CBD, Sydney, Australia
Poor guest reviews as a result of ordinary Wi-Fi.
Q. How did GX2 become involved with this particular site and what was the brief?
A. The in-house Radisson Blu admin network managers had worked with us at other properties and they called us in to see if we could take over the incumbent Wi-Fi network. They needed to improve the level of Hotel and Guest support in the first instance but then also come up with a plan to deliver the very highest levels of Guest Internet for the future. As a premium hotel that is consistently rated among the top hotels in Sydney, anything less than superb Wi-Fi would be considered as unacceptable.
Q. What did the existing network look like?
A. The network consisted of corridor-mounted Access Points (APs) that were not delivering adequate coverage to guest rooms and certainly not across the entire property. In addition, the existing Wi-Fi consisted of single-band 802.11g radios that employed a single-channel architecture across the entire property. There were further issues with guest support and a clunky authentication system.
Q. What were the first steps you took in the refurbishment of the network?
A. We initially replaced the server (sometimes called a gateway) to ensure that guests were able to authenticate against the hotel’s Property Management System (PMS) with surname and room number via the GX2 Captive Portal.
Q. And how about the Wi-Fi hardware itself?
A. It was then absolutely essential to perform an analysis of the current levels of Wi-Fi coverage to establish a benchmark. This process produces a report called a property Heat Map which shows a graphical representation of signal strength and throughput on a floor plan. We then proposed additional AP’s to cover the problem areas with a longer term plan to replace the lot. Further to this, we carried out a network audit of all LAN hardware and concluded that the existing edge and core switches also needed replacing.
Q. What was the final outcome?
A. We’ve transitioned the guest floors from the corridor-based solution to a Ruckus 802.11ac in-room AP in every 2nd room and we’ve installed Ruckus gear in the conference rooms. This has delivered hugely improved coverage, throughput and more importantly, guest satisfaction.
Q. Did you encounter any surprises during the Install?
A. The process of taking over an existing network is not an easy one. As you are effectively bringing down the network whilst guests are in house and resurrecting it with your own configuration, we had to be mindful that the majority of this work needed to be undertaken between 10pm – 8am. This was a challenge but with a crate of Red Bull and some strong will power, our install engineers pulled it off.
Q. Were you satisfied with the result?
A. We are satisfied because we can see that guests frequently mention great Wi-Fi as part of their overall reviews of their stay at the Radisson Blu. This is very different to the frequently negative feedback on the topic that was prevalent before the upgrade.
100Mbps Fibre ISP connection
Ruckus ZoneDirector 3000 Wireless Controller
Allied Telesis Core and Edge switches
Ruckus H500, 7055 and 7982 Access Points
GX2 HSIA Gateway Server
GX2 Conference Module
GX2 24/7 Guest Support