Luxul Drops the Needle at Seattle’s Easy Street Records
Named by Rolling Stone as one of the best record stores in the United States, Easy Street Records opened its doors in 1988 in West Seattle, occupying the primary corner of the Junction in the historic Hamm Building. In 2001, Easy Street added a full-service café, which, as one of the most popular brunch spots in the city, has been rated four stars by 479 reviewers on Yelp. In addition to background music pumped throughout the spaces, both are equipped with listening stations that allow customers to check out the shop’s featured artists of the month from a complete track listing of over 200 titles.
Recently, Sonos partnered with Easy Street to bring the audio streaming experience to the record store and increase its exposure with music lovers. Sonos speakers were installed throughout the shop and connected to Easy Street’s Wi-Fi network. However, even when incorporating a BOOST wireless extender, the existing network was proving to be unreliable.
In addition to integration with Sonos, the robust new system would need to provide Wi-Fi for staff, store and café guests, and the listening stations, all while supporting a point-of-sale (POS) system. Integrator Seth Stroh was brought in to work with Luxul on creating a solution.
Providing a reliable connection for the entire system — including multiple streams of data for the guest, POS, and Sonos networks — was imperative for the installation. To provide it, three virtual local area networks (VLANs) were needed for virtual separation, guaranteeing that any client connected to one of the networks would not be able to communicate with devices on the other two. This was especially important for providing security and protecting the private information communicated through the POS system. Ample Wi-Fi coverage was also a must, in addition to ultra-fast speeds and remote management technology to address network issues quickly and efficiently.
Kris Peterson of Sonos remembered his experience at a previous CEDIA tradeshow, where Sonos and Luxul were exhibiting in nearby booths. "I knew of Luxul’s reputation, so I reached out to move towards a solution to improve the network within our own tradeshow booth." He knew there wasn’t much he could do to improve Easy Street’s Wi-Fi network beyond the performance they were currently experiencing without changing over and updating their network. "I reached out to Luxul, because I knew the situation at Easy Street was network related and our experience with them at the CEDIA made me believe they’d provide a high-quality, superior, and reliable network."
"After getting off the phone with Kris, I wanted to assemble a team of Luxul staff that could really take good care of Easy Street," said Mike Grubb, Luxul’s vice president of marketing. "We determined we could provide all the equipment and have it programmed and configured in-house so it arrived at Easy Street Records so Stroh could install, set up, and be ready to go." Luxul identified the major setbacks of Easy Street’s current Wi-Fi network and determined what would be required of the new network. With a Point of Sales (PoS) system and the demand for separate main and guest networks, the new system would need three VLANs. One for the PoS system for security reasons, a main network for local devices, and a guest network for patrons to log onto Wi-Fi.
A managed switch was required for configuring the three VLANs, and Luxul’s stackable AV Series AMS-4424P was selected. With 24 Gigabit RJ-45 PoE+ ports and 10 Gigabit SFP+ stacking ports, the switch provides exceptional network performance and seamless scalability of up to 16 switches (384 ports). Luxul’s wired dual-WAN Epic 5 router, which offers Gigabit WAN-to-LAN speeds, was used for VLAN separation and POS connectivity.
Two XAP-1510 wireless access points (WAPs) provide Wi-Fi connectivity for staff and customers. The WAPs combine high output power and leading-edge 802.11ac 3×3 dual-band technology with beamforming to deliver data rates up to 1900 Mbps. With more than one access point in the store and café, Luxul’s XWC-1000 wireless controller was incorporated to provide easy setup and centralized deployment. The controller also features Luxul’s Roam Assist technology, which ensures seamless roaming of mobile devices.
Finally, Luxul’s XRM-DTZ1 Domotz Pro remote management system was deployed, allowing Stroh to easily and remotely manage and support Easy Street’s system and connected devices from anywhere. Domotz remote management provides system accessibility to monitor activity, change passwords, and make changes remotely to the configuration. Stroh receives notifications in the event of a system fault, allowing him to easily correct it without having to roll a truck on a service call.
Since the equipment arrived on site, programmed and configured, installation was simple, and Luxul even surprised Easy Street with album art stickers over their access points, so the system absolutely fits in with the atmosphere.
"By utilizing VLANs and Luxul’s AMS-4424P switch, we were able to minimize the amount of hardware being used, greatly simplifying the installation and minimizing the amount of configuration necessary," says Stroh. "For reliability, Domotz’s alerts allow for constant connectivity and awareness of the network’s performance. The remote management system provides me with functional access to the network without having to be physically on site. This provides greater reliability for Easy Street and saves me the time and expense of rolling out a truck."
"Seth and Luxul worked together to make this a very simple installation," says Andy Nelson, vinyl junkie, VP at Easy Street Records. "The system was designed, configured, and tested before it was shipped to us. Once here, everything just needed to be unboxed, mounted, and plugged in. By sending us a pre-configured, finished system, Luxul provided guaranteed performance and saved us from experiencing any system downtime while issues were addressed. Since going live last October, we’ve noticed our Wi-Fi has greater coverage, speed, and reliability. This provides a better experience for our guests with connected devices, and also a superior listening experience, whether it’s Sonos speakers in the store or at our listening stations. Furthermore, our customers can be certain their information is secure when making a purchase. And if there are any issues, it’s great knowing that Seth will be alerted immediately to take care of it. Our entire network is so much more solid and productive than before. It has transformed the vinyl room to being part of our overall system; so now I can print and do other things just like the adults!"
"In addition to the Sonos improvements, having the Luxul network has been huge overall—especially for me," said Matt Vaughn, owner Easy Street Records. "The entire system is so much more solid and reliable. Since we were able to expand the ‘Boiler Room’ network that was previously just in the basement, we can now have both upstairs computers on the same network that the printer and other computers are on. This means we’ve streamlined our online sales and shipping systems, cut out redundancies, and just made everything so much more efficient. It’s been huge and truly puts us on the cutting edge."