Ruckus Wireless and Equinox Telecom Transform the USS Midway Museum into Wireless Wonderland
Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi Delivers Ubiquitous High-Speed Wi-Fi and Location-Aware Support to help Redefine the Museum Experience for Millions of Visitors in One of the Most Challenging RF Environments
SAN DIEGO, CA – September 28, 2015 – Ruckus Wireless, Inc. (NYSE: RKUS), in partnership with Equinox Telecom, a leading global supplier of advanced networking systems and services, announced today that it has been selected by the USS Midway Museum to supply next generation 802.11ac Smart Wi-Fi products and technology to transform the visitor experience and guest engagement at one of the most visited maritime museums in the world.
The length of three football fields, the USS Midway, the longest-serving aircraft carrier of the twentieth century now docked in San Diego Bay, is as high as a 20-story building, weighing almost 70,000 tons with more than 200 exhibits, nine classrooms, shops and retail operations. The carrier contains 2,000 compartments. The surface of the flight deck alone covers more than 4 acres.
Serving millions of visitors since opening, the USS Midway viewed reliable and pervasive Wi-Fi as an essential utility to enhance the customer experience in a variety of ways. But given its location, size and solid-steel construction, delivering a robust wireless service was a huge challenge. The USS Midway wanted to give guests the ability to post their experiences in real-time to social media outlets from anywhere within the facility as well as to use their own smart mobile devices to access engaging content based on their location within the museum. Previously this hadn’t been possible.
“The big problem we had was obvious,” said Joe Gursky, Director of Information Technology at the USS Midway. Because this is effectively a massive floating metal box constructed of the most RF-unfriendly materials you can imagine, we found it extremely challenging to deploy a reliable and ubiquitous Wi-Fi infrastructure capable of delivering all services we needed while supporting future services that would add tremendous value to the visitor experience.”
Consequently, the USS Midway began an ambitious project to install the most advanced Wi-Fi technology available throughout all areas of the USS Midway. After evaluating a number of Wi-Fi products and technologies from Cisco, Aerohive and others, the USS Midway selected and began deploying Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi.
The USS Midway needed a solid wireless system that was going to perform in a very unusual environment. Because of the way its legacy Wi-Fi system was designed, unless visitors were right next to an access point it was almost impossible to maintain a consistent connection as signals interfered with each other and bounced all over the metal floors and ceilings and walls.
“Once we installed the Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi technology, those challenges disappeared, said Gursky. “This opened the door for us to begin leveraging the Wi-Fi network as an electronic utility upon which we could build. Ruckus was the only system we found that was really designed with RF in mind to deliver the highest possible strength and coverage within the most difficult environments. Our use of the technology has completely validated this. We are now able to deliver fast, reliable Wi-Fi services where we just haven’t had them before.”
The USS Midway has deployed a range of Ruckus indoor and outdoor 802.11ac Smart Wi-Fi access points. ZoneFlex™ H500 Wi-Fi Wall switch access points that support Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons have been installed within corridors to support visitor tours, way finding, two-way interaction, and the future delivery of location-ware multimedia content. USS Midway IT staff will be able to centrally manage BLE beacons and Wi-Fi access points from a single, centralized management system.
ZoneFlex R500s are being used to support the USS Midway’s flight simulator and high-capacity indoor environments, such as classroom and auditorium presentations for visiting students. ZoneFlex T300 and T301-S outdoor access points, with integrated sectorized smart antennas, are delivering reliable high-speed outdoor wireless access on the main hangar and flight decks as well as adjacent parking lots.
USS Midway is also leveraging social media login and authentication through the integration of Purple Wi-Fi with the Ruckus centralized management system. This gives visitors simple and easy access to the network while providing the USS Midway marketing staff with invaluable demographics and analytical information about visitors that allows them to better customize the guest experience.
“With such a rich portfolio of different access points and services, Ruckus gave us unique flexibility to deploy the right product in the right location to serve each specific application,” said Jorge Rossi, Director of Technology at Equinox Telecom. “If you can make Wi-Fi work well on the USS Midway, you can make it work well anywhere.”
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