Nickelodeon Suites Resort Opts for Cloud-Managed WiFi for Interactive TVs and Guest Access

| September 19, 2013

The Nickelodeon Suites Resort in Orlando, Florida is a vacation property with 777 suites designed to accommodate families with children. High-performance Wi-Fi service throughout the property is critical to connect thousands of state-of-the-art TV set-top boxes (STBs) and to ensure a flawless experience for thousands of connected users every day.

For Nickelodeon guests, high performance Wi-Fi connectivity is a critical part of the hotel experience, as families arrive with a wide variety of Wi-Fi enabled devices including gaming consoles, eReaders, laptops, tablets and mobile phones, and expect to participate in a memorable full-immersion media experience.

The Connectivity Challenge
Smart Hospitality, a Managed Service Provider (MSP) based in California, was brought on board by Nickelodeon Suites Resort to oversee the Wi-Fi and television services at the hotel. They were asked to enable interactive services on the TVs without rewiring the buildings with Cat5 cabling. They solved the problem by maintaining the distribution of video via the existing coaxial cable infrastructure and by using Wi-Fi as the control path for the STBs. While this architecture was more simple and cost-effective than deploying a fully Ethernet-based IPTV solution, it increased the complexity and load of the existing Wi-Fi network to support the nearly 1,600 STBs with dedicated SSID and guaranteed quality of service.

Guests, meanwhile, were bringing an increasing number of Wi-Fi enabled devices to the resort, further increasing the demand of the wireless service. Eventually, wireless network traffic became so heavy that resort guests could no longer reliably connect to the network and began to complain to resort management.
 
The Immediate ROI Solution
Smart Hospitality selected a cloud-managed Wi-Fi solution from PowerCloud Systems because of its high-density coverage capability, reliable client connectivity and low total cost of ownership. The Enable CAP324 Access Point is a dual band 802.11n device, which deliver enterprise-grade connectivity securely and reliably with omnidirectional internal antennas, optimized for high-throughput configurations.

Smart Hospitality installed, activated and remotely configured the access points in less than one week – during which the resort was fully occupied. The Wi-Fi is now effortlessly monitored, secured and managed from afar using the CloudCommand online software platform.  It delivers exceptional Wi-Fi performance across a substantially broader coverage area with lower system management costs compared to the previous network.
 
The rollout consisted of 777 rooms across 14 multi-story buildings, and 222 high-performance PowerCloud Access Points powered by CloudCommand™ were deployed in a few days. They are now effortlessly remote-managed by Smart Hospitality, an MSP in California.

The new wireless network successfully services thousands of guests with a variety of mobile devices, while connecting 1596 multi-TV Wi-Fi set-top boxes. The CloudCommand dashboard provides the MSP with state-of-the-art visibility and control. The MSP can easily monitor and receive service alerts, optimize the network and correct issues before the hotel guests notice.

Since deployment, the property network has consistently performed with no issues, supporting on any typical day more than  2,000 Wi-Fi devices connected to the network at any given time; more than 30 concurrent connections per AP at any given time, and 120GB of wireless traffic transferred with peaks of over 10GB on individual Aps.
 
“PowerCloud is the only solution we’re aware of that could meet all of our performance, manageability, and budgetary goals,” Reports Rodney Boudreaux, Director of IT for Nickelodeon Suites Resort.
 
 
Reliable Coverage, High Capacity, Efficient Deployment and Support
The Enable CAP324 access points from PowerCloud Systems are ideal for use in compact cell deployments for ultra-high total on-air throughput because of their low cost, simplicity of deployment and seamlessly unified management.
The CAP324s feature ‘zero-touch’ deployment and support Power over Ethernet (PoE), so no power adapters are required for the installation. From their offices in California, the Smart Hospitality deployment team configured the network and assigned names and locations to the APs while the APs were on their way to the resort. The resort IT team simply replaced the old access points with the new devices. Because the configurations were preset in the cloud, the installed access points immediately downloaded their provisioning parameters and began broadcasting.

Previously, the hotel had no way to cost-effectively troubleshoot the Wi-Fi network; when guests complained, the resort had to call an expensive technician on site. Today, Smart Hospitality can view the entire network from the CloudCommand portal. They can see the status of each access point, view its connected devices, monitor the signal strength and connection speed, identify client connectivity and diagnose and resolve customer problems from over 2200 miles away.

If an access point needs to be reset, have its broadcast channel changed or its power output adjusted, Smart Hospitality can change its settings from the portal and the modifications go into effect immediately. The high-costs of an onsite technical evaluation and correction are eliminated. The solution has allowed the adoption of a low-cost, high-performance interactive TV system, while providing resort guests with complete Wi-Fi coverage and eliminating complaints of poor connectivity. Smart Hospitality can quickly, easily and remotely identify potential problems and resolve them before users notice.

With the new wireless infrastructure in place, Nickelodeon Suites Resort not only offers a unique family vacation with 13 water slides and live entertainment, but also a fully immersive media experience across 1,600 interactive TV screens and state-of-the-art Wi-Fi, supporting media streaming across all its suites, without connectivity concerns.

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