Case Study - Arambrook Hotel
By offering superior, luxury accommodation in Cape Town for the discerning traveller, Arambrook Boutique Hotel in Cape Town is focused on personalised service in a relaxed, discrete setting. Nothing is too much trouble here, and every whim is catered for.
As one of the finest hotels in Bishops Court, it’s the perfect location for luxury accommodation as well as being a premium event venue in Cape Town for weddings, conferences and special occasions.
In 2018 the owner of Arambrook hotel, Ari Zelezniak decided to convert his existing accommodation located in Bishops Court into a state of the art, ultra-modern, luxury boutique hotel. In keeping with this vision of a modern hotel, the IT equipment needed to be appropriate and reflect a modern IT solution, in line with the hotels brand image.
Most IT solutions (networks, servers) are based around having a cable LAN network that spans throughout the building, but because of the physical design and architecture of this building, it was not going to be easy to install this type of cabled network to all locations. The predominant technology for lan deployment would be via wireless.
Also having cables visible throughout the building was not in line with the required buildings aesthetics of being a “ultra-modern” hotel. Hence it was decided to look at implementing a high end, advanced wireless network as much as possible, around which the IT functions of the hotel would be managed.
The owner and management of Arambrook wished to maximise the capability of latest technology methodologies, while minimising its intrusion on the eye.
Hence it was decided to add core network ducting infrastructure early on in the building process that would run throughout the spine of the building onto which strategically added wireless devices could later be connected. This cabling ducting infrastructure/trunking was added while the building was being renovated.
This took a lot of planning to ensure that all future IT requirements for connectivity were catered for. Hence early on in the building process, network cable locations were identified and added throughout the building to these various locations and back to a central IT room cabinet.
In all terminating locations (office, bedrooms), two network cables were installed for possible use later on, although all installed cables were not used.
Only a fraction of cables where APs could actually be connected to were used (once it had been decided where to deploy APs) , while the others left disconnected for possible future deployment. This also allowed flexibility for moving APs around should a wireless dead zone be found or coverage needed to be tweaked.
Cabling for cameras at defined locations was also added throughout the site (as cabling rather than wireless was preferred).
All installed network cables were routed and terminated back at the IT room cabinet.
At the core of the network in the IT room, a Cisco layer 3 switch was used to route and manage traffic and the network was linked to the internet using a Cyberoam UTM, which also added protection for the network.
Two high speed 100 Mbps fibre connections were used to connect the internet - Vox (ISP) being the primary link and Telkom (ISP) acting as a secondary and as a backup.
Traffic throughout the Lan portion of the network was routed via an advanced wireless network and in this regard, Ruckus technology was used as arguable one of the best technologies available. A ZD1200 was centrally hosted in the IT room cabinet, connecting to 12, R310 APs deployed throughout the site.
On the Ruckus network, three wireless data vlans were created: a vlan for the staff network, a vlan for guest access to the internet and a media vlan for handing the entertainment side of the hotel. For the media vlan, MyGiga media routers were deployed throughout rooms in the hotel and used to stream typical services such as Netflix, Showmax, Amazon Prime etc onto modern Samsung flat screen TVs.
A 4th vlan was created for the voice technology deployed by Vox (ISP). Again for this solution, wireless technology was used so that a several Voip wireless base stations were deployed throughout the hotel alongside the Ruckus APs. Calls management was controlled by an offsite hosted PBX and guest and staff used wireless handsets.
The 5th vlan was for cameras and security equipment. Hence there was a total of 5 wireless vlans deployed throughout the site.
It was also decided to utilise cloud solutions as much as possible for necessary hotel services such as email (365) and booking systems, so no actual onsite servers were deployed.
A 3 KVA UPS was deployed in the IT room to keep equipment up and running during outages.