Last Wednesday, April 11th, Aerohive Networks announced that Val Thorens, the highest ski resort in Europe, has deployed Aerohive’s WLAN solution at its ski lifts. In doing so, tourists can use free Wi-Fi rather than incur expensive 3G roaming costs.
The resort already had a Wi-Fi network for internal administrative use, but wanted to expand the network to offer skiers internet access whilst on the slopes. "We want to offer visitors the best services to facilitate their stay in the resort. We are anticipating their needs by offering them access to Wi-Fi on the ski lifts", says Eric Bonnel, Sales and Marketing Director of ski lift company SETAM.
A pilot of the technology was subsequently deployed by reseller and IT partner to Soluceo, Scientific Equipment, in December 2010, to three ski lifts. The deployment took just one day, including configuration.
This was followed by a full roll-out to a further nine ski lifts in November 2011. The solution includes the HiveManager Virtual Management Appliance on VMware and HiveAP340s. It also supports Val Thoren’s Netinary internet control application. The Aerohive deployment has the capacity to support 10,000 devices, concurrently, on the network. As the popularity of the free Wi-Fiservice grows, Val Thorens is assured of the network’s resilience and consistency and quality of service. The HiveAP340 is also especially situable for use on the ski slopes – its water resistance rating, internal thermal management, sunshield and outdoor enclosure isdesigned for sub-zero temperatures.
"Thanks to its easy deployment and use, we can anticipate future upgrades to our solution with no additional investment", adds Elvis Hudry, SETAM Networks and Systems Administrator, who is in charge of the project.
In place for a year, the service has been quickly adopted by tourists, as evidenced by the steadily increasing connection rate – up 30% in January 2012 on January 2011. Accessible to tourists from 8am to 5pm, the resort now sees around one hundred connections a day with each one averaging 10 minutes. The wireless LAN will soon be extended to the neighbouring Orelle resort, to allow tourists to connect from a restaurant terrace.