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Emirates Palace and Aruba Networks set the standards

Emirates Palace and Aruba Networks set the standards

Case StudiesNetworking

Our sister publication, Inside_Networks_ME,  steps into Emirates Palace and finds out how Aruba have improved their customer experience.

Everyone in the Middle East appreciates that this region leads the way in terms of luxury hospitality – I suspect most people in the world are aware of this fact. With Expo 2020 only increasing demand and hotels already experiencing high occupancy rates – especially within the luxury sector, this market will continue to be a focus for the technology sector. Many business travellers, myself included, put technology at the forefront of their considerations when it comes to selecting a hotel.

Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, one of the World’s foremost luxury hotels, became the first hotel in the Middle East to deploy a 802.11ac wireless network allowing guests to use
gigabit wireless across the sprawling property. This landmark implementation was carried out by MDS; one of the leading IT service providers in the UAE and, leverages Aruba Networks’ 802.11ac solution and advanced wireless security.

Commenting on the decision to adopt the latest in wireless networking technologies, Mehmet Akdeniz, Director of IT and AV at Emirates Palace said, “We remain deeply committed to offering our guests a truly remarkable experience. When we noticed that guest usage of bandwidth-hungry mobile applications was becoming a norm, we committed to deploying a solution that would meet their high expectations for the next four to five years. This is why we opted for Aruba’s gigabit Wi-Fi solution.”

Guided by MDS throughout a six-month selection period, Akdeniz and his team evaluated solutions from Aruba Networks along with other wireless networking vendors. Aruba stood out as offering the most suitable 802.11ac technology for Emirates Palace. The Aruba 802.11ac solution was the stand out solution, delivering the capabilities, functionality, high degree of security and effortless integration with the hotel’s newly deployed wired infrastructure that Akdeniz and his team required.

The deployment saw Emirates Palace install an Aruba 7220 series Mobility Controller along with over 1000 Aruba AP-225 wireless access points across the expansive grounds over a two month period to avoid inconvenience to guests. To support this breakthrough installation the hotel implemented Aruba’s AirWave Network Management platform, this allowed administrators to proactively plan for capacity, visualise client performance and troubleshoot application issues by allowing visibility of all devices and connections on the wireless network.

Akdeniz added, “Having a highly regarded partner (MDS are an Aruba Platinum partner) carry out the implementation was a huge benefit to us. Even industry-leading technology is only as good as its implementation and MDS ensured that the entire system was configured for optimal performance.” It goes without saying that the most noticeable benefit was the increase in capacity; from 54Mbps to 1.3Gbps, however the centralised nature of the solution also proved to be an appealing feature for the hotel IT team.

Emirates palace 2
Mehmet Akdeniz, Director of IT and AV at Emirates Palace

By using Aruba’s 7220 series Mobility Controller the hotel was able to completely eliminate manual configuration of individual access points and has even enabled automated software updates of all the Aruba 225 APs. Furthermore, with solution features such as white list co-ordination, valid AP lists, control plane security (CPsec) certificates and wireless intrusion detection and coordination, Emirates Palace has now achieved the highest level of security for its wireless network.

By utilising the controller’s intuitive Graphical User Interface (GUI), administrators can make rapid changes to the network and its security settings. This allows a high degree of customization of the network which is required to meet the specific needs of each of the hotels high-profile meeting and conference facilities. Akdeniz elaborated, “We no longer waste precious manpower tending to labour intensive processes. Everything is easily managed from one location and our newfound visibility into every element of the network has enabled proactive troubleshooting and thus, drastically improved our reaction time. Complaints about poor network performance have virtually disappeared and our business customers are often amazed to find how quickly we can accommodate their connectivity requirements.”

Finally Akdeniz believes that the Aruba solution will now allow the hotel to deliver a better experience and more connective experience for the hotel guests and allow new features and capabilities. Though the wireless infrastructure is currently used to support Internet services, point of sales and digital signage, the new network can allow a complete range of cutting-edge guest services. Emirates Palace already has plans under way to offer IPTV, online gaming for children, internet music streaming and smart device-controlled operation of in-room entertainment. All of these services will rely heavily on the abundant availability of bandwidth – something that the Aruba Networks 802.11ac solution offers in abundance.

“In the hospitality sector today, simply providing wireless is practically a given. But not all wireless is equal and this is something that our guests will be able to recognize instantly. We now have a solution that enables us to improve their experience in ways that they have not even considered as of yet. This is the kind of service excellence that Emirates Palace is synonymous with and we are happy to say that Aruba has been an enabler of our success,” concluded Akdeniz.

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