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Accor Opens New Frontier in Hospitality with the Deployment of Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi Across Latin America

July 26, 2013 Technology No Comments Email Email

 Ruckus Wireless, Inc. announced today that Accor SA (Euronext Paris: AC.PA), the world’s leading hotel operator with 3,516 hotels located in 92 countries, has standardized on Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi products and technology across 100 hotels in seven countries throughout Latin America.

The Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi infrastructure will support Accor’s free Wi-Fi available in leading brands such as ibis, ibis budget, Mercure, Novotel, Pullman, and Sofitel. Accor initiated deployment of its Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi networks last year, and has since completed installation of thousands of Ruckus ZoneFlex™ access points (APs) within these hotels.

Ruckus won the bid for this massive hospitality Wi-Fi network deployment over competing bids from Cisco and HP, providing the best overall performance in testing conducted by Accor IT staff, led by Carla Milovanov, director of IT for Accor Latin America. During the roll-out, Accor required up to 60% fewer APs from Ruckus in order to cover the same physical area as the previous systems they replaced, with no loss in performance, reliability or capacity.

The Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi networks are also being used for various point-of-sale (POS) tasks at the majority of the hotel restaurants in these Accor Latin America properties, and to support back office applications being used by hotel staff at some of the hotels.

Free Wi-Fi is Smart Business for Accor Hotels

“Once we confirmed from surveys that Wi-Fi was by far the most important amenity we could provide to our guests, we immediately decided not only to improve our Wi-Fi networks across many of our key Latin America properties, we also decided it was important enough to offer for free to attract new guests as well as to keep guests coming back again and again,” said Milovanov.

In fact, recent research published earlier this year by Hotels.com supports Accor’s decision, with 34 percent of those polled saying free Wi-Fi is the number one factor when choosing a hotel for leisure trips; 56 percent stating that free Wi-Fi is their number one must-have when traveling for business; and 66 percent indicating that free Wi-Fi is the amenity they most wish would become standard at all hotels in 2013. According to the research, free Wi-Fi trumps both free parking and complimentary breakfast when it comes to choosing a hotel for both leisure and business travel.

Accor Builds Better, Smarter Wi-Fi Networks with Ruckus

For its hotels, Accor selected and deployed the Ruckus ZoneFlex 7341 high performance, 802.11n mid-range indoor access points featuring Ruckus-patented BeamFlex™ adaptive antenna technology. The ZoneFlex 7341 Smart Wi-Fi APs are centrally managed with Ruckus ZoneDirector™ 1100 andZoneDirector 3000 controllers, which provide best-in-class WLAN-wide network, security, RF, and location management.

Ruckus ChannelFly™ technology, a unique channel selection method based on statistical, historical modeling of traffic traversing each channel, is also used within some of the larger Accor hotels that experience higher client densities and noisier Wi-Fi environments. ChannelFly leverages BeamFlex to learn and select the best RF channel (within either the 2.4 or 5 GHz bands), based on what channels will yield the most throughput, with the ability to change an AP’s channel automatically when interference or contention conditions warrant it. With ChannelFly, the system constantly determines proper channel to improve overall capacity. No configuration or monitoring is necessary.

Additionally, Accor has incorporated Ruckus SmartMesh™ Networking in select hotels where Ethernet cable backhaul to connect individual APs is cost-prohibitive. SmartMesh automatically establishes reliable and long-range wireless connections between APs to eliminate costly and cumbersome cabling to every AP. As a result, Accor’s WLAN deployments were dramatically faster, simpler, and less costly, as the APs simply plugged into any convenient power source. No extensive RF site surveys, cable runs, configuration, or optimization adjustments were required. SmartMesh provides reliable connectivity between mesh nodes, using best path selection and interference mitigation techniques with easy, one-click setup and one-screen management.

Milovanov concludes, “The results have been incredible. Our latest guest satisfaction surveys show that with the new Wi-Fi network in place, our quality of Wi-Fi service rankings have increased up to 62.5 percent higher from our previous scores of 5 to as high as 8 now, on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest possible satisfaction ranking. That’s astounding, and we certainly couldn’t be more satisfied.”

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