More than 360 fire stations have been connected to a new wide area network (WAN) – to improve the resilience and performance of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

The digital transformation will enable officers to have better access to cloud-based services and overcome the connectivity barriers of often remote and rugged locations.

MLL Telecom – the managed network services provider – carried out the connectivity work, replacing the previous Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network system.

The company said the new software defined (SD) wide area network is a ‘key milestone’ in the ongoing fully managed services contract that MLL won against stiff competition in 2021.

The stations connected include those in highland and island areas, and the solution will ensure reduced network latency for an enhanced user experience, especially at remote sites.

Additionally, the future-proofed solution will support SFRS’s planned migration to public and private cloud-based services, including a revised security architecture.  

SFRS chose MLL Telecom on the basis of its knowledge of SD-WAN technology, its in-house network engineering operations and field engineering capabilities.

The often remote and rugged locations of many of the SFRS locations had adversely impacted the performance of the previous WAN solution, sometimes preventing routine tasks being undertaken by SFRS personnel, as well as more critical ones such as accessing cloud-based training applications.

“MLL has provided SFRS with a reliable, cost-effective, flexible, and future-proof WAN solution, supporting our ongoing digital transformation and vision,” said Sandra Fox, head of ICT, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

“Their SD-WAN and engineering services ensure we can continue to depend on resilient high-quality voice and data services while also paving the way for a smooth transition to a cloud-based architecture over the coming years.”

Matthew Twigg, MLL operations director, said: “Despite the challenges presented by the often harsh and remote environments involved, MLL has successfully delivered a world-class WAN solution to SFRS. This is a testimony to not only MLL’s technical know-how and agile leading-edge technology, but our knowledge of the Scottish landscape and the calibre of our in-house project management, network operations and field engineering teams.”

Shaun Ledgerwood, CEO, MLL, said: “I am proud of our team’s achievements and how they engaged across the partnership on this flagship project for MLL. From the inspiration of our solution designers, the thoroughness and attention to detail from our project office and the resilience, skill and perseverance of our engineering teams, all have excelled in delivering a successful outcome for SFRS and the citizens of Scotland.

“We continue to improve and broaden the service through the introduction of new and trial technologies, such as Satellite. We look forward to a long and productive partnership ensuring SFRS gets the best possible return from their investment.”