We are delighted to have Steve Bowles, Director Cyber and Physical Security at 360 Network Solutions as guest blogger on our channel.
Gwinnett County has been one of the fastest growing counties in America for decades. Business is booming throughout the greater Atlanta area, which includes the northeast region that makes up Gwinnett County. With the benefits of growth are the challenges of traffic, and that is where the County’s Department of Transportation (DOT) comes in.
The complexities of connectivity
The Gwinnett County DOT understands the importance of traffic management to the County as it looks after roads, sidewalks, bridges, and traffic signals. The ITS network helps bring efficiency to the transportation infrastructure and we at 360ns work with the DOT to deploy technology and solutions for proactive management. Working proactively involves anticipating and correcting issues before they have a chance to happen.
When the DOT waits for a call about a traffic signal problem, it may be an hour or quite a few hours before a call is received. It’s common for drivers to assume someone else called in to report it already.
With digitizing and automation, an automatic notification goes through the network and alerts technicians, who can quickly respond. This digitization is a journey that Gwinnett County DOT has already begun. First, the DOT will standardize connectivity to all traffic signals. This integration will help improve network uptime and put the groundwork in place for an intelligent transportation system in the not-so-distant future.
Establishing consistent connectivity
Part of this long-term planning included a network upgrade with the future in mind. The County’s core office enterprise network is independent from the DOT network, and it became clear that choosing uniform network standards would be important to simplify management and harden security. Cisco enterprise networking has long been the backbone of the IT infrastructure. Working in similar network environments would help make integrating IT and Operational Technology OT networks straightforward.
Standardizing with Cisco technology established one family of Cisco switches and routers. At the same time, four network integrators were consolidated into one. The network upgrade for Gwinnett County DOT is built on Cisco Industrial Ethernet switches—such as the IE4000 and IE4010—which provide both layer 2 access connectivity as well as layer 3 aggregation. Gwinnett County IT-approved configuration templates are deployed by DOT teams using Cisco DNA Center. This enables operators to easily provision, configure, monitor, and diagnose the network remotely. Gwinnett County IT then manages layer 3, while the DOT manages layer 2 switches.
Enterprise grade security protection is vital for local government and Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) provides endpoint authentication, authorization, and accounting in network access control for network segmentation and secure operations. An approved administrator connecting to a switch would be authenticated through ISE and authorized to make changes while creating an audit trail for record-keeping purposes.
Further ahead, additional improvements will manage physical access across Gwinnett DOT layer 3 field hub cabinets using the 360ns SmartLock 8000. Developed by 360 Network Solutions for transportation agencies, the SmartLock 8000 allows physical security policies to be enforced in real time with card access control and unique secure mechanical keys. Access will be controlled via a 360ns web interface access control dashboard that is accessible through the County network.
Open roads, open doors
Managing road infrastructure has some similarities with managing IT: people only notice when something goes wrong. And for Gwinnett County, the road is smooth. The Cisco environment also opens the door to future areas such as smart signage, connected vehicle, Transit Signal Priority (TSP) for public transportation, and Emergency Vehicle Preemption (EVP) for police, fire, and emergency services.
The intended result for Gwinnett County visitors and residents is smooth flowing traffic. Will they notice? When those traffic lights are green and travel times are shorter, I know it brings me a big smile, like I won the prize. And maybe that’s the best outcome of all.
- Gwinnett County DOT Case Study
- Cisco Industrial Ethernet (IE) 4000 Series Switches
- Cisco Catalyst IR1100 Rugged Series Routers
- Cisco DNA Center
- Cisco Identity Service Engine