Project Description

Wi-Fi

Working unplugged: Holiday Extras plans a wireless future with Apple.

The Organisation

Holiday Extras is the UK number one for pre-booked airport hotels and airport parking, taking bookings for over 7 million travellers each year. The company has been listed seven times in The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For and was awarded 19th place in 2013.

The company offers a wide choice of holiday add-ons, including UK airport parking, airport hotels, airport lounges and holiday insurance.

The Challenge

“We take the hassle. You take the holiday.” Holiday Extras’ business philosophy is enshrined in its strapline.

It’s a company specialising in the peripherals of holiday travel: holiday insurance, UK airport hotels and parking, VIP lounges and all the other fine details of a trip, which may not be covered when you book your flights and accommodation.

The company is technology-driven, with 90% of its bookings coming via its website. It’s also people-driven; Holiday Extras regularly appears in the Sunday Times list of the Top 100 Companies to Work For.

Perhaps part of that people focus is reflected in the fact that the business has embraced flexible working as a philosophy from the earliest days of the phenomenon. It’s an Apple-based business anyway, so its infrastructure was fully adapted to supporting the iPhone and then the iPad when they first appeared.

Rising demand for connections and bandwidth.

Over the past year, the infrastructure has begun to struggle with increasing demand for connections and bandwidth. The business has grown, but the number of devices people are bringing into the business has grown still further.

A year ago, we might typically see 120 or so different connections in a day,” says Gary Savill, IT Operations Manager for Holiday Extras. “Now it’s more like 200 connections.

At the same, the volume of data they are consuming is four or five times more than it was just a year ago. Video, telephone calls and just the general rise in network-based activity put our infrastructure under real strain.

It was clearly time for a change.”

As an Apple-based organisation, Holiday Extras needed an Apple specialist to help with its migration to a new infrastructure. We’re part of the Apple Consultants Network and offered all the skills needed for the project.

The Solution

The wireless infrastructure is based on Aerohive’s controller-less architecture, with HiveManager Online, running HiveOS 6.1, providing a cloud-based management service.

Aerohive’s Application Visibility and Control feature gives Gary Savill and his team greater visibility of the activity on the network. They can keep track of what’s happening from day to day, and build a clearer picture of what changes may be required to accommodate new patterns of demand.

This can include prioritising bandwidth for key business applications such as VoIP, and pushing non-critical services including personal social networks lower down the list.

Guests can have controlled access to the network, through a secure portal. Although most devices are Apple, the open architecture means that Android, Windows and BlackBerry smartphones and tablets can all connect.

Secure, managed apps.

HiveOS 6.1 features application firewall capabilities, that support the ability to block or permit access to over 1,000 applications based on user context – identity, device type, location and time. So a manager running a corporate app at home, out of office hours, can have all the access he or she needs. On the other hand, a contractor in the office, who attempts to stream content through an insecure app during working hours, will find his access blocked – and his card marked.

Bonjour, wireless office.

Holiday Extras has also deployed Aerohive’s Bonjour Gateway. This simplifies the connection of peripherals, including the Apple TVs used in the meeting rooms.

We’re aiming for an office without wires,” says Gary Savill. “These days, people are routinely using mobile technologies to work at their desktops, as well as on the move. At the same time, battery life is much less of an issue. So even power cables are becoming an unusual sight.”

VoIP QoS and Radius integration.

Aerohive supports excellent Quality of Service for the VoIP deployment. The old wired phone system is also obsolete at Holiday Extras.

Management of the Aerohive GRE and VLAN is via a new Radius server. The Holiday Extras team worked with our experts to integrate the server with the new network installation.

The Result

Holiday Extras really push their infrastructure,” says Tim Dinsmore, Technical Director for Appurity. “Our initial survey and design discussions indicated that the open plan office layout was ideal for a high density Wi-Fi deployment.

But the solution had to scale, so we designed it based on Aerohive AP330 high power APs, which allowed for maximum throughput and gave plenty of scope for additional capacity. Throughout the deployment, and during post-installation support, we worked closely with Holiday Extras to ensure we delivered on-time and met their requirements.”

Our new Aerohive infrastructure has answered a lot of questions for us,” says Gary Savill. “We were looking for a scalable and flexible way forward, and the cloud-based management and open architecture of Aerohive has given us that.

We’ve got higher throughput and greater resilience. We’ve also got the scope to extend the network and its management out to more offices, in the UK and Europe.

“Appurity gave us the support and insight we needed at every step,” he adds. “Their experience and expertise with Apple and Aerohive technologies gave us the combination of skills we needed to roll out the solution we wanted.”

Technologies used

Device management

Whether your organisation opts for a public or private cloud solution, our Aerohive solutions to match all your requirements

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Device integration

Appurity can help you seamlessly integrate mobile devices into your wireless infrastructure – without cumbersome authentication methods – making it easier for your people to access Wi-Fi.

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Appurity are part of the Apple Consultants Network and has met the strict requirements for inclusion in the program. Consultants maintain comprehensive, up-to-date knowledge of Apple products and services, to ensure they continually provide the best possible solutions for their customers.

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