Hotel Negresco – Nice, France

Aruba Gigabit Wi-Fi + AirWave provide the best network service quality of all the hotels in the city of Nice, on the Côte d’Azur

Located on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, Negresco is one of the most famous five-star luxury hotels on the Côte d’Azur. Built in 1913, it is designated as a historical monument for its façade and its glass roof.

With 99 rooms and 25 suites spread over five floors, the hotel also houses a two-star Restaurant, Bar, Brasserie and nine lounges with a capacity of 20 to 600 people.

A necessary wireless network upgrade

The data rates and coverage provided eliminate any risk of bandwidth saturation. The level of satisfaction of our customers is excellent. Damien Bibloque, IT Director of Hôtel Negresco

The Negresco hotel’s IT department found that the existing Wi-Fi infrastructure no longer fully met the needs and expectations of customers. The data rates and coverage of the network had become insufficient, as the existing system only managed the 2.4 GHz frequency band and did not allow prioritisation of critical application flows, such as VoIP.

“A high-performance, secure wireless network connection is an essential part of the quality of service we provide to our customers. So we had to quickly upgrade our infrastructure,” pointed out Mr. Bibloque, IT Director of the Negresco Hotel.

55 Wi-Fi access points with 802.11ac standard

A study of the different available solutions was therefore carried out, and the solution proposed by Aruba was finally adopted. One week was enough to install the new equipment.

The solution is based on 10 Aruba IAP-325 Wi-Fi access points installed in reception areas such as the lobby and lounges, and 45 Aruba IAP-205 Wi-Fi access points installed on the floors to cover the rooms.

The distribution layer is ensured by Aruba 2530 PoE+ switches. The entire infrastructure is supervised by Aruba’s AirWave.

Five SSIDs configured on the wireless network

The IAP-325 and IAP-205 access points support the 802.11ac standard and manage both frequency bands of 2.4 and 5 GHz, with a maximum data rate of 1733 and 867 Mbps respectively on the 5 GHz band, and 800 and 300 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band.

Five SSIDs were configured on the network. The first, controlled by an Ucopia captive portal, provides Internet access to customers; the second is for occasional visitors; the third allows access to the internal network of the hotel; and the last two are used for dedicated events in the lounges.

Input and output security

For Internet access, the hotel has two fibre-optic links of 100 Mbps in load sharing. The security of the links is ensured at the input with filtering at the Ucopia portal, and at the output with a hardware key.

The network is accessed mainly from mobile devices, for Internet browsing and VoIP applications such as Skype or Facetime.

Very fast deployment of access points

The IAP-325 and IAP-205 APs use Aruba’s Instant technology, the only one on the market that does not require a central controller. A single master access point serves as a controller for all the others. Very simple to implement, this technology made it possible to deploy the 55 access points in only one week.

Excellent level of customer satisfaction

Guests at the hotel are full of praise for the quality of the Wi-Fi network, which remains stable and efficient at all times, even in areas with a high number of simultaneous users, or where interference previously affected the signal quality.

“Our customers expect us to offer them the best Wi-Fi network possible, wherever they are in the hotel and at any time,” notes Mr. Bibloque. “Our new infrastructure fulfils this objective perfectly.”

High-level performance

Negresco now has the fastest Wi-Fi network among all hotels in the city of Nice, according to the Hotel Wi-Fi Test website, with an effective data rate of 74 Mbps.

“The data rates and coverage provided by the IAP-325 and IAP-205 access points allow for frequent management of up to 50 simultaneous connections and eliminate any risk of bandwidth saturation. The level of customer satisfaction is excellent,” emphasises Mr. Bibloque.

Automatic management of radio channels

Thanks to Aruba Instant technology, the IA-P325 and IAP-205 access points continuously optimize the radio signals they broadcast by automatically selecting the best possible channel in real time.

This feature is particularly effective in some areas of the hotel that are subject to many sources of interference.

“We found that some access points can switch channels up to 64 times in a day to maintain optimal signal strength,” notes Mr. Bibloque.

Proactive network supervision

Aruba Airwave enables the hotel’s IT department to proactively monitor the network by optimising its performance.

By relying on granular network visibility and control, administrators are able to proactively monitor the status and performance of all connected devices, and resolve connectivity issues before they occur.

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