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 has 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, but this could all change due to the surprise vote to leave the EU. The uncertainty of cheap or free data use when travelling has always left consumers clinging to free Wi-Fi hot spots whilst away, this is particularly expected in the hospitality industry.
Euston Square Hotel, a busy 80 room hotel in Central London, approached us to help improve their network/Wi-Fi issues.
- 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 affecting the guests but the staff and this was apparent from reviews. Cost of the install was a big factor, we wanted to fit enterprise level equipment at a reasonable cost.
Sona IT took a pragmatic approach to resolving these issues and looked to complete the work in 2 primary phases;
- Upgrade core network
- Upgrade Wi-Fi network
By upgrading the core network, we not only resolved the instability issues but added additional facilities which helped improve the security of the network.
Sona IT redesigned the network from the ground up and got to work upgrading all network switches and the primary firewall to create a stable and 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
As we had upgraded the switches to PoE (Power over Ethernet), it was a no brainer to go with PoE access points. We decided 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 into the lower basement area.
By using UniFi Switches/Access points we were able to gain a high level of integration which helped us with installation and future support. The UniFi cloud 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 decided having a password for the guest access would not be 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 via Facebook. This isn’t only a great way to capture data from guests but to also gain some likes on Facebook!
The SOCIFI portal is multilingual, it detects your language and changes accordingly, we thought this would be a great fit for a hotel as guests from all over the world 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 more positive reviews with many specifically mentioning how great the Wi-Fi is. We, along with Euston Square Hotel, feel very privileged to have delivered such a bespoke and user-friendly solution for both guests and staff.