A campus WLAN, RFIDs, biometrics, smart cards, and a wedding
A campus WLAN was deployed in three days to facilitate entrepreneur
Subrato Roy's sons' wedding in the 320 acre Sahara Shahar. Wedding invitations
had RFIDs to track movement of guests within the campus. by Akhtar Pasha
The Sahara India Parivar's chief Subrata Roy's sons were married between February
10-14, 2004 at a 320 acre campus called Sahara Shahar near Lucknow. Invitations
tagged with Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID)-enabled smart cards were sent
to around 20,000 invitees, many of whom were from the political, sports, and
entertainment world. Other than the guests, there were around 70,000 workers
and employees of the Sahara Shahar at the site.
Since the guest list included a number of VIPs, the event needed to have elaborate
physical security measures. "Making arrangements for security for the high-profile
guests was a major challenge for us," said Naveen Singh, Senior Manager,
Sahara Net Corp Ltd.
A campus-wide WLAN network was set up within three days to
facilitate security operations at the event. And the RFIDs attached to the invitation
cards helped keep track of guests, because certain categories of guests were
allowed selective movement within the campus.
"We deployed a WLAN because we had to provide a high-speed backbone network
to enable security operations. And it was the only communications solution that
could be deployed within a short span of three days. We also did not want to
spoil the aesthetics of the estate because the marriage decorations were already
up by then. So there was no scope to dig roads and lay cables," said Singh.
The WLAN was also used to share guest details and manage 35 helpdesks, which
were scattered all over the campus. The solution allowed a group of 50 volunteers
with notebook PCs to provide live updates to Subrata Roy from time to time.
He could watch streaming videos of the guests at various locations and the rituals
taking place at the nuptial site.
All the invitation cards had RFID enabled smart cards that had to be carried
by the guest for additional security reasons. The campus was divided into specific
locations and each category of guests had to enter the estate from separate
gates, and flash the smart card to gain entry.
Singh recalls, "Other than D-Link, none of the vendors agreed to execute
the WLAN project in such a short notice. We were also comfortable with D-Link
because we had partnered with it for other projects in the past."
Designing the WLAN
Yogesh Sharma, General Manager, D-Link India said, "We performed a site
survey and feasibility study towards the end of January 2004. We took two days
to design the WLAN and calculated the bill of materials. Special emphasis was
given to achieve a clear Line Of Sight (LOS)."
"Three personnel worked around-the-clock February 7, connect the remote
sites like the auditorium, VIP guest house, lodging, Apna Bazar (shopping mall),
P.D guest house, ground, helipad, white house, residence, gym, invitation cell,
event office, bus stand, fun world, VIP area, VVIP
food court, and picture hall," he added. The access network and Intranet
was connected to the headquarters.
All the volunteers used smart cards, which had stored the individuals' thump
impressions. All entry turnstiles had a biometric reader and a smart card reader.
The card reader would read the thumb impression and the biometric reader would
match the impression, and then allow entry.
It was essential to provide very high levels of security at the campus due to
the profile of the guests. So the use of the WLAN and RFIDs helped very much
to keep track and monitor the movement of invitees and staff in real-time, and
allow the helpdesks and personnel to share information easily.
"Setting up wireless infrastructure in such as short notice is something
that every Sahariate is proud of," said Singh.
Post-marriage, the wireless infrastructure is being used for a number of applications.
The Chairman's residence is connected to his office. The Sahara Bhavan, Sahara
headquarters, and Sahara Shahar can conduct video-conferences on the WLAN.
The biometrics-based smart card solution is now used by the employees of Sahara
Shahar to record attendance.
Sahara Net used:
26 DWL-1000 AP (access points)
23 ANT 24-0801 PICO Cell Antennas
Four DWL 1750 Wireless Bridge/Routers
Four 3226S layer-2 managed switches
Eight DES-1008D 8-port switches
Three DCS-2000 IP cameras was also used as on experimental basis.
A Mbps link was used from Bharthi Telecom, along with Sahara Net's own
Sahara Shahar is spread over 320 acres near Lucknow. It is a part of Sahara
India Parivar, which is a Rs 50,000 crore conglomerate.
In order to provide security to important guests at a large wedding,
it was necessary to cerate a WLAN infrastructure to cover the entire campus.
A WLAN solution was set up in three days along with RFID tags and
smart cards for all invitees and personnel.
The solution helped coordinate security arrangements for 20,000 guests
and 70,000 workers. And after the event, the infrastructure is being to
connect the various company locations and conduct video-conferences.