Macaroni Grill Deploys WLAN to 184 Locations

| March 23, 2011

Macaroni Grill has deployed an Aerohive WLAN solution to 184 restaurants to date, plus its corporate headquarters in Dallas, TX.
 
Macaroni Grill turned to Aerohive for wireless when they were tasked with a massive effort to revamp the nationwide restaurant chain’s entire IT system. Highly-mobile area directors with laptops needed to be up and running on the corporate network when visiting restaurants in their territory. Macaroni Grill chose Aerohive’s cooperative control WLAN architecture because it met their Wi-Fi security, cost, ease-of-deployment and management requirements.
 
Macaroni Grill is using Aerohive’s Private Pre-Shared Key (Private PSK) feature, which lets guest, legacy and hard-to-manage wireless LAN clients use strong encryption and authentication. Aerohive has enabled Macaroni Grill to set up “pre-logon” authentication for each laptop. Under this scenario, when users turn on their laptops, their devices have already authenticated to the wireless network. This means the Internet connection is made automatically, which is very user-friendly.
 
Macaroni Grill is using Aerohive’s Client Health Score Wi-Fi network monitoring feature for remote troubleshooting. This capability provides easy "at a glance" visibility into the status or “health” of clients connected to the Wi-Fi network.
 
An easy deployment
Aerohive met Macaroni Grill’s requirements for ease-of-deployment. Aerohive’s controller-less architecture and software-based management allows configuration, deployment and management to take place in the cloud, allowing APs to be up and running within minutes of being plugged in.
 
“We set up our Aerohive HiveManager Network Management System and built default templates based on the model of the equipment,” says Drew Stafford, vice president of information technology, Macaroni Grill. “We were up and running in less than an hour. It was pretty much plug and play.” Once that template was set up we shipped the APs directly to the restaurants. Once the devices were plugged in at the restaurants they automatically received their initial configuration including security settings. This really impressed me because it saved us a tremendous amount of time and money on pre-staging each device.”
 
Wi-Fi is primarily used at Macaroni Grill’s corporate office in conference rooms for corporate employees, guests and vendors. For security reasons, guest access is segmented from the main network with a VLAN.
 
Future uses for the Aerohive WLAN at Macaroni Grill restaurants include possibly using wireless-based training devices. They may also start offering the ability to have wireless available for banquets and could enable their team members to someday swipe credit cards at the table using wireless devices if so desired.
 
“Managing the Wi-Fi network has been simple with Aerohive,” says Stafford. “Aerohive’s Client Health Score monitoring feature provides a color-coded dashboard that tells us at a glance about the ‘health’ of clients connected to the Wi-Fi network. It saves us time and it means we don’t have to have a technical person on-hand at each restaurant location. It was ingenious of Aerohive to put that color coding right there,” concluded Stafford.
 
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