Snapper is New Zealand’s leading contactless payment system. Providing a secure and convenient alternative to cash payments, Snapper cards, or ‘Snappers’, enable consumers to make instant everyday purchases across thousands of outlets and services. To date, over 250,000 Snappers have been issued, generating over 50 million transactions across 500 retailers, 1,000 buses and 2,000 taxis in New Zealand.
Transport, in particular, is a key area for Snapper. Its secure cashless payment system has been supporting commuters across the country’s bus links since 2008. Today, the company continues to witness rising demand for its services as organisations and cardholders experience the benefit of Snapper as a secure cash replacement.
WLAN Network Challenges
In 2008, Miki Szikszai, CEO of Snapper, identified the requirement for a wireless network solution that would provide secure connectivity between its ticketing machines on buses and the servers located across the network of bus depots. He explained, "We installed hardware in over 1,000 buses across Auckland and Wellington, which includes ticketing equipment that stores thousands of cardholder transaction records every day. We needed a secure and efficient way of downloading this sensitive data from the buses for when they returned to the depots.”
Snapper set about sourcing a wireless network solution that would be quick to install, simple to manage and easily scale to future requirements as its business operations grew. It needed the network to be efficient, reliable and highly secure due to the constant high volumes of personal, financial data travelling over the network.
"With so much personal data needing to be downloaded from the buses every single day, we required the most comprehensive wireless technology on the market in terms of performance, resiliency and security,” said Szikszai. "In addition, as our depots are widely distributed, we required a management platform that would enable us to efficiently analyse the data from each bus and depot from one central location.”
The Aerohive Wi-Fi Solution
Aerohive was introduced to Snapper by local technology providers’ Asnet and HTS. Although other wireless vendors like Cisco were considered, Snapper chose Aerohive’s technology based on a successful pilot at one of its depots. Snapper evaluated the technology based on key criteria including ease of configurability, security, efficiency, resiliency, cost and analysis capability—all critical factors were met during the pilot.
Unlike Cisco and other competitive solutions, Aerohive’s Wi-Fi architecture eliminates the need for controllers, reducing single points of failure for superior network resilience. This solution provides Snapper with mission critical reliability, granular security controls and the ability to start small and scale without technical or cost limitations.
Szikszai commented, "Following the trial, the decision process was simple. The controller-less architecture, intuitive access points alongside Aerohive’s central administration platform, HiveManager, all worked well, requiring little or no tweaking and reconfiguration. The integrated security features also mean we’re assured that the network is watertight.”
Deployment was phased, with Aerohive APs rolled out to 16 depots over a two-year period. All have been connected to provide access to local and remote bus depot servers, while Aerohive’s management platform, HiveManager was deployed centrally at Snapper’s Wellington-based data centre.
Aerohive WLAN Solution Benefits
"With minimum hardware to install, the rollout proved easy and through the intuitive nature of the APs, we have been able to realise the benefits very quickly. Aerohive’s solution has proved its worth across all our requirements” said Szikszai.
Snapper has found HiveManager a real advantage. The management platform provides the company with real-time topology, performance and client information, enabling instant analysis to be completed. This is assisting Snapper with any trouble shooting, capacity planning and security remediation that may be required.
It also removes the need for IT staff to travel between depots, as all the necessary information, visibility and management tools are centrally located, as Szikszai explained, "Aerohive’s HiveManager is ideal. It is not only easy to use and understand, it is also saving us money by reducing unnecessary travelling between depots to manage data.”
Szikszai concludes, "Thanks to the scalability and ease of configuration of the Aerohive solution, we are now planning to expand our Wi-Fi applications into more bus depots. We are also investigating the possibility of provisioning public Wi-Fi on buses with Aerohive.”