Aurora is the second largest city in Illinois, and its municipal government employees are spread across 52 different buildings. This means that the ability to collaborate with these dispersed locations is extremely important – our goal is to ensure that city employees can provide the highest level of service to our residents.
Our problem, historically, was that the city was using a mix of networking equipment from a host of different providers, making our infrastructure difficult to manage and use. This weak network prevented us from using distance-bridging technologies such as video conferencing, and it limited employee access to computer applications such as email, payroll and purchasing
To tackle these network inefficiencies, my team and I began to look at ways to use advanced fiber optics to replace our aging copper network. But we were relatively new to fiber optic technology, and our city needed a partner that could provide expertise.
Enter Cisco. Not only did the Cisco team have the fiber optic capability and know-how we needed, but we were also able to collaborate on a cutting-edge approach to network systems. Together, we decided to leverage fiber networks using an advanced color optic system, which increases network reliability and performance.
By installing Cisco technologies that optimize fiber based on light color, our city was able to run multiple networks over the same strands. To our satisfaction, we were then able to stretch the network for more coverage while still retaining high availability.
The results? The consolidation of previous equipment and providers into our new Cisco network provided an annual savings of $485,000 for the city. The network has been upgraded and streamlined across all 52 municipal government sites, giving employees faster network speeds and more available applications. The improved network also supports other cost-saving, efficiency-driving tools, such as video conferencing. For example, our public safety technical support group has gained at least an hour each day that was previously spent travelling across town for meetings in different buildings.
Aurora’s updated fiber network gives new meaning to our long-standing nickname: “The City of Lights”. The nickname originally referred to Aurora being first city to use electric street lights to illuminate the city in about 1881. Today’s ground-breaking illuminations travel inside fiber optic cables and have significantly upgraded the quality and efficiency of government connections for Aurora. As Mayor Weisner said, “Cisco’s fiber network has helped us become the 21st century version of the City of Lights: the city of light speed.”
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