Ruckus Wireless has announced that its high-speed WiFi wall switch (the ZoneFlex 7025) has experienced broad adoption by hotels around the globe looking to deliver a myriad of IP-based in-room services over a unified wired/wireless infrastructure, while also providing high-speed wireless Internet access to a flood of new WiFi-enabled mobile and handheld devices.
Michael Fletcher, sales director for Ruckus Wireless, sub-Saharan Africa, explains the concept.
“The ZoneFlex 7025 WiFi wall switch integrates 802.11n WiFi technology with wired Ethernet ports in a small-footprint wall jack, giving hotel and resort operators an elegant, low-cost and inconspicuous device that allows them to leverage their existing wired infrastructure to deliver an ever expanding set of IP-based guest services over multiple virtual LANs (VLANs).”

Hoteliers like Kerzner International Resorts, owners of the Atlantis Paradise Island resort in the Bahamas, are currently using the Ruckus wall switch to offer HD video on demand, mini bar services, temperature control and high-speed wired and wireless access, with the highest performance and at the lowest cost per room.
For many hoteliers, early WiFi implementations are no longer able to keep up with the flood of wireless-only devices and bandwidth-demanding applications being used by guests and staff. Additionally, as many new services and hotel devices embrace IP as the preferred method of connectivity and management, the need for a converged wired and wireless network has quickly become a necessity.
“This proved true for the Atlantis Paradise Island – a grandiose luxury resort in the heart of the Caribbean. The expansive property features more than 3 000 guest rooms where for the past few years, Atlantis has provided guest WiFi access using an 802.11b outdoor network that also broadcast wireless signals indoors,” continues Fletcher.
“However, poor signal coverage, more user devices and higher speed wireless requirements had driven Atlantis to seek more innovative WiFi solutions. Furthermore, with the widespread adoption of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets that require wireless connectivity, the resort’s existing WiFi network had reached its limit – and the available options for upgrading it were extremely costly.

“At the same time, Kerzner International was looking to upgrade the property’s WiFi network, it was also looking to replace an obsolete network of in-room VLAN switches in the 1 200-room Royal Towers.
“Rather than explore new options which would have required installing more Ethernet ports and essentially doing a new build-out, Kerzner turned to its integration partner, Red One Networks, which recommended the Ruckus WiFi wall switch for the price and performance advantages it offered.”

“The Ruckus wall switch was a perfect match,” says Tim Lawson, VP of sales for Red One. “It met all of the resort’s needs for wired and wireless connectivity while allowing them to continue using their existing infrastructure, and delivered better performance at a much lower cost than other solutions they evaluated.
“And because of its controller-based architecture, which the previous WiFi system lacked, the resort’s IT team can easily add more switches and access points over time, knowing they can easily support and manage them from one central location.”

Currently the Atlantis has installed hundreds of ZoneFlex 7025 wall switches, one in every third guest room. Each wall switch includes four VLAN-capable wired Ethernet ports – three of which are used for high-definition IPTV, the mini bar and wired Internet access.
The entire network is centrally managed with three Ruckus ZoneDirector 3000s, which allow the hotel’s IT staff to easily monitor performance of each access point, troubleshoot problems and configure network settings to support varying usage patterns.
“The reality is that in hotels around the world Ethernet cabling is limited – areas such as guest rooms, the front desk, conference rooms, meeting spaces and business centres lack Ethernet ports and WiFi coverage,” adds Fletcher.
“Deployed as a standalone device or centrally managed by any Ruckus ZoneDirector wireless LAN controller or Ruckus FlexMaster WiFi management system, the ZoneFlex 7025 WiFi wall switch is ideal for the hotel industry as it reduces the cost and complexity of installing and managing wired and wireless network services.”
Well known established hotels around the world who have deployed the ZoneFlex 7025 high-speed WiFi wall switch include the Concorde Hotel (Singapore), Four Season Hotel Sydney, Grand Hyatt Chicago, Hotel Akash Palace (Shimoga, India), Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas (owned by Kerzner International Resorts), Lake Elementeita Serena Luxury Camp (Kenya) and Westin Kierland (Arizona).
“As the demand for WiFi connectivity increases in light of a more mobile consumers, Ruckus Wireless are proud to be at the forefront of innovative WiFi solutions for the hotel industry – where we have already begun implementing our solutions to hotels operating in the South African market, with the aim of assisting this sector in meeting the needs of its customers,” concludes Fletcher.