This significant-sized deal is the product of TP-Link’s initiatives to expand their market upmarket and to develop relationships with specialized partners who do these kinds of deals.
Networking vendor TP-Link has announced that, together with solution provider partner Profusion Technologies, they have delivered a retrofitted Wi-Fi solution to 35 hotels owned by the Sandman Hotel Group chain across Canada. The deal is the result both of TP-Link’s recent push up-market, and their focus on this kind of larger project with channel partners.
TP-Link began in 1996 with a focus on the consumer and small business space, and that is still their strength, but they have been working their way upmarket with product designed specifically for larger customers. They have expanded their range of offerings beyond the consumer and SMB spaces where they started, adding enterprise Broadcom and Qualcomm enterprise-grade chipsets to their product lineup, and also expanding the support they provide to commercial customers. A key development here was the introduction of the Omada centralized hybrid cloud platform in late 2017. It was an upgrade on their former Auranet platform, designed to centrally manage decentralized business networks.
“This initiative really started two years ago, and while we are still more of an SMB company, we have expanded into larger companies,” said Queenie Tse, channel marketing manager for TP-Link in Canada. “Last year we saw a lot of growth in the hospitality industry. We now have traditional retailers like furniture chains and home improvement chains.” Home Depot is a customer in the U.S., although not in Canada.
TP-Link sells entirely through partners, and retail is a big chunk of that, but they also have many reseller and large account reseller partners, who are the key to reaching these higher-value deals.
“While we have our regular transactional customers, a growing part of our business is working on larger projects with specialized hospitality and surveillance partners,” Tse said.
Profusion Technologies, a Burnaby B.C.-based IT support and managed services provider, is one of those specialized partners. The Sandman Hotel Group approached Profusion Technologies with specific requirements to retrofit and upgrade the guest WiFi experience for 35 of their 47 hotel properties in Canada. Profusion Technologies worked with TP-Link Canada to audit the guest WiFi networks at several locations.
A key factor here is that since 2016, TP-Link has offered a free engineering assessment with any commercial product.
“TP-Link provides a free wireless network survey service to help businesses improve their current networking infrastructure and connections,” Tse said. “After an audit, an engineer will use the information to provide recommendations that will help the network deliver a high-speed, secure and easy to manage WLAN.” In this specific instance, TP-Link Canada engineers provided certified Engineering expertise, post-installation services and training, and cloud management. They also assisted on the landing page design, RF channel management and installation training.
“We provide these services for network mapping regardless of the size of the potential sale,” Tse noted.
“Our team took time to train Profusion employees on how to set up and design the Sandman hotel networks across many hotels, where to install access points, RF channel management, and other considerations for wireless deployment,” said Rafi L. Islam, Sales Engineer at TP-Link Canada.
TP-Link Canada recommended the EAP245, a wireless dual-band gigabit ceiling-mount access point, which can achieve WiFi speeds up to 1.75Gbps on 802.11ac WiFi. With 1,300 Mbps on the 5GHz band and 450 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, a guest with dual-band devices can now access reliable and consistent coverage over both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless bands. Band-steering automatically moving guests’ dual-band devices to the wider 5Ghz band for faster connections. EAP245 is also equipped with high-gain antennas to create a powerful signal that easily passes through hotel walls.
The project over all 35 hotels took three months to complete, and the result has been higher guest satisfaction, with fewer WiFi connectivity complaints.
This project is also part of TP-Link’s expansion of business in western Canada.
“We have seen significant growth in the Western region,” Tse said.