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Long Range Wi-Fi Networks – NSW Recreation Centres

Business Profile

Recently the NSW Department of Sport and Recreation decided to completely review their communication systems for sporting/recreation facilities across NSW; some of the sites had basic Wi-Fi giving limited site coverage but in general the existing set-up didn’t cover the requirements of guests or staff.

The Challenges

  • Large size and long range Wi-Fi requirements of the sites; coverage numbers for Wi-Fi use ranged from 250 people per site through to over 1000 at some of the Olympic Venues.
  • Foliage/trees limiting RF transmission
  • Sarking (building felt fixed over the rafters of a roof underneath tiles of slate) was discovered wrapped around the walls in the building. This is normally just found underneath roof tiles but results in reflecting RF signal away from the buildings.
  • Large concrete buildings with bunkers (shooting centre)

The Process and Solution

To manage this large project there were a number of steps needing to be done for each site with the first site being Sydney Academy of Sport in Narabeen.  This site was used as the template for moving forward though there were specific challenges to each that needed to be addressed:

Basic steps undertaken for the project included:

  • Full consult with the client to understand their networking requirements particularly how they wanted the corporate and guest visitor networks to run.
  • On-site survey to determine potential challenges for the outdoor Wi-Fi, the best locations and the equipment needing to be used
  • Off-site mapping to determine the best coverage area and planning for the challenges
  • Careful integration and testing of VLANS on site.
  • Design of public Wi-Fi splash pages for each site, ensuring terms & conditions of client were met.

Business Needs

The planning and install was undertaken by Advanced Communications Riverina with Stephen Hood as the lead contact. Their brief from the client was to update the existing system to achieve full site coverage, including long range Wi-Fi networks, monitor data usage, collect data plus set up a separate corporate network separate from both the visitor and guest networks.

This was a big project with the following sites planned to be updated – and all connecting – with one of the first sites being Sydney Academy in Narrabeen:

  • Berry
  • Borambola
  • Jindabyne
  • Lake Ainsworth
  • Myuna Bay
  • Point Wolstoncroft
  • Sydney Academy
  • Sydney International Regatta Centre
  • Sydney International Equestrian Centre
  • Sydney International Shooting Centre
  • Sport House

Network Management Solution

The AltaiCare cloud management system was deployed to provide network management and differing levels of Authentication for Wi-Fi users.

  • SSID 1 for general public access internet usage, with monitored bandwidth, data allowance and secure internet access for groups of users.
  • SSID 2 was for administrative purposes with a suppressed SSID. Other users will not be able to discover this network and it is the only one that allows access to business equipment utilised by staff. It was routed via the pre-existing Corporate Network
  • SSID 3 was the management VLAN for the wireless backhaul, AP and network management.
SSIDVLANTraffic PriorityAuthentificationEncryptionBandwidth Control
1102NormalCaptive Portal (and optional MAC address)OpenMultiple Preset Accounts for Bandwidth and Data Allowances
2101NormalWPA2-PSKAESCorporate Users Via Citrix
31NormalWPA2-PSKAESNo Bandwidth Control

AltaiCare Data Management was set up and run as a test at the Narabeen site to finalise management requirements before being rolled out to the remaining sites.

  • Provides up to 3 times the range and 10 times the area of coverage as compared to standard access points
  • 50 cm co-location with 3G/4G cell sites on a single-pole
  • Up to 300 Mbps (access) plus 867 Mbps (access/backhaul for ac model) /300 Mbps (access/backhaul for n model) capacity per base station
  • Extended reach, with up to a 30 km backhaul range
  • Fast and simple installation using a single-pole mount for radios and antennas
  • Altai’s AirFi technology for higher capacity and efficiency per WiFi channel

Product/s Used

A8n Base Station – The A8n belongs to the A8 series which is the world’s leading 802.11n Wi-Fi outdoor access point optimised for maximum coverage and highest throughput from a minimum number of installation sites. This model has 5 GHz radio upgraded to 802.11a/n/ac standards.

 “The true beauty of the Altai products is their performance in the outdoor environment.”

With the client utilising the world’s leading A8n base station, they received the following benefits:

  • 8 antenna ports for 4 dual-slant sector antennas, providing flexible 90° to 360° coverage
  • 8×8 MIMO combined with Altai’s proprietary smart antenna technology for the best available uniform large-area coverage
  • The multiple antennas of A8n series can be configured to provide coverage that is optimised for area, pattern and elevation


Install was undertaken and took 1 week for the first site.  Sites following were each different depending on how large they were.

AltaiCare Cloud Network Management Services – The system monitors data usage/limits and the offsite management of all the access points.

  • Zero configuration allows a non-technical person to simply unpack and plug APs to WiFi network; the APs will automatically configure
  • Owing to AltaiCare’s local breakout architecture and CAPWAP protocol, management data that goes to the cloud is securely encrypted in SSL, while data and control traffic stays local
  • Allows IT managers of enterprises to quickly set up secure access for their internal network, as well as provide hotspots to accommodate guest access
  • Pay-as-you-grow subscription model of AltaiCare results in lower OPEX
  • AltaiCare’s location-aware advertising services enables additional revenue from advertising
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