DAVID'S BRIDAL MODERNIZES NETWORK INFRASTRUCTURE
David’s Bridal stores are connected to the corporate network via T-1 lines backed up with wireless failover. The system met the company’s current needs, but David’s Bridal Director of Infrastructure Kevin Weaver wanted to modernize his network backup system to add more capabilities and features, and to take advantage of 4G LTE. Weaver and his staff talked to the major cellular carriers, who suggested that the company switch to Cradlepoint. David’s Bridal’s IT department conducted proof- of-concept tests comparing their current wireless vendor to Cradlepoint, and chose Cradlepoint.
With more than 60 years of experience dressing women of all ages for life’s special occasions, David’s Bridal provides brides-to-be with a vast selection of bridal gowns and bridal party dresses at more than 300 David’s Bridal stores located across the US, Canada, UK, and Puerto Rico.
David’s Bridal previously used a 1X and 3G networking configuration, which provided the company’s distributed locations with basic network connectivity, but as 4G LTE became an increasingly sound alternative, Director of Infrastructure Weaver’s goal was to future-proof his network by finding the most efficient and affordable way to take advantage of 4G technology. He also wanted to move beyond the one-at-a-time way the IT staff had been managing its 330-plus device network and move toward central management of connectivity at all their distributed locations.
After conferring with cellular carriers and testing competing devices, David’s Bridal chose the Cradlepoint ARC Series and Cradlepoint NetCloud Manager.
“When we first implemented NetCloud Manager, I divided our 330 stores into three groups. With just a couple of clicks, I can use NetCloud Manager to upgrade all 330 devices in less than 10 minutes. That saves us a lot of labor, and got our stores protected very quickly.”
Standardization: According to Weaver, probably the biggest benefit David’s Bridal gets from Cradlepoint is the ability to standardize on one device. With the switch to Cradlepoint, all Weaver and his team has to do to prepare a device for a new carrier is to swap out its modem end cap.
“You change the end caps, and the Cradlepoint router and all of its features, functionality, and firmware stay the same. So from a network architecture standpoint, switching to Cradlepoint was a big win. It allowed us to standardize on one device with one setup, and then manage it all in one single place — NetCloud Manager,” said Kevin Weaver, Director of Infrastructure.
Centralized Network Management: In a world currently experiencing numerous data breaches, retail companies like David’s Bridal need to be able to protect their network in minutes, not hours. With NetCloud Manager in place, Weaver and his team can respond immediately to defend against these type of threats.
Weaver says that one of the major motivators to change the way David’s Bridal connected to the network was the need for more bandwidth so that VOIP and other applications could continue to function optimally. He also notes that business direction can change quickly, so the company needed to be able to respond just as quickly. Working with Cradlepoint gives David’s Bridal the ability to deliver new services without having to purchase new equipment.
“Having Cradlepoint in place means that we can easily create rules and split the tunneling to separate our proprietary, corporate network from the guest network, without having to buy another device. That gives us a lot of flexibility to adapt to changes in technology.”
Future-Proof Data Management: Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Manager will give David’s Bridal the ability to closely monitor its data usage. Bandwidth overruns can mean stiff surcharges, but Weaver is confident that by choosing Cradlepoint he has given his department the tools it needs to keep data usage within limits.
“The nice thing about managing bandwidth with NetCloud Manager,” Weaver says, “is that you can see it. You can manage it. You can tune it any way you need to make sure you don’t run over your limits. This is just one of the ways that Cradlepoint helps us prepare for the future.”
Visual Dashboards: For Network Administrator Matt Micchelli, the ability to have real-time visibility into each location’s data usage makes his job a lot easier.
“When I click on the NetCloud Manager dashboard, I can see the data use for our entire network, and for every store. The dashboard gives me the average for each day, which makes it easy to summarize, and to give my execs the big picture view of how the network is performing.”
Reliable Customer Support: As Weaver notes, it’s not always easy to get the configuration for a network setup working properly the first time. What is important, he says, is to work with a partner that makes its engineers available to get the configuration right.
“We had some start-up problems, but the Cradlepoint engineers worked closely with us and provided all the support we needed. Cradlepoint’s technical staff made sure not just that it worked — but that it worked to our complete satisfaction.”
A Leading Partner: Weaver says that the decision to choose a new technology provider is a big step for any company. He stresses the need to find a partner that is anticipating and planning for the future — and is doing so in a way that respects a customer’s technology investments. The technology itself, he says, must be adaptable to keep up with the future, and be built on a platform able to manage these generational changes.
“If the carriers come out next year with 5G or whatever they call the next generation, all we’ll need to do is swap a modem cap in each Cradlepoint device. That means we’re prepared to upgrade to future generations of wireless with little cost or disruption. So, as far as the type of company, the size of company, and what they bring to the table, Cradlepoint offers the best package that helps us not just for today, but for the foreseeable future,” Weaver said.