Wireless LAN for the Most Profitable Retailer in the World

Executive Summary

Industry: Retail
Technology: Wireless
Location: Global

Customer Profile

Headquartered in California, this technology retailer is one of the largest in the world. They design, develop, and sell consumer electronics, computer software, and online services. They currently employ 115,000 permanent full-time employees and maintain 453 retail stores in sixteen countries.


Like many technology companies, this business relies heavily on their wireless network for successful store operations. Their customers are given the opportunity to test devices, receive helpdesk services, and browse online, all while in the store.

Initial conversations regarding their need for a complete wireless network refresh started in February 2015. Their outdated systems were not providing enough bandwidth to withstand their in-store customer base, forcing both customers and employees to resort to using their neighbor’s free Wi-Fi connection. It was also discovered that their prior wireless vendor had been installing devices incorrectly. After multiple conversations, Comm-Works was awarded a proof of concept for the retailer’s Lincoln Park site in Chicago, IL.

Business Challenges

This client had very specific requirements regarding their wireless design. First of all, the Wireless LAN access points had to be completely hidden from view. Second, the Wireless LAN had to support between 400 and 2400 devices per site. The unique store design and hidden access points made it more difficult to obtain the most effective wireless signals.

Since the devices couldn’t be placed in the typical locations, it was decided to install them in the ceilings, walls, and under store fixtures. When it came time for our technicians to access the ceilings, it was discovered that the client’s ceiling vendor would also need to be present during installation, which had to be completed during non-business hours.

Comm-Works Solution

The project started with a predictive analysis using Ekahau ESS, and the results were shared with the client’s engineering team to obtain preliminary approval. An on-site pre-installation analysis was also completed to account for any variables that could not have been addressed in the predictive analysis. Lastly, a post-installation analysis was done to verify the WLAN performance was meeting all requirements after deployment.

Comm-Works also addressed the media transport infrastructure and the route/switch infrastructure to support the newly deployed WLAN. The devices were left out of sight, and work was completed without disrupting customer engagement.

Results & Value

Comm-Works developed a process that could be reproduced in multiple locations and became known as the company “who would fix the Wi-Fi.” This generated a buzz between stores and soon each store manager would be calling to get their Wi-Fi fixed. Comm-Works successfully completed 50 sites in the first six months and is scheduled to complete another 80 in 2016 with locations in Spain and Australia. Overall, this project has earned Comm-Works an excellent reputation with the most profitable retailer in the world.

About Comm-Works

Comm-Works is an established IT leader providing 24/7/365 support to over 150,000 customer locations. With a network of 20,000+ technicians worldwide, we can provide on-site support in 4 hours or less. Our repeatable project management, deployment, and installation process is designed for success on a global scale.