Making Big, Easy, In The Big Easy

When you have a 13,000-square-foot home, creating a strong Wi-Fi signal and a reliable smart home network is no small task. The first company to attempt this installation found that out the hard way, leaving the home with an incomplete home automation system and a home network rife with issues. Turning to Magnolia to bring the system to life, this New Orleans family not only got the network and smart home they truly wanted, but they also got a system that’s incredibly easy to use.

Getting it right

A weak network can cause nearly every other aspect of your home to suffer. When Magnolia walked into this modern home, they noticed that not only was the Wi-Fi incredibly slow, but the family had major issues with their home automation system as well. Project Manager Jeremy Bass told us, “When we asked the homeowners how they liked their current system, they blatantly declared, ‘We hate it; it doesn’t work.’”

They went on to say, “We originally had it done by a local home automation crew. It started off great, but they literally left the project half done and walked out. Then, things kept going out. Magnolia came in and did a quick survey, and said they could clean up the mess. They were very organized. Other quotes were just random numbers and figures. Magnolia gave us sketches and ideas and had a greater understanding of what needed to be done.”

To solve the networking issues, Magnolia installed a Ruckus wireless system. This solution gave the family the signal strength they needed. Now every device in the home gets an optimal signal, allowing their devices to work to their full potential.

Magnolia Programmer Andrew Scoular explained, “Once we deployed the Ruckus system, we made sure the access points were properly distributed throughout the house, giving it one nice big bubble of Internet, as opposed to little spots where you could get it. With the right network in place, things really started to come alive.”

But before the system could really take off, Magnolia noticed that even though the Wi-Fi was good, the Internet was extremely slow. Magnolia called on the cable company to run some tests, and they found the main cable running to the house was damaged and needed to be replaced. “Personally,” Andrew told us, “that’s a point of pride and huge frustration for me. Frustration because we weren’t the first company to touch this but we were the first to identify the real problem, and to me that’s huge because four other companies did four other networks here, and none of them recognized the main problem.”

“I’m a football junkie, I like to watch 6–7 games at once...”

Now the home has an incredibly strong Wi-Fi signal both inside and out. Magnolia System Designer David Milligan explained, “Before they were only getting 3–5MB download speed, and with the last speed test we ran, we got 130MB down, 22MB up. It’s an amazing upgrade.”

Jeremy added, “The best part is, this has gone from a pain-point that makes the client upset constantly, to just any other utility. You don’t pay attention to the electricity in your home; you just flip the switch and the lights come on. Wireless has now become that for them, they just use it under the assumption that it will work.”

The homeowner confirmed this, saying with a smile, “It’s fantastic! We have zero downtime—it’s amazing.”

A smarter smart home

To solve the family’s massive home-automation issues, Magnolia replaced much of the old system with Savant. David told us, “With the old system nothing worked, it looked nice, but didn’t work. It was essentially a sports car without a motor.”

Magnolia not only made the system “work” properly for the first time in a long time, but made controlling the system so much easier for the homeowners. As they told us, “We really like Savant; the ease of it is amazing. The old system was too complicated, and we got no support. The ease of this system compared to the old one is night and day.”

The Savant system controls nearly every aspect of the house, including window blinds, the water and fire features in the backyard, the garage doors and main gate, as well as audio and video throughout the house, including all 11 TVs and the projector in the incredible game room.

“I’m a football junkie,” the homeowner told us. “I like to watch 6–7 games at once. I was always switching channels, because I didn’t want to miss my favorite team’s game, or any of the other games. So now I have enough TVs in there to never miss a thing.”

To control it all, Jeremy explained, “This homeowner was the first in the United States to have the Atlona 16/16 matrix installed. The whole point of this video matrix is to be able to bring a combination of sources to any combination of displays. In this room we have 6 cable boxes, an Xbox One and a Blu-ray player, all of which can go to any of these 11 TVs or the projector, in any combination. This is a very unique way of doing it, but it’s what we knew would work best for this customer’s needs.”

Here today, here tomorrow

After being left empty-handed by their first home entertainment integrator, and having others fail to give them the service they required, these homeowners were looking for someone who could offer them a bit more, both today and well into the future. “I wanted someone that was national, that I knew if something went wrong I’d get some answers, that I knew would be around tomorrow,” the homeowner explained. “When you pay people, you expect them to show up, and that was a big problem with the other company, and with Magnolia that fear was gone. They’re sharp, they know their stuff, and being inside Best Buy was a big plus, too. It’s been up and running now for a few months, and so far it’s been just great.”

Magnolia solved this homeowner’s problems, giving them what they deserved the first time they went through this process. Magnolia System Designer Sean LeBlanc wrapped it up nicely, saying, “We can bring someone from a point of complete frustration, to a point of being able to enjoy their home the way they’ve always wanted to, and that’s really cool.”

The Magnolia team that brought ease and functionality to the system Left to right:
System Designers: David Milligan and Sean LeBlanc
Project Manager: Jeremy Bass
Programmer: Andrew Scoular (not pictured)
Lead Installer: Kevin Foudriat

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