Community Center Case Study

City of Airdrie - Alberta, Canada

Long-Range Indoor Wireless Access Points
Located just north of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, the City of Airdrie is one of the fastest growing communities in Canada. Covering an area of nearly 34 square kilometers, the city has a population of more than 43,000 people and provides a small-town lifestyle with a full complement of big-city amenities. The local economy includes local and regional retail, construction, manufacturing, and professional services.

The Need: An Affordable Wireless Network Infrastructure Solution

According to Paul Hurst, Network Administrator for City of Airdrie, the city’s municipal buildings and Emergency Operations Center needed wireless Internet access, but budget was an issue. “We were continuously asked to implement a Wi-Fi network for our visitors, guests and corporate users, but due to budget constraints we needed a solution that would be economical,” Hurst explained.

In addition, Hurst said that the design of the wireless access points was also an important factor as he wanted an unobtrusive solution that he would be able to hide in plain sight.

The Solution: EnGenius EAP3660 and EAP9550 Wireless Access Points

Through his exhaustive research of potential wireless infrastructure solutions, Hurst concluded that the EAP3660 802.11g high-power 600mW wireless access point and EAP9550 wireless-N 300Mbps access point were the ideal solutions. While noting that the smoke detector-like design was a key reason for selecting the EnGenius access points, Hurst also indicated other product differentiators including the affordable price point, multiple SSID capability, SNMP support, VLAN tagging, RADIUS authentication, and Auto Reboot (Self-Healing) that set the EnGenius solutions apart from the competition.

In addition to providing wireless Internet connectivity throughout Airdrie’s municipal buildings, Hurst deployed the wireless access points to support the city’s emergency response.

EnGenius access points were installed in the new Emergency Operations Center, a centralized incident-activated center that allows for local, provincial, and federal response organizations, along with the contractors and subject matter experts, to converge and collaborate in response to incidents.

Taking wireless Internet connectivity to the next level in emergency response, Hurst deployed the access points into a mobile platform. “We are utilizing the EnGenius access points inside a fire department response vehicle which provides subject matter experts and third-party contractors with the ability to leverage our mobile meshing network via Wi-Fi hotspots to access resources from the vehicle.”

The Results: Reliable Wireless Connectivity Inside City Buildings and Out on the Road

Deployment of the wireless access points was smooth, and they have been performing reliably ever since. “Since implementing the solution, we have adopted tablets, iPads and other wireless devices that utilize the new infrastructure,” explained Hurst. “The access points have become critical to the operations of the business.”

The cost savings and performance enhancements provided by the use of the EnGenius solution were very apparent in the Emergency Operations Center. “By implementing the EnGenius access points, we allow for 60 potential wireless devices to be used in the EOC along with 30 wired devices,” Hurst said. “The cost for this solution was less than $200 and it would have typically been a $2,000 implementation using a competing product.”

Proving the value of deploying the EnGenius wireless access points in both fixed and mobile environments has continued to foster Hurst’s creativity and innovative spirit. In Hurst’s next round of projects, he plans to install EnGenius access points in other types of emergency response vehicles, creating Wi-Fi hotspots that will provide first responders with instant access to Internet-based resources using their own mobile devices during times of crisis.

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