Location:
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Issues:
Limited bandwidth, outdated Wi-Fi network design, very poor guest Wi-Fi satisfaction and non-Wi-Fi friendly construction.

GX2 Solutions

Q. Can you give me a general overview of Snowbird?

A. Certainly. Snowbird has consistently rated as one of the top ski and summer resorts in North America since it opened in the early 70’s. It is built in the narrow Little Cottonwood Canyon, with one road in and out.

Q. Can you tell me more about the difficulties surrounding Wi-Fi at Snowbird?

A. Limited bandwidth into the site has always been a challenge although the previous Wi‐Fi network appears to have worked well when first installed six years ago. Guests today, however are much more demanding with both their bandwidth requirements and the number of devices that they typically carry. As a result guest satisfaction was, at times, dipping below 50% which was unacceptable. Something had to be done.

Q. What did Snowbird do?

A. Bruce Goluskin, Snowbird’s IT Director decided to go to tender for a new Wi-Fi network. An RFP went out to the top three industry leaders (one the incumbent), and two local providers. All five were invited to do site surveys and provide a bid.

Q. Obviously GX2 won the RFP. Can you outline why?

A. Well to do the job right, new equipment had to be installed in the 1970’s concrete construction lodges built to withstand avalanches, not transmit Wi‐Fi signals. We had to do a predictive design from floor plans but then go to the site, place the AP’s on speaker stands in the predicted location and then physically test the performance to verify our design.
While many Wi-Fi vendors take the view that signal strength is the ultimate measure of Wi-Fi performance, we like to go a few steps further and test throughput as well. We then set up some video streaming as a real-world test. This gave both ourselves and Bruce increased confidence in predicted performance of our Wi-Fi network. Bruce felt that this attention to detail was a major factor in his decision. Of course we were competitive on price as well.

“GX2 were the only provider that did RF testing with streaming video to emulate my customer’s experience. This showed me that they cared about my customers’ satisfaction, not just winning the business,”

says Goluski

Q. Can you provide further comment?

A. In a Wi-Fi installation, the cabling is often the most crucial (and expensive) factor in a successful outcome. With Snowbird, GX2 worked with a cabling partner, to recable the entire site in order to provide adequate and accurate AP placement. This required drilling through multiple feet of concrete in some places and redesigning AP placement on the fly to address issues encountered during implementation.
Again, Bruce Goluskin was impressed with GX2’s focus to go above and beyond his expectations to deliver a solution for his customers that would work. We were also able to shave days off the installation and delivered a better solution by working side-by-side with the cable provider.
Since the initial installation, Snowbird has worked with GX2 to customise a ski pass-checking system on mountain, video content walls, and Wi-Fi to support table-side ordering and wine lists using tablets in their restaurants.

Results

“They had to please my customers, not me. Our guest satisfaction rating for Wi-Fi has increased to 95% some months. My goal was 90%. Earlier in my career I had often gone with the market leader. A decision I thought was a safe choice at the time, but didn’t always deliver the best success. The GX2 team impressed me with their expertise, innovative design and focus on my customer. They were the obvious choice.”

 

Bruce Goluskin, IT Director, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort

 

Technical Specifications

Redundant GX2 Gateways
Ruckus Wireless APs
Ruckus Wireless Cloud Controller
Redundant FortiGate Firewalls
Elfiq Load Balancer
GX2 24/7 Guest Support