Super Liquor



The Coromandel Peninsula is a very popular holiday destination, and the population of the seaside holiday town of Whangamata skyrockets from 3,000 to over 70,000 during the summer months. During this peak holiday season, Whangamata Super Liquor needed a reliable network failover solution to augment its landline/ADSL network. The previous failover solution took about 17 seconds to process a credit card transaction — and with up to 5,000 people going through the shop on peak days, customers were left facing a long wait if the network went down.

By implementing Cradlepoint NetCloud Service for branch, which includes WAN traffic management, a firewall, and cloud configuration and troubleshooting delivered via a purpose-built router with embedded LTE, the store has a reliable network connection.


Whangamata Super Liquor, co-owned by Neil and Ruth Sharpe, is one of only two liquor stores in Whangamata, a summer beach destination town from late November through to late April in the Coromandel. Its wonderful 3 km long white sand, swim and surf beach, along with great fishing and a marina, is a huge draw to this unique beach town. In March/early April, Whangamata hosts one of the world’s largest 5-day rock ‘n’ roll and hot rod/classic car/motorbike festivals with well over 120,000 visitors from all over the world.


During the peak season, Super Liquor sees upwards of 5,000 people in the store in one day.

“During the summer it is a very busy business, and in the winter it is a very quiet business,” said Neil Sharpe, co-owner of Whangamata Super Liquor. “This means we’ve got a fairly strong requirement for a fail-safe connection because network downtime at the wrong time would be a disaster.”

Unfortunately for Sharpe, he was sometimes experiencing downtime several times per day — and for around half an hour each time it went down. Super Liquor did have an existing cellular backup system in place, but it wasn’t doing the job.

“In an outage, our EFTPOS system would try the landline/ADSL system first, and when that was down, it would then go to the cellular backup and do the transactions,” Sharpe said. “But every time that happened, each transaction itself took about 17 seconds. This meant it went from 2-3 seconds to do a normal transaction to almost 20 seconds. When you’ve got queues of people waiting, it completely crashed the whole thing.”

Sharpe soon realised he needed a change. It was New Year’s Eve, and there were around 300 people in the store at the time when the network went down. “We opened at 9am, and at 9:30am the ADSL line crashed and it was down for about 40 minutes,” said Sharpe. “People were waiting in the shop for up to 45 minutes to try and get through. It just wasn’t acceptable.”

“I went to a meeting with Super Liquor, who were talking about a new solution to be rolled out throughout the franchise in New Zealand, and one of the IT guys was talking about a faster cellular backup system. I didn’t realise there was such a thing,” Sharpe said. “So I jumped online and started researching it, and then I came across the Cradlepoint solution.”

Sharpe deployed Cradlepoint NetCloud Service for branch with dual-SIM support for failover to two separate network providers and with on-board WiFi for their in-store wireless devices.


Cost-Savings: The network failure during New Year’s Eve cost Super Liquor approximately $10,000, but since the implementation of the Cradlepoint solution, Sharpe estimates cost savings of around $20,000.

“Any business that has an issue with stability with any ADSL line — and I imagine there are probably plenty of businesses like that — I would strongly recommend it. It is a no-brainer, as it is so fast that it becomes seamless.”

Dual-Provider Cellular Backup: The dual-provider cellular backup ensures network availability and system stability when the primary ADSL line connectivity goes down.

Seamless Network Operations.

“Since we’ve put in the Cradlepoint solution, it has been rock-solid the entire time. We haven’t had a single failure, when before it was happening weekly. The best thing is, we don’t even notice when it goes down — it fails over and fails back without noticeable delay,” said Sharpe.