one of our sites, but with Mist, the technician knew what the problem was and had it fixed before staff arrived for work in the morning. With Mist, our team can focus on fixing the problem, instead of figuring out what went wrong.”

Streamlined network management is acutely important for an organization that serves communities over a 77,000-square kilometer area. Juniper Sky Enterprise makes it simple to deploy and manage EX Series switches at offices. Zero-touch provisioning speeds deployment and eliminates the need for onsite technical expertise.

With Mist, our team can focus on fixing the problem, instead of figuring out what went wrong.”

—Iain Teo, ICT operations manager, Archdiocese of Brisbane and Centacare

“With Juniper Sky Enterprise, we can deploy switches easily, and they all have standardized configurations and credentials,” Teo says. “We deployed a new switch to a site the other day, and it took an hour.”

With cloud network management, the network is always up-to-date. “In the past, updating the firmware on our switches was a job that never got finished,” Teo says. “Sky Enterprise gives us a centralized portal to manage all of our switches. Deployments and updates happen in minutes, not days.”

Moving Ahead

With fast, reliable networking, the Archdiocese and Centacare can focus on what matters most: supporting the most vulnerable and building a stronger community for everyone to thrive.

The scope of Centacare’s work is vast. In addition to running hundreds of independent living homes, in 2019, the nonprofit provided support services to 4,500 people living with or at risk of developing mental illness. More than 22,000 Queenslanders affected by domestic and family violence received early intervention and crisis response services. More than 8,000 pensioners accessed services that helped them live well at home. Some 12,000 aged care and disability clients received home modification and support to help maintain their independence.

Teo and the team are exploring how to instrument group homes with sensors to keep residents safe and prevent wandering. The team is also deploying Mist wireless in 138 childcare centers that serve 26,000 kids.

What’s next? “The sky’s the limit at this stage,” Teo says.