Resort cashes in on island network

Resort cashes in on island network

A new distributed network at a resort on Queensland's South Stradbroke Island is helping it achieve the goal of a cashless society.

Couran Cove Resort has completed the rollout of 3Com hubs, networked across the island via switches using fibre optic modules to support and manage point-of-sale outlets and initiatives such as environmental control systems.

But when Scitec won the contract last year, it wasn't counting on dodging storms to complete the rollout.

The project did have its advantages, however - Scitec engineers were occasionally able to enjoy lunch on a tropical beach.

Bruce Martin, Scitec's professional services manager, indicated it was not easy installing a network on a tropical island, as bouts of bad weather delayed the project for around four months. In one case, the ferry carrying the equipment had to turn back to the mainland, Martin said.

Other challenges included backpacking the network components to point-of-sale (POS) terminals at isolated parts of the island. "It was a very difficult construction site," he said.

While Martin concedes the equipment in itself is not particularly revolutionary, he said Scitec was chosen for such things as the ability to withstand hot days locked away in cupboards under direct sunlight.

Scitec chose 3Com's equipment in preference to Cisco hubs for very practical reasons - they didn't fit into a rack unit and didn't offer an internal backup power supply.

Scitec also had the advantage of being able to leverage a well-established relationship with 3Com.

As a result of the network, Couran Cove Resort is chasing the ideal of becoming a cashless society. Guests use stored value cards for cashless purchases at the POS outlets across the island.

The network uses 3Com SuperStack II 3300 switches and SuperStack II DualSpeed Hub 500 units located at the resort's network operations centre. The network is connected to the mainland at Runaway Bay, where the resort's data centre is located. It uses a 100Mbps switch backbone distributed to 10Mbps hubs.

Network connectivity between the mainland and the island is achieved via a 2Mbps radio Megalink from Telstra.

The resort is also using 3Com's Transcend network management equipment to make sure a small IT staff can easily monitor and restore any network difficulties.

With a few of the resort's sites isolated on different parts of the island, Martin said "management to these guys means a lot".

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