Since 1952, the Sydney Latvian Society has been bringing together the city’s Latvian community with events and facilities including a school, theatre, choir, and dance group. The thriving Latvian House also plays host to other communities looking for a venue to come together. Digital technology plays an increasingly important role in connecting and serving this flourishing community – but patchy Wi-Fi was starting to put the brakes on the Society’s plans and projects.
- Unstable Wi-Fi with poor site coverage
- No in-house IT personnel and limited budgets
- Heatmapping of the Society’s buildings to optimise access point placement
- 11 Aruba Instant On AP15 access points for simple installation and complete coverage
- Fast and reliable access to digital content, payments, and other services
- No ongoing licence fees or maintenance costs
Challenges: Inconsistent, unruly Wi-Fi coverage with no in-house IT support
The Society’s existing Wi-Fi network had failed to keep up with growth, resulting in unreliable connectivity and limited coverage across its Latvian House and school. “We often experienced drop-outs that would interrupt our film screenings, and digital payments through our gift shop and cafeteria frequently failed due to the network inconsistency,” says Jānis Čečiņš, Chairman of the Sydney Latvian Society. “It was a constant point of friction for all of us.”
The Latvian school, which runs weekly classes for around 20 children in Latvian, found itself particularly affected by the declining connectivity and Wi-Fi dead zones within classrooms. “We typically ran our classes with iPads, TVs, and visual presentations to engage our kids,” says Norm Ronis, the school’s Principal. “But it got to the point where we just wouldn’t use digital means because they’d cut out – it was that unstable.”
The Society knew it needed to find a Wi-Fi solution that could not only cover its premises with strong and future-ready bandwidth, but also offer them simple and affordable modes of installation. “Like most community organisations, we’re made up of volunteers,” Norm explains. “That means we don’t have IT staff on-hand, so we needed a really simple and ideally cost-efficient solution in our hall that could be left alone after setup.”
Solution: 11 Aruba Instant On AP15 access points, mapped and donated by Dicker Data
The Society’s situation struck a chord with Voldis Kains, an active member of Sydney’s Latvian community and presales specialist at Dicker Data. When the Society began sourcing for Wi-Fi upgrades, Voldis reached out to his colleagues who specialised in wireless connectivity solutions – including Mark Simpson, Product Manager for Aruba at Dicker Data.
“When Voldis reached out, I was pretty sure we could assist quite easily, particularly because of how effective and user-friendly the Aruba access points have proven to be,” Mark says. “I also knew the best place to start would be a heatmap of the Society’s premises, to guide the design and location of every access point that they’d need.”
Mapping access point deployments on both floors of the Society’s House helped ensure strong, uninterrupted coverage throughout the building, avoiding common issues like dead-spots or interference caused by overlapping signals. “Instead of just shooting blind and putting in access points at random, you want to plan properly with a heatmap,” Voldis explains. “You go from just hoping for the best, to knowing exactly what to expect.”
For the hardware, Dicker Data selected Aruba Instant On’s AP15 access points as a simple, plug-and-play option with robust coverage. That simplified the wiring process for the Society’s contracted electricians, and even allowed Jānis the chairman to install the access points themselves with ease. “One of my fears was that as someone who isn’t very technical, I wouldn’t know what the system was like,” Jānis admits. “But it proved to be really simple.
“As a non-technical user, Jānis was able to watch the Dicker Data tutorial videos and install the Aruba Instant On access points all by himself,” Voldis observes. “That’s how simple and easy it is.”
Benefits: Frictionless technology for a future-ready community
Since being activated, the Aruba Instant On solution has given the Sydney Latvian Society a new lease on digital life – allowing its school to access rich digital content with ease, enabling digital payments at its downstairs cafeteria, and supporting new modes of customer engagement in its store.
It’s also met one of the most frequent requests from visitors: free Wi-Fi. “When members show up and ask if there’s Wi-Fi in the Latvian house, it’s now easy for us to say yes,” Norm says.
Apart from being easy to install and maintain by even non-technical users, Aruba Instant On’s access points are also fully-licensed upon ownership – meaning no recurring costs or subscriptions for the Society to concern itself with. “It’s been a great opportunity for us to give back to the community, and it’s great to get feedback that the Aruba Instant On solution can support the Latvian Society,” says Mark. “Strong and steady Wi-Fi is the norm – they don’t deserve any less.”
“We’re very grateful for Dicker Data donating the equipment and guiding us through the setup process,” Jānis says. “It’s really changed how we operate and taken us into the future.”