Southstar Drug Gets Ready for the Future with Huawei Wi-Fi 6

Company Background

Southstar Drug, a subsidiary of Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc., has been supplying a wide range of prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical products in the Philippines (as well as food, personal care, and health and wellness items) since 1937. The company operates several types of store formats, ranging from dedicated stand-alone pharmacies to concessions inside supermarkets and even automated pharmacies with self-service sections.

Founded by the Dy family in Naga City, the company has grown from a humble mom-and-pop business to become the second largest pharmacy chain in the Philippines. And with a bold mission to become the country’s ‘pharmacy of choice’ through service, trust, accessibility, and responsibility — with more than 500 stores nationwide — Southstar Drug is ambitiously planning for further expansion, eager to embrace a future full of possibility.

Key Challenges

In anticipation of rapid service growth, Southstar Drug began planning to build a new Data Center (DC) and office in Taguig City, located in Metropolitan Manila. However, the development potentially faced a range of challenges, from the lengthy construction period required for a traditional wired network, to high Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), and restrictive locations for the Local Area Network (LAN). In face of these challenges, the company decided that it needed to find a stable, high-bandwidth, cost-effective wireless solution.

Huawei Wi-Fi 6 Boosts Southstar Drug’s Network Capabilities

Wanting to use a solution that was already a proven high performer in commercial use, Southstar Drug rejected their legacy vendor and other competitors, turning to Huawei instead. Huawei’s Wi-Fi 6 and Agile Switch solution impressed Southstar Drug’s senior management, who recognized the performance, high capacity and low latency of the technology.

Wi-Fi 6 is the sixth and latest iteration of Wi-Fi, offering vast improvements over the previous generation. With Wi-Fi 6, both network bandwidth and the number of concurrent users possible are increased by four times. Indeed, with considerable expertise and experience in developing 5G technology, only Huawei is able to leverage antenna and Radio Frequency (RF) algorithms to improve the Wi-Fi experience even further. As a result, Huawei Wi-Fi 6 offers unique innovations such as Smart Antenna and SmartRadio, which offer performance well above the industry standard. For instance, latency is reduced to just 10 ms — half that of standard Wi-Fi 6.

As well as deploying Wi-Fi 6, Huawei’s solution for Southstar Drug also used agile switches as native Access Controllers (ACs), eliminating the need for independent AC devices. Indeed, wired and wireless convergence technology means that agile switches can also offer unified management and control of wired and wireless users. Such a unified solution is able to eliminate bottlenecks for wireless traffic forwarding, reducing fault points and improving reliability.

Allied to the clear advantages of the solution, Southstar Drug was also impressed with Huawei’s approach. Huawei demonstrated their competitive edge by delivering a series of workshops and completing Proof of Concept (POC) testing — including troubleshooting — in just ten days. Finally, the partnership was built on Huawei’s commitment to delivering the future-proofed solution that addressed Southstar Drug’s current challenges as well as matching their ambitions.

Southstar Drug — The Path to Success

Moving forward, Southstar Drug is equipped with a future-proofed wireless office network environment, ready to overcome any network challenges in the fast-paced marketplace of tomorrow.

Customer Benefits

Fast deployment and rollout

The limitations of Southstar Drug’s legacy wired access network were holding the company back. Replacing it, like-for-like, would have required a lengthy deployment time, with high equipment expenses increasing TCO. By choosing a wireless Wi-Fi-6 network from Huawei instead, Southstar Drug sidestepped such issues and is now able to operate its business more efficiently and at greater speed, with better access to resources — anytime, anywhere — helping to boost employee productivity.

Built-in smart antennas improved signal quality

Huawei Wi-Fi 6 Access Points (APs) integrate adaptive array antenna technologies and implicit beamforming to implement precise signal detection, suppress interference, and improve signal quality. The result is a seamless and smooth wireless network experience for end users, with fewer physical APs required.



Next-Gen Connectivity – Wi-Fi 6 and 5G Compared

What Wi-Fi 6 and 5G Have in Common:

Core Technologies: Wi-Fi 6 and 5G are both based on orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) technology, which originated from LTE. Wi-Fi 6 introduces subcarriers for simultaneously transmitting user data. In addition, multi-user multiple-input multiple-output (MU-MIMO) is used by Wi-Fi 6 to increase both the per-AP bandwidth and the access capacity by four times.

How Are Wi-Fi 6 and 5G Different:

Application Scenarios: Wi-Fi 6 is a short-distance wireless technology and is most suitable for indoor coverage. Due to the limitation of spectrum resources and power, Wi-Fi 6 does not work well in outdoor long-distance scenarios where signals are prone to interference. The 5G network is planned and managed uniformly by the national authorities based on licensed spectrum resources. For outdoor coverage, signal interference is low, and therefore 5G is a feasible solution. For indoor coverage, however, high-frequency (24 GHz to 52 GHz) signals used by 5G are extremely prone to attenuation, and consequently, complex network planning is required for 5G deployment. Wi-Fi has an obvious advantage over 5G when it comes to deployment and maintenance for indoor coverage. As such, 5G is mainly used in public venues, public network access, and public IoT infrastructure of smart cities. Conversely, Wi-Fi is mainly used for self-built campus networks of enterprises and indoor high-density access.

Spectrum Acquisition: The 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrums of Wi-Fi are unlicensed, meaning registration is not necessary. Enterprises can simply buy Wi-Fi devices to get free access to 10 Gbit/s wireless networks brought by Wi-Fi 6. By contrast, 5G frequency bands require approvals from relevant government agencies from each country. The spectrum application can be a lengthy process and is not suitable for all enterprises. For small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) without fixed campus networks, 5G frequency band application and 5G base station deployment are not realistic.

Costs: Wi-Fi deployment is simple and Wi-Fi APs are becoming more intelligent (for example, Huawei uses smart antenna and SmartRadio RF calibration technologies). Wi-Fi network planning and O&M has become easier than ever before and can be achieved without highly-trained experts. On the contrary, 5G network planning and deployment require extensive network planning and simulation that requires verification by professional wireless network planning engineers, increasing investment, deployment, and maintenance costs considerably.

Deployment: The cost of deployment for Wi-Fi 6 terminals is lower – only a simple chip upgrade is required to convert Wi-Fi 5 terminals to Wi-Fi 6, without the need to change the architecture design. Portable terminals can even quickly support Wi-Fi 6 through PCIe cards, accelerating the development of the entire industry. The evolution to 5G terminals requires a complete redesign of the product, adding significant cost and complexity to the system. Therefore, Wi-Fi 6 network is the preferred choice for non-critical terminals such as printers, electronic whiteboards, intelligent building control systems, projection TVs, and telepresence systems. In April 2019, Intel released the Wi-Fi 6 network adapter, allowing legacy terminals to support Wi-Fi 6 through PCIe.

Wi-Fi 6 and 5G Are Complementary

While 5G promises to deliver unparalleled speed, it is not without weaknesses – namely, costly indoor coverage and poor terminal compatibility. On the other hand, Wi-Fi 6 excels in indoor environments. It can handle even the most demanding scenarios that require high bandwidth, large capacity, and low latency, making it ideal for bandwidth-hungry and latency-sensitive applications such as VR, 4K, and automated guided vehicles (AGVs). Therefore, for enterprises, Wi-Fi 6 and 5G should be deployed together to create an optimal cost-effective network that can handle a wide range of scenarios. For some special cases such as oilfields, mines, and AGVs, 5G has unique advantages including low latency and wide coverage.

In high-density outdoor venues like squares and stadiums, the 5G network will not be able to meet the high capacity demands of the users unless 5G base stations are added. In this case, the high-density access capability of Wi-Fi 6 is a cost-effective solution to tackle this problem and allow a large number of users and terminals to get high-quality coverage.



Making Manila’s ‘Crown Jewel’ a Safe City


In 2003, plans were made to upgrade Bonifacio Global City (BGC), part of a former Philippine Army base near Manila, into a world-class business and residential center. The Bonifacio Global City Estate Association (BGCEA), which provides integrated property management services, began working to transform BGC into Manila’s ‘crown jewel’ and a model for other cities. Today, BGC is a thriving financial and residential district.

“With the rapid growth of BGC as a successful world-class commercial and residential development, we continuously look for ways to improve services for Bonifacio citizens,” said Rodney M. Medrano, Executive Director, BGCEA.

A major goal was to make BGC a safer city.


Medrano said one of BGCEA’s first tasks was to ensure that the city had the right infrastructure to manage and maintain security.

Previously, city surveillance consisted primarily of low-definition analog cameras that did not meet safety requirements. Low-resolution surveillance footage lacked the kind of detail needed by law enforcement to carry out successful investigations. For example, car license plates were unreadable. In addition, manual conversion of all videos from analog to digital, coupled with serious storage constraints, meant that the videos could not be kept for very long after conversion.

What’s more, decentralized camera surveillance made it difficult to analyze footage. Poor legacy network infrastructure included limited, but expensive, fiber networks for transferring images.

All these issues severely hampered law enforcement and crime prevention efforts. Giving the city a larger view of public security meant that changes were needed: A new, high-definition surveillance solution had to be centrally connected and managed. Also monitoring points for installed networked cameras needed to be evenly distributed to ensure comprehensive coverage of the city. Finally, these images must be transmitted across varying distances, unblocked by high-rise buildings.

“We wanted to ensure that public safety remained a top priority, and that meant overcoming any issues with the underlying security and network infrastructure,” Medrano said.


BCG first contacted Huawei in 2014. While competing vendors were considered, none were able to offer Huawei’s comprehensive solution that addressed all the city’s public security concerns.

“We were thoroughly impressed, even at the proof-of-concept stage, “said Bernard Beltran, IT manager, Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation. “Huawei looked into every possible aspect of the issues we presented, and arrived at a set of solutions that left no stone unturned. “

Huawei’s Safe City solution consists of High-Definition (HD) Intelligent IP Cameras strategically located to ensure comprehensive coverage. Huawei’s network design ensured that images could be transmitted across varying distances to the command center without being blocked by high-rise buildings.

Cameras are connected to a central command center by means of a Wi-Fi backhaul network across the city’s major grids. This makes an expensive fiber network unnecessary. Personnel at the command center use video analytics to coordinate camera visuals. Although BCG now uses a microwave backhaul network, it plans to soon change to a more cost-efficient mesh network.


  •  24/7 intelligent security surveillance with data analytics detect crime and help manage traffic.
  • Local law enforcement now has an effective platform to help them deter crime in BGC.
  • BGC is considered the safest business and residential township in the Philippines and has set the benchmark for other cities to emulate

BGC was the first Huawei Safe City project in the Philippines. The success of the project led the city to expand the scope (Phase 2) and increase coverage from 70 percent to 100 percent. Phase 3 is now underway, and includes closed parking areas, office space, major shopping areas, and traffic management with video analytics.


Huawei Earns the Recommended Ranking in DCIG’s Evaluation of All-Flash Storage

In May 2018, the world-famous technical analysis organization, DCIG, released the 2018-19 All-Flash Array Buyer’s Guide, in which Huawei’s all-flash array earned the Recommended Ranking. This demonstrates the market recognition and the technical competitiveness of Huawei’s all-flash arrays: the OceanStor Dorado series and the latest OceanStor F V5 series.

The DCIG Buyer’s Guide provides users with comprehensive and in-depth procurement analyses and suggestions from a technical perspective. The evaluation covers numerous aspects, including commercial value, integration efficiency, and data reliability, and is regarded as an important reference for CIOs looking to purchase data center infrastructures.

DCIG scored and ranked 32 mainstream all-flash storage products from 7 storage vendors. DCIG assessed the products in 57 categories, falling into the areas of performance, management and software, hardware, virtualization, and technical support. After careful classification, analysis, and filtering, DCIG classified the products into two levels, in descending order, depending on scores. These levels were Recommended Ranking and Excellent Ranking. Only all-flash storage products with outstanding performance and that attain excellent scores are included in the Recommended Ranking.

In the latest DCIG 2018-19 All-Flash Array Buyer’s Guide, Huawei’s OceanStor Dorado V3 storage systems (3 models) and OceanStor F V5 storage systems (5 models) were awarded the Recommended Ranking.

Since its launch in 2016, OceanStor Dorado V3 all-flash arrays have continued to perform strongly in the market. According to an authoritative third-party consulting report, the growth rate of Huawei’s all-flash storage revenue topped the global AFA market in 2017. In March 2018, Huawei launched their next-generation AFA OceanStor F V5 series, completing Huawei’s all-flash storage product portfolio and enabling Huawei to better meet the diverse requirements of its customers. Huawei’s all-flash storage has won the trust of customers worldwide, such as Russia Post, Brazil Caixa Bank, and China Pacific Insurance.

Huawei started research on flash technologies back in 2005, adhering to the concept of ”Data on Demand”. Now, thanks to 13 years of continuous investment, Huawei has a complete range of all-flash storage offerings, designed for mission-critical applications of enterprises, that can further unleash the potential of flash memory. Stick with Huawei Storage to remain at the forefront of All Flash, All Cloud, and All Intelligence trends for data storage.

For more details about this promo you can check our website or talk to the expert Abigail Atizardo; Product Specialist of WSI-Huawei or you can send us email at or call (632) 858 5555 loc. 547.