Amwaj Rotana has upgraded its wireless network, leveraging solutions from Aruba Networks, an HP Company, to deliver seamless high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity to all guests across its hotel rooms, suites and public areas. The Wi-Fi coverage across the hotel has now increased from 75% to 91% thus extending to all areas other than the stairwells and services areas which have no need for coverage.
The hotel has noted that guest satisfaction with internet services, as rated by an automated survey, has improved by 15% and there has been significant reduction in efforts required for Access Point (AP) configuration and maintenance. Since completion of the upgrade, the IT team has also seen a 10% reduction in the number of help desk calls relating to connectivity issues.
Rabih Merhy, Director of IT, Amwaj Rotana knew that reliable, high-performance Wi-Fi was now perceived by hotel guests as a basic utility, rather than a luxury. “To cope with this increased need for connectivity, we needed to upgrade the guest internet service to more than double its previous speed,” said Rabih.
Having utilized Aruba’s 801.11n technologies since 2012, to meet basic connectivity requirements, Amwaj Rotana was aware of the performance, rich-feature sets and cost-effectiveness of Aruba’s solutions. A challenge, unique to this project, was the solid concrete walls between the hotel rooms and the IT team knew they would need a reliable solution from a market expert to overcome this. The thorough six week evaluation and testing phase led to the selection of Aruba’s 801.11ac solutions.
An internal study of guest’s internet usage characteristics uncovered, that in recent years over 71% of guests utilized more than two mobile devices requiring an internet connection in a typical double occupied room. To support this influx of devices, and get up to date with the considerable developments made in the wireless domain since its last upgrade, Amwaj Rotana decided to utilize a combination of the latest 802.11ac indoor and outdoor Access Points (APs).
The IT and engineering teams of Amwaj Rotana worked together with Aruba’s partner, Precedence to roll out the implementation across all the guest rooms and the public areas. Special considerations had to be made in order to avoid inconveniencing guests. The whole implementation took just under two months. Aruba’s local team engaged regularly with Rabih and his team to deliver the necessary trainings and hands-on tutorials. Because of the simplicity and power of Aruba’s management interfaces, the team was quick to master administration of the new infrastructure.
The size of the property, and the fact that physically accessing APs for troubleshooting would pose an inconvenience to guests, meant that simplified management and troubleshooting of the entire wireless network was essential. Aruba’s Mobility Controller, which addressed these requirements through a streamlined and easy-to-use interface, was therefore a cornerstone of this implementation. The ability to remotely configure, monitor and troubleshoot each AP drastically reduced the management efforts for Amwaj Rotana’s IT team. Updates are now automatically pushed to the APs and by eliminating the need for repeated manual intervention, the Aruba solution has also mitigated the inconvenience to guests.
Rabih sees the Aruba implementation as having a three-fold benefit. “From a business perspective, we now have better coverage and far superior performance. The 11ac technology with its advanced back-end features meets our present and future technology requirements. And most importantly from a user perspective, they can now enjoy fast and uninterrupted Wi-Fi,” he said.
Having more than met its primary purpose of providing guests with world-class connectivity, the Wi-Fi solution is now being leveraged to enhance the guest experience in new and innovative ways. The hotel intends to upgrade its television systems in the coming year and Aruba’s high-speed wireless network has allowed the team to explore the possibility of adopting the latest smart TVs.
Rabih believes that in Aruba, he has found a partner for long-term success. “We don’t only need a great product, but also reliable post implementation service and solid relationships with our partners. We are proud to say that we have struck a successful partnership with Aruba on all counts,” he concluded.