Case Study: King’s Cross – London

How do you deliver lightning fast WiFi and public guest access to one of the busiest areas in the UK?

Kings Cross Walkway

The client

The location, the connections, the canal-side setting, the rich and varied heritage, an exciting cultural scene, a thriving business community, and a strong sense of local community. All these things come together at King’s Cross to make it unique, exciting and really quite special.

The 67 acre site has a rich history and a unique setting. What was an underused industrial wasteland is being transformed into a new part of the city with homes, shops, offices, galleries, bars, restaurants, schools and even a university. It’s a whole new piece of London with a brand new postcode, N1C.

The Issue at Hand

Nearly 70 acres of large open spaces, mixed use buildings, areas still under development and construction, together with over 50 million commuters visiting every year, meant that the King’s Cross Estate faced challenges with coverage and support for user density.

The network design had been amended and added to over a period of time, with multiple services providers and stakeholders inputting, resulting in a network topology that had outgrown its original design intent.

The hardware and infrastructure deployment had been carried out by multiple service providers, this meant that end to end efficient service management was an ongoing issue as issue resolution was often a lengthy and complex process.

Further to this, the Estate were not able to gather any user identifiable data from people using the network. This meant that King’s Cross were unable to capitalise on an important information stream that could generate both ROI and informed improvements going forward.

How we Helped

Hardware Installation and Infrastructure

After a thorough survey and review of the existing network setup, we set to designing a new solution that focussed on improving the reliability and coverage of the existing hardware, whilst consolidating and simplifying the entire solution. simply put we became the sole point of contact for all WiFi issues and having secured end to end control (from ISP through to Access Point) we could provide an improved level of service.

In addition to consolidating the multiple service providers into a single solution, we also engaged in a process of proactive testing and identified (and resolved) a multitude of legacy issues.

As part of our surveying we were able to identify some key areas which were under supported and rapidly deploy additional ZoneFlex Access Points to greatly increase coverage in high usage areas. Due to the sensitive nature of the location we worked in partnership with the Estate to minimise disruption through out of hours physical installations.

With the infrastructure in place and new access points, switching gear and Firewall installed it was time to address the next issue…

Visitor Login and data capture

For a busy metropolitan hub such as King’s Cross it’s important to know as much about your visitors as possible so that you don’t miss any opportunities to engage with them or improve your services.

It’s also important for users to be able to easily access the network without an arduous signup process, and most importantly- not have to sign up again on repeat visits.

We teamed up with our partner Purple Intelligent Spaces to provide an authentication solution that is quick and easy for users to access the network. This gave the Estate a fully customisable visitor facing onboarding portal through which visitors are able to login instantly via their social media accounts or via a very quick login screen.

A portal provided to King’s Cross then displays highly granular and usable information about visitor demographics. Data such as location within the complex, footfall and even country of origin are just a some of the data groups made available that management can then use for marketing and information as well as visitor density information that can be used for capacity planning.

This enables King’s Cross to properly reach out to their visitors whilst monitoring the performance of the estate and making ongoing improvements.

“Haptic’s capability to provide a complete end to end solution was a major attraction, this coupled with Mark’s (Haptic Project Manager) grasp of the complexities of the multi stakeholder nature of the Estate were significant factors in our selection of them as our WiFi Partner”

Surjit Kaur (Project Director)

The Solution we used

Every client’s needs are different. Our engineers carefully considered the network requirements and building layout before choosing these stand out products

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Ruckus ZoneFlex T300 Access Point

Ideal for: External Coverage, Large Area.

Ideal for high density traffic

Dual-band outdoor access point designed specifically for high density, large public venues such as airports and train stations

Mobile Traffic Friendly

Polarization Diversity with Maximal Ratio Combining (PD-MRC) creates reliable

Discreet Form Factor

Internal antenna allows for a small enclosure and low profile

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SonicWall Firewall

Ideal for: WiFi in Schools, Thick Walls.

High Performance Security

Patented Reassembly-Free Deep Packet Inspection (RFDPI) engine with a powerful multi-core firewall architecture

Easy Monitoring

Identify productive and unproductive application traffic in real time, and control that traffic through powerful application-level policies on both a per-user and a per-group basis

Centralized and unified management

Global Management System (GMS) reduces administrative and troubleshooting complexities with a unified, secure and extensible platform.

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The Benefits of Purple WiFi

Seamless Connection for Users

Users can quickly connect using social media accounts making login easy and encouraging engagement via likes and shares

In-depth user data

Dedicated portal delivers real time insights of visitor behaviour, location and devices creating real opportunities for marketing

Fully Customisable

Login screens and residual marketing can be fully customised to promote brand continuity and awareness

The Results

Using a completely redesigned network solution that included both new and old hardware, we were able to deliver massive improvements across all aspects of the network whilst facilitating valuable user data streams

Reliable Network and Increased Coverage

Using new hardware alongside legacy access points we able to massively improve reliability and coverage across the entire estate

User Data Capture

In-depth information on logged in users such as demographics, footfall and devices are now available for marketing and capacity planning. Allowing King’s Cross to generate ROI and make improvements to their services

Rapid Support Response

With a single managed service provider, King’s Cross are now better equipped to deal with support queries and identify potential future issues before they occur

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