Taking over Migros’ public wireless LAN (WLAN) was an exciting project for WLAN Partner: with around 1400 locations, about 25,000 access points and up to 50,000 simultaneous WLAN users, it presented a number of challenges. We are very pleased to have successfully brought the project to fruition with the Migros team.
WLAN Partner AG has been running the internal WLAN for the Swiss retail company ‘Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund’ using MGAST, MBYOD and MIOT for several years. We have now been given the opportunity to take over the public WLAN, too. Oliver Fischer, Head of Network Group IT at Migros, explains why this cooperation has been further intensified: “Having all of Migros’ public WLAN networks handled by a single operator cuts costs, simplifies support, focuses processes and, last but not least, enhances the user experience for our diverse end customers.”
Requirements and prerequisites
Several key steps were essential to implement this project smoothly. For example, operation of the Migros WiFi public WLAN and internet access provided by another party had to be replaced by provision from WLAN Partner. Moreover, registration via Migros login, SMS or voucher had to be guaranteed in all combinations, and the infrastructure within the WLAN Partner cloud-based data centre must ensure long-term operation, including internet access.
Challenges for the entire project team
As a result of the project scope, the entire project team faced a number of challenges which had to be considered during the planning stage. Many WLAN networks (SSID) had to be taken into account, many different login masks and login options (Use Cases) also had to be considered on the basis of individual requirements, and the connection to the Migros login portal had to be guaranteed with the switchover causing as little interruption as possible. Due to the high number of access points (AP), a very complex WLAN controller architecture was required.
The switchover took place on the day of the week that saw the least use and downtime was kept to a minimum – lasting only a few minutes. The extremely precise procedure and thorough preparation helped a great deal to enable a changeover that was almost uninterrupted.
The new solution offers a major advantage in that flexibility has increased in many respects. As an example, vouchers can be now generated in the sponsoring portal based on customer requests and SSID as well as registration options can be enabled per location. Further advantages include a wide range of evaluation and reporting options, as well as implementation via cloud solution.
Agreeable working relationship
For all those involved, being in direct contact with people demonstrating a very high level of technical competence and experience, and by avoiding protracted decision-making procedures, resulted in an extremely pleasant and efficient way of working. Project Manager, Group IT at Migros, Christian Seiler, emphasises: “Our cooperation with WLAN Partner was always open and solution-oriented, while competent contact persons made it possible to successfully implement the project on time and in budget.”