The San Diego International Airport (the governing body is called the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority – SDCRAA) has continually ranked poorly in the industry for their airport Wi-Fi. Their intent is to deliver a world-class Wi-Fi experience to travelers and all other stakeholders by 2018.

Interestingly, the RFP and contract were written for a general contractor or a large design-build construction project, so a very diverse group of responses were received by the Authority. Strategic Account Manager Debi Preece put together a compelling RFP response due 30 days later. We were then invited to a panel interview in November. By pulling together a diverse, experienced and competent team – Robert Messinger, Curtis Paradzick, Dave Maynard, Mark Allen, Ed Shaheen, Debi Preece and Tom Cylkowski – the VectorUSA Team was able to excel at the panel interview and ended up with the most points out of the three shortlisted contractors. The other contractors had airport experience but VectorUSA demonstrated a stronger understanding of the Airport Authority’s overall vision, and our impressive WLAN resume surpassed the expertise of any other contractor in San Diego. In addition, VectorUSA previously had worked with the Authority on an on-call IT services contract, so many on the panel were familiar with VectorUSA and our professional and successful project approach.

Part of the VectorUSA process was to evaluate our manufacturer partners for the best solution for San Diego. After many meetings and extensive research, VectorUSA determined that HPE-Aruba was the best fit due to a number of factors, including WLAN product depth and innovative airport solutions in revenue sharing, beacon technology and on-boarding that were strong requirements for this customer.

Fast-forward, we have completed the pre-design phase and are now in the design phase of the project and will soon move into the implementation and construction phases in September.  The new and enhanced HPE-Aruba Wi-Fi (WLAN) should be operational and available to all travelers and staff by the end of this year.

It has been a very interesting project in that we are network integrators being asked to perform like general contractors. Our team has had to adjust to and learn new practices and procedures every step of the way. We have had to go through an intense badging process, we did a DFS study to identify and conflicting radar in the area, and we have learned how to navigate safely through the secure and sterile areas of the airport. VectorUSA PM Gloria Sotelo has done a great job keeping the project on track and providing the numerous deliverables to the various stakeholders.

The Design Engineer Tom Cylkowski has spent countless hours at the airport in discovery and design and has collaborated with HPE-Aruba master engineers to develop a state-of-the-art network. Steven White, our new wireless engineer, has been invaluable in doing the predictive modeling and active wireless surveys and has been assisted by Jared Yu. Our Engineers Rod Kelly, Jesse Montano and Jose Cuervas have been a huge help in learning the ‘ins and outs’ of the airport to put together all of the drawings and designs. In October we will have a subcontractor that is already familiar with the airport install the infrastructure and mount the APs while VectorUSA will do all of the configuration, fine tuning and test and acceptance of this new and robust wireless network.

With pride, thanks and gratitude, Debi Preece.