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Val Thorens Ski Resort

  
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CHALLENGES

  • Provision of secure Wi-Fi access to staff and skiers
  • Centralized and remote management of the entire wireless network domain for an easy administration in all weather conditions

RESULTS

  • Compelling and popular service for tourists
  • HiveAP340 designed for varying and sub-zero temperatures, making it ideal for ski resort
  • Ease of deployment, management and development of WLAN

 

French Vacation Resort Offers Wi-Fi to Visitors, Easy Management to IT Staff

WLAN Network Challenges

The resort already had a Wi-Fi network for internal administrative use, but wanted to expand the network to offer skiers internet access whilst on the slopes. In doing so, tourists could use the free Wi-Fi rather than pay expensive 3G roaming costs. The existing Wi-Fi network was difficult to administer: Val Thorens’ IT team wanted a centralised solution that could be remotely managed, and was costeffective to deploy.

“We want to offer our users the best services to facilitate their stay in the resort. We are anticipating their needs by offering them access to Wi-Fi on the ski lifts,” says Eric Bonnel, Sales and Marketing Director of ski lift company SETAM.

Val Thorens consulted its IT service provider, Soluceo, which recommended two WLAN solutions, one of which was Aerohive. Of particular interest to the IT team was Aerohive’s Cooperative Control architecture; its access points automatically create mesh network connections to recover from component failures without the need to deploy redundant systems, all while keeping the network wireless. In a ski resort, this helps the IT team to maintain Wi-Fi availability with minimal effort.

“Thanks to its easy deployment and use, we can anticipate future upgrades to our solution with no additional investment.”

Elvis Hudry
SETAM Networks and Systems Administrator

The Aerohive Wi-Fi Solution

A pilot of the technology was subsequently deployed by reseller and IT partner to Soluceo, Scientific Equipment, in December 2010, to three ski lifts. The deployment took just one day, including configuration.

This was followed by a full roll-out to a further nine ski lifts in November 2011. The solution includes the HiveManager Virtual Management Appliance on VMware and HiveAP340s. It also supports Val Thoren’s Netinary internet control application.

The Aerohive deployment has the capacity to support 10,000 devices, concurrently, on the network. As the popularity of the free Wi-Fi service grows, Val Thorens is assured of the network’s resilience and consistency and quality of service. The HiveAP340 is also especially situable for use on the ski slopes – its water resistance rating, internal thermal management, sunshield and outdoor enclosure is designed for sub-zero temperatures.

Meanwhile, HiveManager provides a central view of all network activity and platform to remediate connectivity issues. With Aerohive, in contrast to the old network, after initial configuration, deployment takes only 15 minutes for each new HiveAP and any modifications can be carried out remotely via centralised administration software. It is this aspect that makes rapid response possible regardless of the weather conditions, a fact that is much appreciated by Val Thoren’s IT team.

Benefits of an Aerohive WLAN Solution

“Thanks to its easy deployment and use we can anticipate future upgrades to our solution with no additional investment,” adds Elvis Hudry, SETAM Networks and Systems Administrator, who is in charge of the project.

In place for a year, the service has been quickly adopted by tourists, as evidenced by the steadily increasing connection rate – up 30% in January 2012 on January 2011. The wireless LAN will soon be extended to the neighbouring Orelle resort, to allow tourists to connect from a restaurant terrace.