Location: Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji
Issues: Delivery of great Wi-Fi to individual Bures (villas) located across a large area divided by lush gardens in a very remote tropical environment.
Q. Can you tell me a little about the property?
A. Since first being “thrown overboard” by his father at the age of seven with newly invented SCUBA gear on his back, Jean-Michel has been exploring the ocean realm. The son of ocean explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau, Jean-Michel has investigated the world’s oceans aboard Calypso and Alcyone for much of his life.
More recently, Jean-Michel has been involved with the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in Fiji, an environmentally and culturally-oriented family resort, conceived as a model to prove to the business community the economic benefits of environmental concern and design.
Q. What was the design brief for Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort?
A. JMC is an upmarket resort that proudly does not provide telephones in guest Bures as part of their guest offering. In these types of resorts, however, Wi-Fi is as important as hot water to guests, especially when the weather is inclement.
The design brief was to provide great Wi-Fi with full coverage in public areas and guest accommodation as the previous Wi-Fi solution did not deliver the required throughput or coverage.
Q. What are the main challenges in delivering high guest satisfaction in a location like this?
A. Local bandwidth in Fiji is very expensive and limited. The 25 guest Bures and the office are run on 6Mbps fibre link which is not a lot of speed. Our systems need to ensure that all-end users have a decent experience and a fair share of the limited amount of bandwidth.
Secondly, the local power supply frequently fails as well as fluctuates as a result of the backup generator kicking in frequently. We need to be mindful of power fluctuations which can cause intermittent problems or even damage equipment
Q. What are the key factors in delivering a great Wi-Fi network?
A. We believe that there are 3 elements to great Wi-Fi:
1. As much ISP Bandwidth as possible. We implement policies such as maximum bandwidth-per-Wi-Fi session to ensure fairness for all users
2. Well designed, robust infrastructure (cabling, Ethernet switching and appropriately-placed Wireless Access Points
3. 24 / 7 Support for guests and hotel staff
Q. Did you experience any challenges in the rollout?
A. We were against the clock as the resort needed to open on a set date. Actually they were reopening after being heavily damaged by Cyclone Winston. The greatest issue we faced was the weather. During the critical cabling period, heavy rain slowed progress so we worked alongside the cabling contractor’s team to ensure that we could deliver on time and on budget.
Ruckus ZoneDirector Wireless Controller
HP Core and Edge switches
Ruckus H500 and T300 Access Points
GX2 HSIA Gateway Appliance
GX2 Uninterruptible Power Supply
GX2 24/7 Guest Support