Yas Mall taps Aruba for Wi-Fi network

Abu Dhabi based destination seeks to enhance retail experience with fast and easy wireless access

Tags: Aruba NetworksUnited Arab Emirates
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Yas Mall taps Aruba for Wi-Fi network Feras says the next phase involves the integration of social media platforms with the wireless technology.
By  David Ndichu Published  January 21, 2016

Yas Mall, in Abu Dhabi has deployed an integrated wireless networking solution from Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.

The deployment includes Access Points (APs), mobility controllers, guest management and reporting and monitoring tools to provide visitors secure, seamless, high-speed, wireless internet connectivity across 2.5 million square feet of the mall. The implementation that was carried out by MDS Systems Integration, a UAE-based system integration partner of Aruba, has set up a platform for future deployment of new mobile engagement solutions, the company says.

Thousands of shoppers visiting Yas Mall depend on mobile apps to communicate, share their experiences on social media, and browse the internet. The Mall also has an official app that offers information on stores, entertainment, events and other important details at the mall.

Feras Al Atari, IT Manager at Yas Mall says the increasing usage of smartphones by shoppers, fast and easy access to Wi-Fi would be a significant contributor to a positive retail experience. “Yas Mall is proud to welcome thousands of visitors every day and so consequentially it’s crucial that our bandwidth capacity can tender to all of the guests without disruptions. Through our advanced wireless services, Yas Mall delivers to its customers the ability to maintain seamless communications and share their experiences with their friends and family, and they can remain connected at all times,” said Feras.

To ensure that the wireless solution meets the requirements of its customers, while also serving as a platform for future innovation, Feras and his team decided to leverage 802.11ac technology. According to Feras, Aruba’s leadership in this domain that made it a clear choice for the project. Ease of access and reliability were also major criteria for selection and Aruba’s solutions checked these boxes as well.  “Aruba is a market leader in providing wireless solutions and we were keen to partner with them in improving our customers’ experience,” continues Feras.

To support the high-density of simultaneous connections, Aruba’s 220-series 802.11ac APs were selected. For the mall, a standout feature of these APs was the in-built ClientMatch technology that automatically shifts client devices to the best AP, giving users a consistently high quality of coverage as they roam through the expanse of the property.

With an area of over 2.5 million square feet, the mall’s large size meant it would be impractical for the IT team to manually set up, configure and maintain the Access Points (APs). And thanks to the mall’s high daily visitor footfall, such manual intervention would no doubt cause inconvenience to shoppers. To overcome this, the team decided to utilize Aruba’s 7200 series Mobility Controller which not only eliminates manual configuration of individual APs, but also automates software updates of all APs on the network. Aruba's AirWave Network Management platform was also implemented as it would give administrators detailed metrics and insight into the Wi-Fi network, thus allowing them to proactively plan for capacity, visualize client performance and troubleshoot application issues.

The new system provides 1.3 Gbps capacity which more than meets shoppers’ requirements and expectations. Because of ClientMatch, they also have the ability to roam through the massive property without facing any drop in coverage or performance. The speed and ease of use has made the free Wi-Fi service extremely popular, according to Feras. “We believe that the Aruba solution will enable more customers to use our public Wi-Fi and allow Yas Mall to deliver new features and capabilities to our customers and retailers,” noted Feras.

As mobile engagement continues to evolve and play an increasingly significant role in the retail industry, Yas Mall is keen to stay ahead of the curve. Central to this strategy will be Aruba’s WLAN solution which Feras calls a ‘platform for innovation’.

“We are already working with Aruba on the next phase which is a unique project that will be implemented for the first time in Abu Dhabi. It involves the integration of social media platforms with our wireless technology,” said Feras.

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