Royal Hospital Chelsea rolls out Ruckus Wireless network

London's Chelsea Pensioners now have WiFi thanks to a new wireless network installed at their 17th century hospital.

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London's Chelsea Pensioners now have WiFi thanks to a new wireless network installed at their 17th century hospital.

Home to the war veterans and high profile public events such as the Chelsea Flower Show, the Royal Hospital Chelsea is currently undergoing a programme of refurbishment and modernisation. 

Central to that modernisation has been the installation of a wireless network designed to deliver a consistent, reliable and quality connection to residents and visitors.

A Grade I listed site, the age of the building and the density of the walls meant that it was a challenging RF environment. 

Due to the sensitive nature of the environment, characterised by the Long Wards which have remained intact for 300 years, the form factor of the access points needed to suit the aesthetics of the building, and involve minimal disruption when being installed.

Isabel Prieto-Cordero, ICT manager at Royal Hospital Chelsea, said, “Installing a robust and reliable WiFi network throughout the main hospital building was imperative. The staff and residents are just as dependent on the internet as anyone else these days. 

"We wanted to be able to provide residents and visitors to the hospital with seamless access to WiFi.”

The wards have remained unchanged since Sir Christopher Wren designed them in the late 17th century. A strong signal was required as the building is a densely constructed environment comprising walls that are around five-to-six feet thick, wooden beams and hard flooring, which creates an extremely complex RF (radio frequency) environment. 

The Ruckus Wireless solution was selected as it was capable of handling the interference and able to deliver a strong signal across the entire site.

The installation, completed by IT supplier Computer Products, included 24 Ruckus ZoneFlex 802.11n indoor access points in a pyramid formation, which feature patented Ruckus BeamFlex adaptive antenna technology.

The network uses a Ruckus ZoneDirector management platform to centrally control and monitor service delivery and performance. It can be deployed and operated by non-wireless experts and installed quickly and easily through a point-and-click web-based wizard. 

There are now plans to expand the network throughout the wider complex.