The Client

Wightlink is the main link between the Isle of Wight and the mainland. Every year, they carry over 4.5 million passengers, making them one of the UK’s largest domestic ferry operators. They provide Island residents with an easy and frequent service to the mainland, as well as giving millions of holidaymakers a taste of Island life.

The Challenge

Following the decision to invest £45m in a new vessel and a new port to accommodate it, Stuart James, Director of Innovation and Marketing, engaged long term IT partner Astro Communications to undertake an extensive network upgrade on the LAN and wireless infrastructure at the two main ports of Gunwharf and Fishbourne. The new network needed to be scalable enough to cater for services such as Guest Wireless and CCTV as well as robust enough to work throughout indoor spaces, outdoor spaces, cars and truck lanes for ticket scanners and future proof to accommodate possible future technologies such as in-lane purchasing and ANPR. All needed to be delivered in the middle of a complex and challenging construction project.

The Solution

Astro delivered an Aruba based wireless solution along with a new fibre loop throughout the ports and a distributed underground CAT5 network, street cabinets and in-building switch replacement.  A new guest captive portal solution using Wireless Social’s platform has also been deployed to provide an end to end, streamlined GDPR compliant experience for guest wifi users. The solution was delivered on-time and on budget, despite many challenges and paved the way for an extension to the managed service and future projects.


“We have enjoyed a long-term partnership with Astro and, as such, they completely understand our business and the impact and urgency surrounding our networking and IT operation, including providing our core infrastructure for operations in all weather conditions. As a 24/7 business we need that level of understanding.  I have always been able to contact them immediately and resolve any issues and challenges we face.  Our working partnership is excellent and Astro provides the right level of response every time.”