Large-scale wireless access point installation time reduced by 60 hours with IDEAL Networks tester


Author : Molokini

05/05/2016

Hospitality sector installer Select Property Care has increased productivity during the installation of high speed internet access using the SignalTEK NT tester from IDEAL Networks. The company has transformed their installation process, completing the job in one third of the time while minimising network downtime.

Select Property Care, an installer based in Florida, USA, was recently tasked with installing 760 wireless access points and 50 HP switches at a 1400 room four-star chain hotel in Philadelphia, with only a two-man team to deliver the job. The job needed to be executed efficiently to minimise network downtime and with as little disruption to the hotel’s guests as possible.  It was also important for the installation to be completed quickly to ensure that it was profitable.

“In the past this type of job would be carried out using a laptop, tone and probe, and basic testing equipment. In order to locate where all the different cabling went and to what switches, one installer would be based in the intermediate distribution frame (IDF) closet to visually confirm when the lights went off or to tone the jacks out,” explains Josh Whicker of Select Property Care.

However, with 800 access points and complex cabling mixed IP TVs going to all of the hotel rooms, this manual method would not have allowed the job to be completed in a suitable time frame for the hotel client.  It also would have meant spending longer in the guest’s rooms to identify whether the new access point was plugged into the correct switch and its port, and potentially returning to the room later to check everything was working.

To transform the installation process, Select Property Care received the SignalTEK NT from IDEAL Networks which allowed the installers to far more easily identify where the cables went and to which switches.  With SignalTEK NT, the installers were able to simply plug in and check the data jack in the hotel room to confirm if it was pulling an expected IP address from the VLAN dedicated to the access points, as well as checking it was plugged into the correct switch.  In ten seconds or less, the SignalTEK NT provided information on which port it was plugged into and the MAC address for the switch so installers knew what needed to be unplugged and connected to the new switch

“This made a huge difference to the way we work because what used to be a two-person job could now be done more quickly, and by just one installer, and without the need to go back and forth to the IDF closet,” says Josh. “The SignalTEK NT told us where the port was on the switch so we could then verify that the equipment was active remotely.  This meant we could leave the guest room and did not need to go back – when working in a hotel you have to be fast and get in and out quickly.”

Using SignalTEK NT enabled Select Property Care to complete the job in around a third of the usual time, saving over 60 hours.  Previously work in each guest room would have taken 8 minutes, compared to just 3 minutes using SignalTEK NT, as installers could quickly check that equipment was working correctly without leaving the hotel guest room.  This minimised disruption to paying hotel guests, while the faster installation significantly reduced network downtime, helping to ensure the client’s expectations were exceeded. 

 “We recommended the SignalTEK NT for this job because it is quick to use, light weight and has a long battery life.  It is also extremely durable for busy installers,” says Tim Widdershoven, Global Marketing Manager at IDEAL Networks.  “It has been designed to be easy and quick to learn how to use the tester, despite its wide range of functions.  For example, this tester allows installers to save the results at the end of the test to offer proof to the client that the installation is working correctly – something that clients are demanding increasingly frequently.”

Josh Whicker of Select Property Care concludes “To increase productivity on this job, we needed to either invest in extra labour or better equipment.  Without investing in the SignalTEK we wouldn’t have been able to take on this job – the time taken to conduct the installation and testing would not have been profitable to the business.”

For more information on SignalTEK NT or the full range of cabling and network testers from IDEAL Networks, visit www.idealnetworks.net.

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