Case: MacArthur Place

Result: Sunray provided a unique outdoor mesh solution for a luxurious hotel & spa in Sonoma, California.

Project Overview

Located in the beautiful Sonoma Valley Wine Country, four blocks from historic Sonoma Plaza, MacArthur Place is a luxurious 64-room hotel and spa set in the midst of wineries, fine dining, shops, and unique galleries. Just a short 15-minute drive from the Napa Valley and forty-five minutes from San Francisco, the Inn is convenient to both Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley wineries.

Originally a prestigious 300 hundred-acre vineyards and working ranch with prized trotters, the lush 19th century estate has been transformed into a luxurious inn and spa. MacArthur Place is set among seven acres of spectacular gardens filled with original sculpture. Flagstone walkways lead guests past hedgerows, fountains and benches to a heated pool and whirlpool.

After years of listening to numerous guest complaints, the hotels Director of Operations sought an upgrade to the resorts guest room WiFi network in 2010. The hotels existing solution was not designed to meet the challenges presented by the properties unique layout, offering very limited coverage, over-amplified access points and very low throughput capabilities.

"The hotels existing solution was not designed to meet the challenges presented by the properties unique layout..."

The Challenge

The resort layout consists of detached guest rooms, suites and cottages and was not built with wired ethernet to supplement guest HSIA usage. Additionally, the property is abundant with mature vegetation, which always presents a challenge when dealing with radio frequency.

“Several years ago we had a wireless Internet system installed by another provider. The system worked in some areas of the hotel, but not everywhere. Our staff had difficulty keeping up with troubleshooting and our guests were often left with slow internet speeds or no connectivity at all." explains Kevin Virgo, Director of Operations for MacArthur Place. "We knew that we needed a new solution for wireless, but due to the nature of our 7 acre property, we were told by two different wireless installers that it would be impossible to install a functional property-wide wireless system.”

The hotel was using a 4 year old, over-amplified, outdoor wireless solution that was never properly designed and/or properly integrated, which produced weak coverage and extremely slow download speeds in areas that did show coverage.

The two requirements for the new wireless system were:

  • Achieve 100% WiFi coverage for hotel guest Internet access throughout areas identified by hotel staff
  • Dramatically reduce guest room connection complaints

To meet these requirements, Sunray needed to select and design an outdoor WiFi solution that could create a rock-solid reliable mesh and could be successful in overcoming the unique problems presented by the landscape of the property.

Our Recommendations

The design Sunray settled on was one that used a Ruckus (ZoneFlex 7762) outdoor, dual-radio; 802.11n mesh access-point solution with a ZoneDirector WLAN controller. Using rooftop resources, Sunray was able install all of the wireless access points in a manner that optimized coverage for both the guests and for the mesh communication between devices.

The Sunray Solution

  • Reach 100% network coverage throughout the guest rooms, meeting rooms and common areas
  • Dramatically reduce guest complaints
  • Increase bandwidth throughput
  • Ease network monitoring and management
  • Improve operational flexibility

The Results

The end result was 100% 802.11a/g/n coverage in all guest rooms, meeting rooms and common areas; terrific SNR levels and controller features that helped mitigate RF interference. With the use of a controller based WiFi network from Ruckus, the hotel was able to accomplish their goals on target and within budget.

“We were very surprised when Sunray told us that a wireless system would, in fact, work very well at MacArthur Place. Never once was the layout, size, or number of buildings and trees on our property perceived as a challenge. After designing a plan for the hotel, the install of our wireless network was done quickly and efficiently. I have personally tested the system and have been able to connect to the Internet in every guest room, the swimming pool area, the meeting space, the gardens, and even the parking lot (and the other parking lot which is on the farthest acre). The support from Sunray is excellent and our staff has confidence that troubleshooting will be simple for our guests. Sunray took a challenge to our staff and guests and turned it into an amenity that we are extremely proud of. Now one year later, we can't believe that we ever lived without the system that Sunray installed for us. In my opinion, it is literally one of the best improvements made to the hotel since our opening.” said an elated Kevin Virgo.

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