Wireless network in Canberra’s Paliament House

Recently I have visited Australia’s Parliament House in Canberra. As parliaments of many other democratic countries, it is open for public access. Notably, there was no wireless LAN available. Not for long – implementation of
wireless network is forthcoming
.

There are many interesting bits and pieces in the information. Focus on security is understandable. I do not expect the implementation be anything extraordinary – our usual mixture of Cybertrust consultants, and DSD analysts and government bureaucrats working on rather predictable solution (my bet is on wholesale implementation of Cisco equipment and software, and certificate-based authentication).  One thing that draws attention is that the intention is to provide wireless internet access capability to building occupants and visitors to the building such as delegates and invited guests. No public access.

That would be wrong. Australia needs to set example by providing free-for-all wireless Internet access in the Parliament House. This will be a token of Labor government’s commitment to the broadband future for Australia. We have free parking at the House, why not free Internet?

Technically, providing public Internet access is not too hard, and it will only marginally increase the cost of the project. You create a separate SSID (open access), connect the clients to a separate VLAN, and route that outside of the government’s firewall. Traffic shaping optional. Guests never really hit the “internal” network above the physical layer (which, being radio spectrum, is available to anybody anyway). If I’m right and Canberra goes with Ciso solution, this detailed guide is available.

I have emailed my MP asking for Internet access for general public. We’ll see what comes out of it. Next time I’m going to Canberra I’m taking my laptop loaded with all the wireless tools to check out what the solution is.

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