Overview

Project Type:
Internet Supply, Network Overhaul
Project Timeframe:
Three Months

Stuck for decent service, Daniel Tilton from Next Generation Holiday parks reached out to see if we could help him achieve a reliable internet supply with enough capacity to support the influx of summer tourists at their Top 10 Holiday Park in Motutere Bay.

We travelled down to get a feel for their situation and establish some familiarity about their existing setup and layout. There were certainly challenges, namely:

  • The existing environment was an untidy mixture of equipment, and this was problematic and challenging for staff to work with.

  • The internet service was supplied on a per-gigabyte basis, resulting in monthly charges that were excessive and unpredictable.

  • The internet supply was slow and unreliable, even during off-peak times.

  • CCTV and VOIP systems had been introduced but were not functioning to their full potential.

  • Over a thousand guests are expected during the peak of summer.

The park had tried different services with local providers without achieving the outcomes they had hoped for.

Bridging the Gap

Our first priority was to propose an improvement for the internet supply. We located a position at the highest point towards the rear of the park where line of sight was available through to an area with fibre availability; 27km away in Taupo. This was an excellent qualification for a dedicated wireless backhaul link, but to where in Taupo? We had to find a local business to work alongside in the hope of bringing first-world internet over the lake to Motutere Bay.

We headed to the Taupo township and began our search for a suitable building and business owner to partner with. Starting at the bottom of the township, we visited businesses and discussed our situation, generally resulting in unco-operative rejection. By the late afternoon we were feeling relatively disheartened – we had a few maybe’s, but no solid options.

Then we met Mark. Mark said yes.

With Mark on board we put a bespoke design proposal to Daniel which covered the build of a dedicated backhaul wireless link from Motutere Bay to a fibre connection in Taupo, a secondary failover internet link, protection for backup power at each end and all other equipment required to construct the service. Daniel’s technical experience allowed him to visualise our design, and our plan was approved.

Construction began in the middle of the off-season; generally, a time of unpredictable weather. Fortunately the tower build and fibre provisioning were ahead of schedule and our deployment ran smoothly.

At a glance, our link solution comprised of:

  • Cisco Meraki for the network security and failover management.

  • Ubiquiti AirFiber for the 27 kilometres of backhaul point-to-point link to Taupo.

  • Secondary 4G failover internet service.

  • APC Online double-conversion UPS’s for power protection.

  • Ubiquiti AirMax AC radio links for inter-park backhaul.

  • Ubiquiti Edgeswitch’s for core distribution.

  • Rugged outdoor communications enclosures.

Using enterprise equipment gave us confidence where it counts –  we knew our solution would be reliable.

We’d faced some major challenges during the design and planning phase of this project, especially locating a partner in the Taupo township. Having understood the lack options available in Motutere Bay there was desire and determination from our team to help – something needed to be done. We’re proud of our attitude and the success was a rewarding result!

Simple Changes

The next stage gave attention to the internal network. This was a mess of cables, a mix of brands and an over complicated setup… mostly housed on the floor under the office desk. A nightmare for the staff and their Australia-based I.T. support provider to work with when diagnosing problems or making changes. Having solid experience meant that we could quickly interoperate the workings of the network, and design a simpler solution quickly.

With plenty of space in the ceiling void the office building was quickly re-wired and a cabinet was fitted to enclose the networking equipment. All of the old equipment was made redundant, and the new cabinet protected equipment from power fluctuations with additional battery backup.

We then took care of the upgrades for guests around the park – faster backhaul, and better outdoor wireless access points. Ubiquiti’s Unifi platform was perfect for this job; great management capabilities, rock solid performance and perfect for large quantities of users at an affordable price point.

With the flick of a switch we completely changed the guest experience. Gone were the days of access coupons, speed/quantity limits and paid extensions; all of which frustrated guests. The new service is fast, unlimited and totally intuitive.

The staff were quick to notice too; they were immediately grateful for the change in guest behaviour. No longer were disgruntled guests queuing at reception to complain of issues with Wi-Fi codes, device compatibility or warnings and errors. Feedback was excellent.

We put in some long hours in the delivery of this special project (especially during the early stages), but it’s fair to say we completely turned around the network experience at the park in time for the 2018/2019 summer period. Daniel’s investment means that both the management team and guests are better satisfied, and he is now able to take full advantage of better technology such as the VOIP platform used across their other sites. The ongoing costs are not only consistent, but they are also substantially lower. Their I.T. provider is pleased to have a simplified setup with increased capacity, and the guests enjoy the best experience.

Overall, this project was a big decision and the result has been a major success for Daniel and his team!