In the run-up to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's much-anticipated royal wedding, the local Thames Valley Police (TVP) force knew that it had to make this high-profile event as secure as possible. For this one day, six hundred guests were asked to attend the church, 2,640 members of the public were invited to watch from the Windsor Castle grounds, and the police prepared for more than 100,000 well-wishers to line the two-mile journey the couple would make to their reception.

The same security level would have to be maintained for Princess Eugene and Jack Brooksbank's royal wedding five months later, located at Windsor Castle. The police knew that both events would carry significant risk to the attendees and the general public without full security measures. Therefore, the police had to ensure that threats would be identified as soon as possible, before, after, and during the events. In fact, it was estimated that the security operation cost was in excess of $41,701,500, or £30 million, becoming one of the biggest UK operations ever.

In addition to optimal security, significantly enhanced surveillance levels were crucial to ensure that the day ran smoothly. The police were tasked with providing supplementary closed-circuit television (CCTV) coverage of both the royal weddings and extra communications and emergency calls-to-action. In the urban environment of Windsor, providing the resilience and range necessary would require more than what was available on existing CCTV deployments. An unbreakable, reliable rapidly deployed mesh network was needed to allow police and security services to perform at mission-critical levels.

TVP selected wireless network provider Rajant Corporation to oversee the required connectivity and integrate its Kinetic Mesh with the police networks. With only a week to get everything installed, configured, and tested for the royal wedding, the combined police and Rajant team needed to work fast.

The solution

Private networks such as Kinetic Mesh offer intelligent and secure wireless broadband connectivity that provides the flexibility that public safety organizations need. Not only does the solution’s wireless connectivity combat the risk of an absence in coverage, but in remote locations with no supporting infrastructure, it can eliminate blind spots and cater for complex routes in the surrounding area. The solution proved this effectiveness with its innovative network capabilities, providing a solid solution for TVP.

Ahead of both weddings, the Kinetic Mesh CCTV network was seamlessly integrated with existing communications infrastructure at key locations, enabling large amounts of mission-critical video data to be delivered in real-time and provide the police and other security organizations with much-needed visibility. Despite the challenges created by the crowded streets and several different routes to the castle, every location for the royal couples' post-wedding processions was covered with continuous and reliable CCTV surveillance. 

The Kinetic Mesh network was securely encrypted, ensuring that cyberattacks or hacks to the communications system wasn’t a possibility. This is part of the solution's unique network design, made up of secure BreadCrumb nodes, the wireless connections covering a vast area, ensuring sufficient security for the wedding venue as well as the neighboring regions. Using 13 of the unique nodes, the company deployed 11 cameras to deliver stable and high-definition real-time surveillance, and for a few different areas around Windsor, the nodes covered areas that standard CCTV or a point-to-point network would struggle to reach. High visibility was key to the operation, ensuring that any threats were deterred before they started, thus allowing the police to control crowds and manage traffic optimally.

The solution provided military-grade encryption, making it the choice for connecting in managing mission-critical activities. Data protection in these environments is crucial, especially when it comes to royal weddings, as they are global attractions and can be viewed as a potential target by anyone worldwide. Surveillance would need to be transmitted in real-time and recorded for evidentiary and review purposes. It was also critically several seconds ahead of live television coverage of the event, ensuring that anything suspicious or untoward would be detected early by the team. 

The outcome

Set up in just three days, the powerful nodes were easy to deploy and interconnected with the police’s local area network (LAN), strengthening existing capabilities to guarantee a fail-proof solution. By providing frequencies only available to the police, the solution prevented any major interference from the general public, broadcasters, and any other security protocol, making sure there was no risk of the connection faltering during the large-scale events.

The Kinetic Mesh provided low latency and extensive high-bandwidth coverage for the royal weddings, enabling the police to identify potential threats, suspicious activity, and incidents quickly and efficiently through dedicated, consistent connectivity. Due to the combined efforts of the TVP and Rajant, both weddings were handled faultlessly. The Kinetic Mesh network thwarted both cyber and physical threats, and most importantly, it was able to help keep all attendees and spectators safe.

The operation proved so successful that the TVP continued to use Kinetic Mesh later that year for the Royal Ascot and other critical surveillance tasks. The same deployment method used for the royal weddings helped to protect more than 300,000 people. These use cases showcase the reliability that a secure, wireless network can have at important globally significant events.

This article originally ran in Security, a twice-monthly security-focused eNewsletter for security end users, brought to you by Security Magazine. Subscribe here.