Wendy's Goes Wi-Fi
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Wireless network management system provider AirWave Wireless has a new alliance with equipment provider Juniper Networks, and the first major customer they're announcing is the Wendy's restaurant chain. The maker of square-burgers-on-round-buns has 6,600 locations around the world, mostly in North America.
Like what McDonald's is doing with the Wayport Wi-Fi World program, the restaurant will use the network for in-house, back office services such as inventory and manager connectivity. Unlike McDonald's, however, Wendy's apparently won't offer the bandwidth to end users for accessing the Internet, though the capability exists.
"Wi-Fi is allowing [Wendy's] to reduce costs," says Greg Murphy, COO at AirWave.
Each Wendy's location will be equipped with a Juniper NetScreen-5GT Wireless FW/VPN appliance, a unit originally designed for remote offices. It provides the 802.11b/g signal, fights viruses and provides direct virtual private network (VPN) tunnels back to the Wendy's network operation center (NOC) in Dublin, Ohio running the AirWave Management Platform (AMP) software.
Security was considered paramount for this deployment, as the Wendy's Corporation did not want location managers to have to worry about Wi-Fi hacking. Each remote operation can be monitored from the NOC so Wendy's IT staff can see details such as what users are connected to the wireless network.
Because the NetScreen 5GT can use virtual SSIDs (up to four) to provision different network access for different groups, it's possible the company could eventually provide hotspot access. However, AirWave's Murphy doesn't believe the company has this in its plans, and Wendy's spokespeople could not confirm or deny any plans for public access Wi-Fi at press time.