Ruckus Wireless Selected by HarborLink Network to Supply Smart Hotspot System for BP Gas Stations Across the Country
Free Wi-Fi Service Gives Thousands of BP Branded Marketers the Opportunity to Offer Customers “A Little Better Gas Station”
SUNNYVALE, CA – Ruckus Wireless™ has been selected by HarborLink Network to provide advanced Smart Wi-Fi products to create the first nationwide managed “Smartspot” infrastructure.
Smartspots are the next phase of Wi-Fi hotspots that provide sophisticated Wi-Fi services such as enhanced multimedia support, extended signal range, increase reliability and automatic “phone-home” remote management capabilities.
The smart hotspot network is being used by BP North America to give BP branded marketers the opportunity to offer free Wi-Fi services as part of a creative program to “build a little better gas station.” Through its BP branded marketers, BP North America boasts over 9,000 gas stations and truck stops throughout the United States and Canada.
“With so many Wi-Fi-enabled devices now in consumers’ hands, retail outlets of all shapes and sizes see offering Wi-Fi services as a way to attract new customers and keep them longer,” said Rick Tangeman, president of HarborLink Network, a national provider of hotspot, access and integration services. “The problem is that simply throwing up consumer access points doesn’t work. Conventional Wi-Fi technology hasn’t kept pace with these multimedia devices and applications or the need for more robust remote management.”
HarborLink requirements were to provide BP North America with an affordable turnkey Wi-Fi system that could be mailed to gas station owners, installed in under three minutes and pay for itself in a matter of months.
For BP branded marketers, offering free Smart Wi-Fi services means attracting more customers that stay longer – enabling new sources of revenue through the promotion of activities, sundries, food and other services available at each location. BP also wanted to provide localized content about promotions, activities and other services of interest to patrons.
And because of the potential scale of the project, HarborLink needed a way to centrally manage and automatically administer thousands of remote access points without having to purchase any additional networking equipment.
“It was a tall task to design such as massive infrastructure that could provide sophisticated Wi-Fi services but still be centrally managed and cost-effectively deployed,” said Tangeman. “BP challenged us to create and deliver a smarter Wi-Fi system that could be sent to BP branded marketers and easily installed by anyone. And it had to be extremely affordable but also carrier-class - offering advanced services, extensive coverage, reliable connectivity and remote management. We were hard pressed to find anything that could fit the bill.”
Smarter Wi-Fi Drives Smarter Hotspots
HarborLink turned to Ruckus Wireless and its ZoneFlex Smart Wi-Fi system to create the first nationwide Smartspot service with BP North America as one of its first customers.
Using the Ruckus ZoneFlex 2942, HarborLink created a pre-configured turnkey Smart Wi-Fi package that could be sent to BP branded marketers and easily installed in a matter of minutes. Once deployed, each ZoneFlex 2942 automatically connects to the Ruckus FlexMaster Wi-Fi management system to update its status, download new versions of software and configuration changes without any human intervention. FlexMaster is used to manage and maintain AP and client connectivity and general Wi-Fi network health.
“How do you provide a next generation hotspot services without local people having to do anything? This was the issue,” said Tangeman. “With the Ruckus ZoneFlex Smart Wi-Fi APs and FlexMaster management system, we were able to create a much smarter hotspot network that could automatically redirect users to centralized ad servers where localized content could be easily delivered.”
Using automatic redirection features, the Ruckus ZoneFlex 2942 ties directly into HarborLink’s central authentication system and advertising platform where dynamic content, full-motion video and user-specific ads are inserted into custom landing pages based on geographic location.
Multiple SSIDs on each ZoneFlex Smart Wi-Fi AP allows BP branded marketers to operate additional Wi-Fi networks for their own use and advanced capacity thresholds maintain user fairness by limiting the amount of bandwidth any given user can consume.
Unlike traditional Wi-Fi technology, Ruckus ZoneFlex APs integrate a smart antenna array that routes Wi-Fi signals around interference to provide better range and reliability to support multimedia-rich content.
“Combining state-of-the-art Wi-Fi technology with robust and scalable remote management opens the door to a whole new world of Wi-Fi services that, until now, just haven’t been possible,” Tangeman concluded. HarborLink Network is also rolling out Smartspots nationwide with the Buffalo Wings Grill and Bar using Ruckus ZoneFlex Smart Wi-Fi products and technology.
Headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, HarborLink Network is a national provider of hotspot, access, integration and network management services. Founded in 1999, the company currently operates over 550 hotspots in 38 states delivering full motion video, banner advertising and localized content and offering authentication and hotspot management services.
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