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Le Pain Quotidien serves Smart Wi-Fi

By Retail Technology | Monday October 21 2013

International bakery creates new recipe for streamlined US retail operations, improved business processes and faster customer service with new Wi-Fi service and support

Le Pain Quotidien has selected Ruckus Wireless to supply it with Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi products and technology for use within its corporate headquarters and bakery stores across the US.

The international bakery retailer operates more than 185 bakery-café locations worldwide in 17 countries. It wanted to better use wireless communications to improve the customer experience while increasing the efficiency of its operations. It also saw Wi-Fi as a good way to attract and keep customers more engaged with the opportunity to use Wi-Fi analytics to provide insight into innovative new services in the future.
 
To improve service efficiency and guest access, Le Pain Quotidien is standardising on Ruckus ZoneFlex dual-band 802.11n Smart Wi-Fi indoor and outdoor access points (APs) in its US retail locations. The Smart Wi-Fi products are being used to support line-of-business applications such as instore electronic point-of-sale (PoS) systems that give staff greater flexibility and a better way to take orders, settle bills and provide better service levels.
 
“Given the unprecedented use of smart mobile devices within nearly every facet of our society, we view Wi-Fi not only as a competitive necessity but more importantly as a strategic utility that can be used in a myriad of ways to improve the operation of our business,” said Cezary Moroz, IT director for Le Pain Quotidien. “The problem is we found that not all Wi-Fi is created equal.”

Le Pain Quotidien’s previous experience with Wi-Fi had reportedly left a “bad taste in our mouth,” as the legacy system installed was unstable, often requiring staff to reset the system as more users tried to connect. The system also didn’t provide dynamic assignment of wireless traffic to the appropriate virtual local area network (VLAN) and could not be centrally managed.

Modern wireless communications
 
“What we needed was a more industrial strength, Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant Wi-Fi system that not only was easy to manage from a single point but also one that would provide an exceptional wireless experience with consistent performance to multiple user groups, especially as environmental conditions changed,” said Raymond Stensholt, IT manager for Le Pain Quotidien. ”We found the Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi system to be one of the only WLAN [wireless LAN] solutions to really address these requirements head on.”
 
”We understand how our customers work, live and play as well as the role that wireless technology has in their lives,” added Moroz. “As a result, we have found that providing fast and reliable Wi-Fi has both a direct and indirect impact in increasing revenue. Interference, coverage and reliable connectivity were also becoming real issues for us.”
 
“We needed a Wi-Fi system that could handle a large number of concurrent user connections, extend signal range, maintain stable connections and deliver higher aggregate throughput,” explained Stensholt. “Yet when it came to each vendor’s offerings, these requirements seemed to compete against each other.”
 
Smarter Wi-Fi to the rescue
 
Consequently, Le Pain Quotidien tested and selected the Ruckus ZoneFlex Smart Wi-Fi system for its corporate headquarters and retail operations. “For us, there were three key differentiators with the Ruckus system that we just couldn’t find elsewhere: 1) a more robust PCI implementation, 2) stronger Wi-Fi signals and, 3) its ease of deployment and use,” said Stensholt.
 
Depending on the location, Le Pain Quotidien is deploying one or more Ruckus ZoneFlex 7372 dual-stream, dual-band indoor access points, as well as Ruckus ZoneFlex 7762 outdoor APs if needed. The APs connect to redundant Ruckus ZoneDirector 3000 Series WLAN controllers in the company’s data centre over Internet Protocol security (IPsec) connections. The Ruckus APs provide multiple service set identities (SSIDs), each of which are tied to a specific VLAN. 

Good infrastructure fit

“One of the nice things about the solution was that it fit perfectly into our existing infrastructure and was able to automatically place tag traffic with the right VLAN assignment based on what wireless LAN the user was connecting to,” added Stensholt. “That along with superior RF [radio frequency] technology made our decision very simple.”
 
Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi access points integrate patented Ruckus BeamFlex+ adaptive antenna array technology that directs RF energy toward each client, continually picking the fastest path for each packet. The wireless technology company said this provides greater coverage and the ability to deliver stronger Wi-Fi signals to users, even as environmental conditions change. 

The antenna arrays in Ruckus APs also use dual-polarisation to allow signals to be transmitted and received at different angles, enabling more consistent Wi-Fi connectivity to mobile devices, such as tablets, which constantly change orientation. Ruckus added that its adaptive antenna arrays also support ChannelFly, its proprietary dynamic channel assignment technology that uses channel performance determinations to increase overall system capacity. All of these capabilities are performed in each Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi AP without any centralised controller input.

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