Unified wireless network enables seamless mobility for multi-site construction firm
Plug and play APs with mesh routing facilitate fast deployment at remote job sites
Reliable WiFi supports heavy file transfer on mobile devices
As winner of numerous “Interior Contractor Firm of the Year”awards, Clune Construction Company prides itself on providing the best possible experience for its customers. With offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C., Clune transforms interior sites into beautiful and functional spaces where occupants thrive.
Based at the Chicago headquarters, Eric Gardner, Director of IT, and his two team members are charged with maintaining the company’s entire wireless network and providing comprehensive tech support for all offices and field locations in 22 states. Originally the network, which consisted of a mix of unmanaged legacy access points (APs) and commercial units, challenged the small team in day-to-day management. “It was difficult to manage, given the limited interface,” Gardner said. “The APs weren’t reliable, and they weren’t easy to update.”
Much of Clune’s business relies on iPads and mobile devices to mark up job site photos, manipulate drawings, and create 3-D models. Gardner needed a reliable wireless connection throughout the offices so employees and guests could move seamlessly throughout the network, accessing both personal and productivity applications. Upon hearing about Meraki from one of his technology partners, Gardner found the idea of cloud management appealing. He decided to trial the products and was immediately impressed by the Dashboard, security features, and the overall ease of use. “I chose Meraki over other solutions because it was easier to configure and manage,” Gardner said.
The initial deployment of Meraki’s plug-and-play APs at the Los Angeles and Chicago offices took little time. “It was much faster than with a typical hardware WiFi controller,” Gardner said. When the company opened two new offices, Gardner simply added the APs to his dashboard, and the network settings were automatically pushed to the devices. Then it was just a matter of sending the APs to the new locations, having someone plug them in, and the network was live. “It was, by far, the simplest thing I had to do in setting up technology at the offices.”
Now Clune’s employees enjoy secure, robust network access across all sites, and can reliably transfer large project files between locations. Guests can also connect to the network – they log in via a click-through splash page, and are blocked from the LAN to maintain security. “To me, wireless is almost like a copier,” Gardner explained. “You take it for granted; you just want it to work.”
Best of all, reliable WiFi supports Clune’s Virtual Construction Department as they pioneer the use of Building Information Modeling for complex interior construction projects. Clune creates 3-D models of build sites before construction begins, providing virtual walk-throughs for clients and increasing efficiency during the building process.
Meraki has taken something that used to be a headache and made it so simple, I don’t think about it. I couldn’t be happier with it!Eric Gardner, Director of IT
In addition to the in-office wireless network, Clune uses Meraki WiFi at field sites where short-term mobile networks are often required. Because of the plug and play functionality of Meraki APs, employees at job sites can be securely connected to the main offices in a matter of minutes, transferring files, and staying constantly up-to-date on any project changes.
Across all the sites, Clune sees over 20 GB of data flowing across its network every week. Meanwhile, the in-depth reporting features and simple management allow Gardner the freedom to focus on other important tasks. “The less time I have to think about wireless, the more time I have to think about other things,” says Gardner, like managing his team and ensuring they are able to provide the best possible service to Clune’s employees and clients. “Meraki has taken something that used to be a headache and made it so simple, I don’t think about it. I couldn’t be happier with it!”