BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.
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22 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | MAY/JUNE 2014 WIRELESS DEPLOYMENT Minneapolis Mart Gets a Wireless Makeover A heavily trafcked building outgrew its original Wi-Fi network. The solution: enterprise-grade Wi-Fi. By Masha Zager / Broadband Communities T he Minneapolis Mart – located, despite its name, in the suburb of Minnetonka – is a vast wholesale showroom facility and premier regional mart for the upper Midwest. Its 200,000 square feet house 140 showrooms in four separate galleries, featuring home décor, accessories, gifts, jewelry and apparel merchandise. Te Mart hosts six major markets each year, each lasting three to fve days. During those periods, the building is flled with retail store buyers, checking out the next season's merchandise and continuously online with their tablets and smartphones. Because of poor cellular coverage in the area, Mart visitors depend on the building Wi-Fi for access. Consumer-grade Wi-Fi equipment, installed in the building about nine years ago, served the Mart well for a long time. However, there was only one access point in each of the four galleries. By 2012, as buyers brought more devices to the Mart and used them more intensively, the system became overloaded, and access points were locking up on a regular basis. Large groups of buyers often move together through the showrooms, and when a "wave" of buyers hit a gallery, the system could grind to a halt. Signal interference was another problem. Showroom tenants that used dedicated Internet connections for their internal systems installed separate Wi-Fi networks, and, because the number of channels available was limited, it was easy for tenant networks to interfere with the building network. Signals even got crossed between diferent tenants' networks. Mart executives engaged Minneapolis IT specialist Line Syte Inc. to upgrade the wireless network and address the congestion and interference problems. Tey wanted a system that would support the Mart for years to come – and they wanted the project done within a limited budget. Craig Moench, the president of Line Syte, knew he had to replace the existing Wi-Fi not just with a bigger system but also with a better one – enterprise-grade Wi-Fi that allowed sophisticated management and reporting, load balancing, fexible confguration and more wireless channels. After reviewing several solutions, the Line Syte team selected a wireless solution from ZyXEL. Te system includes ZyXEL's NXC5200 WLAN controller system and its NWA5123 dual-band, dual-radio, 11n access points (APs). Te APs were connected to the controller via ZyXEL's gigabit PoE Ethernet switches. Te NXC5200 WLAN controller is capable of managing up to 240 APs and has extensive management and monitoring capabilities, along with auto channel selection, distributed trafc forwarding and WPA/WPA2-Enterprise authentication to simplify deployment, boost throughput and secure the network. Along with the new Wi-Fi system, Line Syte installed dual Internet connections for higher BBC_May14.indd 22 5/29/14 9:16 AM