• Goal

    • Deliver seamless wireless for operations plus free guest Wi-Fi for enhanced visitor experience.

  • Implementation

    • Site survey to establish hardware requirements then 1 day to install and configure the network.

  • Benefits

    • Seamless, reliable ship-wide wireless coverage for operations, point of sale, enhanced guest experience and captive portal to capture GDPR compliant marketing data.

Implementation Partner

Harrison IT and WiFi Marketing


    Unique Historic Attraction

    Nearly 200 years old, HMS Unicorn is one of the world's most remarkable historic ships, preserved as a museum and visitor attraction in Dundee, Scotland. It's the responsibility of the Unicorn Preservation Society (UPS), a registered charity charged with the conservation and preservation of the historic frigate as a heritage asset. Matthew Moran is the Museum Director aboard HMS Unicorn. Working with Company Secretary Tom Mitchell, Matthew needed a Wi-Fi solution to support the next exciting phase of development for this unique maritime attraction.

  • Essential Connectivity–Guest Wi-Fi on Every Deck Plus Separate VLAN for Operations

    The challenges of deploying Wi-Fi on HMS Unicorn are unusual, because the museum is housed on board rather than onshore. Matthew explains,"Even a small independent museum like HMS Unicorn needs to offer a complete visitor experience that's connected to the internet. Visitors simply expect good Wi-Fi as part of the visit.”


"Our new TP-Link Wi-Fi is an important step on the digital journey that HMS Unicorn is taking to deliver lifelong learning and engagement opportunities to our visitors. "

Tom Mitchell

Company Secretary, Unicorn Preservation


    Harnessing Rich Media

    With the focus on visitor experience, Matthew and the team were developing digital interpretation resources, including large touch screens on every deck. "We piloted the concept with a digital war memorial that gave visitors background to all the individuals named on the ship. But they had to use their own mobile data to access it." The same applied to the QR-based audio guide. Matthew adds, "When people have paid admission, we don't want to ask them to pay again through their mobile plan to access visitor information as well."

  • Seamless Vessel Wide Coverage

    Getting good visitor Wi-Fi coverage across all decks was absolutely essential. Matthew also needed reliable internet for HMS Unicorn's administrative and management functions, based in the on-board office. "With only one off-the-shelf Wi-Fi router on a 60m long wooden ship with four decks, we couldn't meet our own needs, let alone those of visitors."

    Matthew and Tom turned to their trusted IT partners, John Harrison at Harrison IT Services and Jamie O'Neill at WiFi Marketing for help getting the reliable connection and coverage they needed. Following a full Wi-Fi site survey to ensure maximum coverage, Jamie recommended TP-Link Omada ceiling mounted access points. He expected that two would be needed on each deck.


Total Cloud Managed Network


    Impressive Performance

    Following approval from UPS, John and Jamie returned to complete the installation. In just one day the team installed and configured the access points, running ethernet cables to ensure the access points were positioned for maximum performance and minimum visual impact to the historic vessel. John says, "I was genuinely surprised and impressed when we tested the Omada access points in their locations. The ship was built in 1824 from thick wooden materials. There's no rulebook for a heritage structure like this. But the quality of the Wi-Fi throughout the ship is excellent. You can even get Wi-Fi on the dockside outside the ship." Jamie adds, "In fact, just one Omada access point per deck was enough to cover the whole ship."

  • Unlocking an Exciting Future Digital Experience for Visitors

    With full Wi-Fi coverage of HMS Unicorn for both visitors and staff, Matthew can proceed with the project to expand the digital interpretation footprint. "It's exciting-it will include laser and sonar cloud point scan-based digital models of the ship," he says. "We’re planning localised interpretation-using iPads to provide information about particular artefacts. We will also use QR codes to provide access to more insights and activities."


Seamless Wi-Fi


    Remote Network Management

    Jamie manages the Wi-Fi network on behalf of HMS Unicorn. He uses the Omada Cloud management portal to monitor and maintain the access points remotely. "It’s easy to take immediate action if any issues arise, so there's no interruption to service," Jamie and Matthew agree.

  • GDPR Compliant Data to Build Visitor Relationships

    Through the Omada visitor portal, HMS Unicorn can gather visitor data for marketing purposes in a compliant manner."This will be invaluable," says Matthew. "People may not opt into marketing when they buy a ticket, but they have another chance when we offer them free Wi-Fi during their visit. We'll stay in touch with them, sending information or offers for future visits, to build our community and visitor numbers."


"Finally, we have an up-to-date Wi-Fi solution onboard-it's exciting! This equipment future proofs and gives capacity to our organisation to match our ambitions over the next five years as we expand and develop."

Matthew Moran

Museum Manager, HMS UnicornSociety

Interactive Displays Brings History to Life

Wi-Fi is a vital enabler of HMS Unicorn's mission. Tom says, "We're here to provide a world class museum experience, to safeguard the future of HMS Unicorn, and to make our collections accessible to all. To do all this, we need digital connectivity and easy, universal access to our resources and information, for visitors and staff. We're now ready to take the next steps." The Society has ambitious plans for the future conservation of the ship. It will ultimately move to a nearby dry dock and the attraction will expand to include a new onshore museum. Both the ship and the new building will be fully digitally accessible.

Visit hmsunicorn.org.uk to find out more about preservation and visiting HMS Unicorn.

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