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The new Darwin Convention Centre (DCC) is using a business-class wireless network from NETGEAR to not only maximise productivity levels among its own staff, but to also add to the success of events held there by providing access to fast, secure communications from anywhere in the venue.
The AEGOgden Group, the management company for DCC, installed 33 NETGEAR ProSafe Access Points (APs) and four NETGEAR ProSafe wireless controllers to ensure staff, conference organisers and delegates had uninterrupted access to the network while moving about the venue.
NETGEAR’s Australia and New Zealand managing director, Ryan Parker, said the implementation of the NETGEAR network will give the DCC a competitive edge by streamlining operations and improving customer service.
“The security, functionality and ease-of-use of the NETGEAR ProSafe network will enable the DCC to provide business-class communications to boost efficiency and improve profitability,” Parker said.
DCC employees benefit from the network as bookings information, security data, point-of-sale and customer details are all accessible wirelessly across the entire venue. Being mobile, while still having access to all corporate data, will allow the staff to be far more responsive.
Employees are free to go about their jobs without being tied down to a single position, improving efficiency and keeping costs low. Jun Salting, IT administrator for DCC, said no training was required for employees on using the network. They simply log onto the network with a username and password and are free to do their job anywhere in the centre.
Although full support is available Salting has so far not required it. “I’m impressed by how simple it is to manage the network,” he said. “The Wireless Controller allows every AP in the building to be monitored from a single point.
“We can see the whole wireless network through the controller which lets us monitor signal strength and user loads, as well as identify technical issues that may arise such as damage to hardware, unauthorised access to the network or interference.”
The design of the convention centre proved to be a challenge with its curved walls and high ceilings. All APs were also required to be out of sight so the equipment needed to broadcast a signal strong enough to penetrate any physical barriers and overcome the architectural design.
In order to pass fire rating, the walls were constructed of double-sheeted gyprock which presented another challenge for the chosen technology’s signal penetration.
A well-attended boat and leisure show proved the network could handle all of the challenges without a problem. Despite the large user load, the physical challenges of the building and the hidden APs, delegates were able to access company resources instantly anywhere in the venue and maintain seamless, problem-free connectivity.
Due to the complexity of the install, two companies were engaged: Nilsen was contracted to lay the cable and install the APs while Territory Technology Solutions (TTS) installed the controllers and configured the system.
By working together, said TTS’ Chris Snowdon, account manager, the two companies were able to present DCC with a wireless solution that would satisfy all of its requirements.
“We did a site survey before the centre was completed and both Nilsen and TTS concurred on the placement of the APs to ensure the best solution for the centre,” Snowdon said.
It was recommended the convention centre install four wireless controllers given the large number of APs needed to provide venue-wide coverage. The NETGEAR wireless controllers centralise control of the network and allow for seamless roaming between APs across the centre, so a user can traverse the length of the venue and maintain connection to the network.
The laying of the cables took two weeks and the installation of 33 APs and controllers took three days.
Steve Vaughn, electrical and communications supervisor for Nilsen, described the install as problem-free and praised the support from NETGEAR. “The tech support people were always available and their advice was excellent.”
AEGOgden Group CIO, Mark Harrison, said the decision to deploy NETGEAR wireless controllers was based on three factors: budget, ease-of-use and familiarity with the brand. “The competitors’ products were a lot more expensive,” Harrison said. “NETGEAR offered an affordable solution that did exactly what we wanted within budget. Also, we had a good experience with NETGEAR products in another venue and so were happy to use them again.”
The DCC has made provisions to add APs to extend the wireless network as they open new areas and Mark Harrison says this is made possible as scalability is built into NETGEAR’s solution.
“If we need to expand our network we simply add the required number of APs in a process that is basically plug and go.”
With the help of NETGEAR and its dedicated resellers and integrators, DCC can rightfully claim to be a business centre of the future.
NETGEAR (Nasdaq: NTGR) designs technologically advanced, branded networking products that address the specific needs of businesses and home users. Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, NETGEAR’s suite of approximately 100 products enables users to share Internet access, peripherals, files, digital multimedia content and applications among multiple personal computers and other Internet-enabled devices. For more information, visit the company's website at www.netgear.com.au or call 02 8117 6800.
NETGEAR, ProSafe and the NETGEAR logo are registered trademarks of NETGEAR, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective holders. Information is subject to change without notice. All rights reserved # # #