Farnham Castle deploys self-adjusting wireless internet access

Staff at Farnham Castle Conference Centre in Surrey have overcome challenges at the 900-year-old site by implementing a self-regulating wireless network to meet visitor demand for access to the internet throughout the venue.

Staff at Farnham Castle Conference Centre in Surrey have overcome challenges at the 900-year-old site by implementing a self-regulating wireless network to meet visitor demand for access to the internet throughout the venue.

The challenge was providing a local area network with reliable connectivity despite stone walls of up to three metres thick in places, and at the same time using as few wireless access points as possible to meet strict English Heritage guidelines, said Matthew MacLachlan, IT support manager at Farnham Castle.

The conference centre chose Aruba Networks because of its ability to overcome site restrictions and meet security requirements.

The Aruba system offered enhanced security by securing traffic between the access points and the core switch as well as between laptop computers and the access points, and includes adaptive radio management software, which automatically adjusts the frequency and power of the access points as required.

"This feature is particularly good at delivering a quality signal in what we thought would be a very difficult environment," said MacLachlan.

The management software enables the system to respond to peaks in demand or even a failure of one of the access points.

The wireless network at Farnham Castle is made up of an Aruba controller and 10 access points, which provide internet access in 15 meeting rooms, 32 guest rooms and the Great Hall in the castle grounds.

"The system is extremely easy to use from an administrative point of view. No expertise is required. All staff have to do is give visitors a user name and password and the system does the rest," said MacLachlan.

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