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Company Background

Southstar Drug, a subsidiary of Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc., has been supplying a wide range of prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical products in the Philippines (as well as food, personal care, and health and wellness items) since 1937. The company operates several types of store formats, ranging from dedicated stand-alone pharmacies to concessions inside supermarkets and even automated pharmacies with self-service sections.

Founded by the Dy family in Naga City, the company has grown from a humble mom-and-pop business to become the second largest pharmacy chain in the Philippines. And with a bold mission to become the country’s ‘pharmacy of choice’ through service, trust, accessibility, and responsibility — with more than 500 stores nationwide — Southstar Drug is ambitiously planning for further expansion, eager to embrace a future full of possibility.

Key Challenges

In anticipation of rapid service growth, Southstar Drug began planning to build a new Data Center (DC) and office in Taguig City, located in Metropolitan Manila. However, the development potentially faced a range of challenges, from the lengthy construction period required for a traditional wired network, to high Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), and restrictive locations for the Local Area Network (LAN). In face of these challenges, the company decided that it needed to find a stable, high-bandwidth, cost-effective wireless solution.

Huawei Wi-Fi 6 Boosts Southstar Drug’s Network Capabilities

Wanting to use a solution that was already a proven high performer in commercial use, Southstar Drug rejected their legacy vendor and other competitors, turning to Huawei instead. Huawei’s Wi-Fi 6 and Agile Switch solution impressed Southstar Drug’s senior management, who recognized the performance, high capacity and low latency of the technology.

Wi-Fi 6 is the sixth and latest iteration of Wi-Fi, offering vast improvements over the previous generation. With Wi-Fi 6, both network bandwidth and the number of concurrent users possible are increased by four times. Indeed, with considerable expertise and experience in developing 5G technology, only Huawei is able to leverage antenna and Radio Frequency (RF) algorithms to improve the Wi-Fi experience even further. As a result, Huawei Wi-Fi 6 offers unique innovations such as Smart Antenna and SmartRadio, which offer performance well above the industry standard. For instance, latency is reduced to just 10 ms — half that of standard Wi-Fi 6.

As well as deploying Wi-Fi 6, Huawei’s solution for Southstar Drug also used agile switches as native Access Controllers (ACs), eliminating the need for independent AC devices. Indeed, wired and wireless convergence technology means that agile switches can also offer unified management and control of wired and wireless users. Such a unified solution is able to eliminate bottlenecks for wireless traffic forwarding, reducing fault points and improving reliability.

Allied to the clear advantages of the solution, Southstar Drug was also impressed with Huawei’s approach. Huawei demonstrated their competitive edge by delivering a series of workshops and completing Proof of Concept (POC) testing — including troubleshooting — in just ten days. Finally, the partnership was built on Huawei’s commitment to delivering the future-proofed solution that addressed Southstar Drug’s current challenges as well as matching their ambitions.

Southstar Drug — The Path to Success

Moving forward, Southstar Drug is equipped with a future-proofed wireless office network environment, ready to overcome any network challenges in the fast-paced marketplace of tomorrow.

Customer Benefits

Fast deployment and rollout

The limitations of Southstar Drug’s legacy wired access network were holding the company back. Replacing it, like-for-like, would have required a lengthy deployment time, with high equipment expenses increasing TCO. By choosing a wireless Wi-Fi-6 network from Huawei instead, Southstar Drug sidestepped such issues and is now able to operate its business more efficiently and at greater speed, with better access to resources — anytime, anywhere — helping to boost employee productivity.

Built-in smart antennas improved signal quality

Huawei Wi-Fi 6 Access Points (APs) integrate adaptive array antenna technologies and implicit beamforming to implement precise signal detection, suppress interference, and improve signal quality. The result is a seamless and smooth wireless network experience for end users, with fewer physical APs required.

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