When it comes to WiFi, the first thing that comes to mind is a bottomless mimosa, right? OK, maybe not, but blistering-fast WiFi has made the bottomless mimosas at Mo’s Breakfast + Burger Joint in the Almaden Valley neighborhood of San Jose, California, even easier to swallow ever since Mo’s general manager, Deanna Bower, installed an Orbi Pro inside the restaurant and an Orbi Outdoor Satellite on the patio.
Bottomless mimosas aside, Bower’s situation is not as unique as it might sound. Like a lot of people managing small, customer-facing businesses, Bower has to juggle the needs and productivity of her employees with the desires and expectations of her customers. Both constituencies require reliable WiFi—some to get their work done, others to enjoy the time they spend in her establishment.
For Bower, who is also the restaurant’s one-person IT department, the Orbi Pro delivers on these very different use cases. Designed with three independent SSIDs, the Orbi Pro enables secure WiFi for the restaurant’s kitchen and waitstaff via a network that’s completely isolated from traffic generated by customers sipping those bottomless mimosas. Admin access is reserved for the third designated SSID, delivering both speed and the security of a password-protected system to everyone on the network.
Restaurants and other types of retail businesses present a particular challenge for WiFi networks. For most small businesses, WiFi is primarily a productivity tool for workers. Access for guests taking meetings with these workers is certainly a consideration, but guests are treated as an edge case to be mitigated rather than the network’s primary customers. In restaurants like Mo’s, however, guests rule. Indeed, for diners enjoying breakfast, lunch, or dinner, reliable WiFi is every bit as important—and expected—as a perfectly cooked hamburger delivered hot off the grill.
The technology that powers the Orbi Pro makes it an excellent choice for retail and service establishments like Mo’s. Unlike other routers and networking devices, Orbi Pro is agnostic when it comes to the primacy of its three internal networks—though each can be configured differently, one is not more powerful than the other.
Similarly, the signals generated by the Orbi Pro’s satellites are just as strong as those of the main router thanks the Orbi Pro’s FastLane3 technology. That’s why the party of four at Table 18 way off in the restaurant’s farther corner get the same great WiFi speeds as the couple sitting near the host’s stand. FastLane3 technology also explains why the WiFi at Mo’s is never spotty—even if Bower is using the network to stream music or videos out on the patio, one Orbi Pro and its satellite can serve up to 80 customers drinking bottomless mimosas, while the Orbi Outdoor on the patio can handle the WiFi needs of 40 more.
Happily, Bower didn’t have to be an expert in any of this to install the Orbi Pro’s main router and satellites at Mo’s. All she had to do was plug the thing in, sync the units, and hang them where she needed coverage. In addition, because the Orbi Pro is completely compatible with existing networks, she didn’t even need to change the network-configuration settings supplied by her ISP. The only wires she was obliged to fuss with were the plug that went into a wall receptacle to power the device, and the line from her existing network to the WAN port on the back of the main Orbi Pro router.
Of course, restaurants are always evolving—ideally, they periodically find themselves expanding to keep up with customer demand. Therefore, should Mo’s ever reconfigure its dining room, add a second floor, increase seating on the patio, or even set up a food truck in the parking lot, expansion will be a snap for Bower. Each satellite features four Ethernet ports for this very purpose, allowing the Orbi Pro’s in-the-box capacity of 5,000 square feet to balloon in increments of 2,500 square feet per satellite. And because the network is designed to perform wirelessly, the Orbi Pro satellite’s switch ports can be treated as virtual switches that can be placed anywhere where wired connection is required.
All of which gives Bower tremendous peace of mind. After all, she’s got plenty to think about, from making sure food deliveries arrive in time for the dinner rush to paying vendors, staff, rent, and taxes. In fact, in the restaurant business, money is constantly flying out the door, which is why Bower likes it when a group techies from a nearby company will use Mo’s WiFi to turn a mid-afternoon lunch into a brainstorming session, or when parents feel unhurried enough to order one more bottomless mimosa at brunch while their adolescent kids play a couple of online games with a few of their best, remote friends.