Wi-Fi is such a big part of all our lives, we expect to find it wherever we go. 4G technology has come so far but is only really benefited users who have a data plan with their service provider. Most consumers tend to purchase a data plan for the country they live in, but what about when you travel?
Data-roaming charges are planned to be scrapped for the EU by June 2017 Source Here, but this could all change due to the surprise vote to leave the EU. The uncertainty of cheap or free data use when traveling has always left consumers clinging to free Wi-Fi hot spots whilst away, this is especially expected from the hospitality industry.
Euston Square Hotel, a busy 80 room hotel in Central London approached us to help improve their network/Wi-Fi issues. Some of the issues included;
- Slow Wi-Fi
- Different Hot spot names for each floor
- Users having to re-connect
- Dead zones around the hotel
- No isolation of Guest/Staff access
These issues were not only effecting the guests but the staff and this was apparent from reviews. Cost of the install was a big factory, we wanted to fit Enterprise level equipment at a reasonable cost.
Sona IT took a pragmatic approach to resolving these issues. It ultimately was completed in 2 primary phases;
- Upgrade core network
- Upgrade Wi-Fi network
By Upgrading the core network we not only resolved the instability issues of the network but added additional facilities which helped improve the security of the network;
Sona IT set out and upgraded all switches and the primary firewall to create stability and a secure environment.
- Separation of networks using Virtual LANs, giving guests isolated access and staff shared access
- Anti-malware/anti-virus filtering to remove any infections at packet level
- Content filtering to block inappropriate content
- UTM Protection protecting against hackers using cloud technology
- Guest Wi-Fi network which lets the hotel capture data from guest logins
- QoS prioritising VoIP traffic over other traffic for clean, clear voice calls
Second phase was to upgrade the Wi-Fi, since we had upgraded the switches to PoE, it was a no brainer to go with PoE access points. We chose to go with Ubiquity, which was the most cost effective Enterprise solution. We wanted a solution which was scalable and that we can grow as the hotel was expanding in the lower basement area.
By using Unifi Switches/Access points we were able to gain high level of information which helped us with installation and future support. The Uni-Fi portal allows us to manage the devices from a central portal which made management and tweaking a dream.
We were able to identify which port an access point was connected to as the Unifi backend was identifying the connection trail by matching MAC addresses. This level of information was unheard of when using different branded devices.
The Socifi portal was the final step to delivering great Wi-Fi, we thought having a password for the guest access is not a good way of logging in guests. It’s an extra step to deal with not just for staff but for guests.
We setup a guest portal in which users are redirected to login with Facebook. This is a great way to capture data from guests and to gain some likes on facebook!
Portal is multilingual and detects your language and changes accordingly, we thought this is great as guests from all over will be logging into the Wi-Fi and speaking to them in their native language makes the whole experience so much more personal.
Euston Square Hotel is now enjoying many positive reviews specifically mentioning how great the Wi-Fi is. We along with Euston Square Hotel feel very privileged to have delivered such a bespoke solution.