Picking the right Wi-Fi provider

Considering the scale of the McDonald's Wi-Fi project - which is intended to bring wireless connectivity to thousands of restaurants - the cookie-cutter rollout has gone smoothly. The equipment is providing a flexible and secure foundation for public access and business transactions. Paramount was selecting the right service-provider partner, says Tom Gergets, director of technology and infrastructure for McDonald's U.S. operations in Oak Brook, Ill. He evaluated service providers on the following key attributes:

•  An appropriate service-level agreement and the ability to meet it.

•  Great end-user support for the restaurant's customers, as well as its staff.

•  A business model that supported a variety of services, including offerings from additional service providers.

The bottom line, Gergets says, is there is nothing all that different about deploying Wi-Fi: "People who understand technology deployment in a venue like ours, and have a good set of processes in place, are able to leverage the same skills for deploying wireless infrastructures."

-Susan Breidenbach

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