In 1962, Karl Ruppert founded a men’s clothing shop in the Bavarian town of Weilheim. It quickly grew, attracting customers through attractive prices. Now known as K&L Ruppert, the family-owned, mid-sized clothing business has more than 60 stores in six (mostly southern) German states. Tradition and modernity go hand in hand for K&L Ruppert—and not just when it comes to fashion. The clothing retailer introduced its in-house IT back in 1974 and launched its first website in 1997, followed by an online shop in 2008. Its warehouse in Weilheim, featuring a cutting-edge logistics centre, sends merchandise to individual stores, where customers can shop for a wide range of athletic, business and casual wear and accessories, with collections changing ten times a year.
K&L Ruppert was looking for a high-availability, centrally managed and—most importantly—secure Wi-Fi solution. This required expanding the Wi-Fi infrastructure of the company’s Weilheim headquarters and linking it to stores via VPN. This would allow each store’s network structure to be managed centrally, thereby simplifying the process. K&L Ruppert needed a homogeneous IT infrastructure to enhance its IT service quality and availability.
“We wanted a Wi-Fi network that would be equally available in all of our stores and managed centrally. Bechtle was able to meet this goal, and we are very pleased with the result. Each of our stores now offers Wi-Fi for customers and staff, provided by a high-availability network that doesn’t require a controller. Bechtle truly found a smart solution for our needs!”
Zdenko Bajac, Head of IT Operations & IT Application Systems, K&L Ruppert Stiftung & Co. Handels-KG
The Aerohive Wi-Fi architecture Bechtle implemented for K&L Ruppert does away with controllers by grouping Aerohive Wi-Fi access points (HiveAPs) into a so-called hive. This “smart hive” controls the network itself and enables features such as secure, fast L2/L3 roaming, coordinated RF management, security, QoS and mesh networking. HiveManager is used at K&L Ruppert headquarters to manage each store’s Wi-Fi, lowering costs by enabling faster, easier Wi-Fi setups.
The solution is also highly available, as the overall system is able to absorb any failure of individual HiveAPs. Bechtle solved the problem of static Wi-Fi keys by using Aerohive’s proprietary Private Pre-Shared Key (PPSK) solution, which generates a separate pre-shared key for each device. This allows scanners, for instance, which would otherwise require a certificate-based 802.1X solution, to be managed more easily.
Bechtle also implemented Aerohive branch routers, which the IT admin at K&L Ruppert headquarters can configure and connect conveniently using HiveManager, thanks to the MPLS network connecting stores to HQ.
Bechtle’s implementation of smart, controller-less Wi-Fi by Aerohive was a clever way to provide centrally managed Wi-Fi for K&L Ruppert’s many stores. Each Wi-Fi network can be expanded, so they’re able to grow with future needs. In addition, each network is highly available and meets all of the company’s compliance requirements. The solution’s central management reduces administrative overhead, as individual stores no longer need to hire a technician to maintain their Wi-Fi infrastructure. Moreover, network security is guaranteed through guest Wi-Fi access and other technical features offered by Aerohive. Thanks to Aerohive and Bechtle, K&L Ruppert is ideally equipped for the future.