Unifiber – mobile access management helps ensure the internet access technology of the future

Created in July 2021, Unifiber is a joint venture between two giants in the world of fiber optics: Eurofiber (a major player in Europe for the development of an open and advanced fibre optic infrastructure) and telecom operator Proximus (who is already installing fiber in a number of major cities in Wallonia, Southern Belgium). With a fiber-to-the-home network of more than 61,700 kilometers, Unifiber’s mission is to provide businesses, organizations and public authorities with intelligent and open connectivity solutions.

Unifiber Site Manager, Geert Leemans, was responsible for choosing a new access management solution for the group’s technical facilities located in their PoP (points of presence – infrastructures that allow remote users to connect to the internet). He quickly recognized the convenience of iLOQ’s battery-free and keyless mobile access sharing solution where there are no keys in circulation – access rights are sent remotely and in real time to iLOQ’s app running on a technician’s smartphone. The solution needs no batteries or external power source as the cylinders get the power for unlocking from the NFC field created by the smartphone itself.

Unifiber’s PoPs are surrounded by fences (because they are often located in public places, for example next to a soccer field) making iLOQ’s ‘plug-and-play’ solution ideal. Using a competitor’s solution would have meant complex and expensive installation of a cable with power (12V) to the fence lock and an extra signal cable next to the door for a badge reader. Both would have been subject to damage and failure over time.

As vital telecoms equipment is situated in the PoPs, it is essential to ensure the highest levels of security. With iLOQ’s solution, it is possible to create different levels of access. For example, people coming to the site to perform green maintenance, for example, to cut the grass can be given access only to the fence door, while Unifiber technicians, telecom engineers, customers and service providers need quick and efficient access to both the fence door and the door of the PoP itself.

With multiple sites to be managed, a simplified administration system and low operational costs were also prerequisites. Access rights for all sites can be updated as needs change using iLOQ’s cloud-based software platform and immediately cancelled if an employee leaves the company. Centralized administration reduces time and costs and ensures only the right people have access to the right places at the right time.

“As Site Manager for Unifiber, I had to look into the best solution for access management. iLOQ assisted us end-to-end in the whole process. They even provided us with a proof of concept so we could test their proposed solution. It’s now been almost one year since the first cylinders were installed. Our forecast is to install a further 500 cylinders over the next seven years. I am very happy we chose iLOQ’s solution. The cylinders were quick to install and have been easy to manage. And, very important in an operational environment, there is no OPEX,” concludes Mr Leemans.