In preparation for London Olympics 2012 that would bring
millions of additional passengers - athletes, support crews, vendors, and
spectators to London, the task of providing free, secure Wi-Fi services to the
London Underground went to Virgin Media.
Virgin Media is the UK’s first combined provider of
broadband, TV, mobile and home phone services. Find
out how Virgin Media used Oracle Identity Management, Oracle Virtual
Directory, and Oracle Entitlements Server to leverage back-end legacy systems
for the London Underground Wi-Fi project; systems that were never designed to
more about the Wi-Fi project and how Virgin Media is scaling the project to
deliver true place-shifting—allowing subscribers to watch pay-per-view assets
from any device, anywhere.
You may also want to check out the on-demand
webcast with experts from Virgin Media, their implementation partner,
aurionPro SENA and Oracle to get more context. And here's the link to a recent newsletter feature on Virgin Media's IDM implementation.
Questions? Send us your comments and we will get those
answered right away.
Virgin Media is the UK’s first combined provider of
broadband, TV, mobile and home phone services. In preparation for the 2012
London Olympics, Virgin Media worked with their partner, aurionPro SENA, to
enable free secure WiFi services to London Underground using Oracle Identity
Management solutions. Yes, the secure WiFi on London Tube today is enabled using
identity management! And, as an Olympic 2012 legacy, the Oracle architecture
will form a platform to be consumed by other Virgin Media services. Check out
This post and an upcoming webcast will examine how
Identity Management specifically Oracle Virtual Directory (OVD) and Oracle
Entitlements Server (OES) have enabled Virgin Media to offer services leveraging
back end legacy systems that were never designed to be externalized.
Challenges abound for this massive undertaking. The
initial scope of the project targeted 72 London Underground stations within Zone
1. With 2 or more platforms per station and potentially hundreds of people in
the station, the service had to be able to support 115,000 sessions every 2 minutes. And of
course, customer experience was key. That meant high availability even at peak
times while offering a seamless experience to the users.
The current systems, databases and directories that
hold their customer data resides in a plethora of legacy architectures, none of
which were designed to be externalized. Working with aurionPro SENA, Virgin Media was able
to provide an abstract layer using Oracle Virtual Directory to build a carrier
class directory which provided views of the customer data, which integrated
with Oracle Entitlements server provides the rules based entitlements service
determining if a customer is eligible for the free customer wifi service.
Virgin Media were successful in securing the
service to provide a free WIFI service to the London Underground, which had to
be implemented before the 2012 London Olympics (Metro WIFI).According to Virgin Media, WiFi on London
Underground has been an incredible success with over 700,000 people already
online and a remarkable million sessions every day.
However, they wanted to extend the use of the service
after the games as an additional value add service to all its customers, as
well as a platform to wholesale to other providers.
As there was no existing Virgin Media service that
provided the same sort of end-to-end functionality as Metro WiFi, rather than
build the whole service from scratch Virgin Media wanted to try and reuse some
components that already exist within their environment.Because they intended to make this new
service available to existing Virgin Media Broadband and certain Virgin Media Mobile
customers these existing components are chiefly around the backend user
authentication and authorization piece; RADIUS, Central LDAP and the Virgin
Mobile user systems.
However, the links between these systems to enable
Virgin Media WiFi Service did not yet exist, so in essence the solution
consists of taking these pre-existing components and adding new links between
them to provide an integrated solution with as few newer parts as possible.
The solution is based upon three Oracle Software
components, sitting on an Oracle Hardware platform:
OES has been integrated into OVD, to provide an
authorization context to standard LDAP lookups. This is to allow Steel Belted
Radius to authenticate and authorize users in disparate user repositories to a
public WiFi service by using the standard LDAP interface, whilst leveraging
centrally managed authorization policies provided by OES.
The solution works by OVD adding a number of
virtual attributes to the LDAP requests containing the results of authorization
calls made to OES. Steel Belted Radius then takes these virtual attributes and
enforces the authorization by allowing or denying connections to the WiFi
The London Underground WiFi service will be enabled
for all of Virgin Media’s broadband and contract mobile user base (Virgin Media
and Virgin Mobile).
If you would like to know more about the solution
then look out for the forth coming webinar from Virgin Media, where Perry
Banton one of Virgin Media’s architects will discuss the solution with their
partner aurionPro SENA is greater detail.
Ben Bulpett is Alliance and Enterprise Accounts Director at
aurionPro SENA in the UK. He is responsible for the relationship between
aurionPro SENA and Oracle UK as well as managing a number of key strategic
Ben has been with aurionPro SENA for over 3 years
and was instrumental in developing the relationship with Oracle and leading
aurionPro SENA to become Oracle UK and EMEA Partner of the Year. He also
led the team that delivered the Oracle components for the Metro WIFI solution
at Virgin Media. Ben has over 25 years’ experience and knowledge of the Computer
industry. Before joining aurionPro SENA, he held various sales and
management roles including Director Security Sales at CA, UK Sales Director
with Novell and was responsible for key enterprise customers and partners with
Mindjet UK Limited. He is married with 6 children
Oracle Identity Management is a complete and integrated next-generation identity management platform that provides breakthrough scalability; enables organizations to achieve rapid compliance with regulatory mandates; secures sensitive applications and data regardless of whether they are hosted on-premise or in a cloud; and reduces operational costs. Oracle Identity Management enables secure user access to resources anytime on any device.