Why do Hotels use Free WI-FI? Bates Motel use case.

Posted: August 27, 2012. At: 12:03 PM. This was 5 years ago. Post ID: 4499
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The many Hotel chains around the world use free Wireless Internet supplied to their rooms as a service to their customers. Not all hotels offer free Wifi, instead they charge a fee per day for the use of the Wireless Internet. The hotels that charge a fee for broadband, sometimes an exorbitant amount in the case of some prestige hotels are becoming less popular as the customers move to other cheaper hotels that offer free WI-FI as part of the room charge. It is necessary to offer Wifi Internet with WPA2 security and wireless intrusion detection to ensure the greatest level of security for the users of the wireless Internet. Using a central Wireless Controller and ‘thin’ Access Points deployed throughout the hotel will be the best way to carry out the wireless deployment with less problems in the long run. This is using a centralized architecture; only the wireless controller needs to be updated with new settings and the whole network will continue to work, if we were using ‘fat’ access points it would become necessary to update all of the access points one by one with the new settings, and in a large deployment this could result in mistakes. A single Wireless Controller and many ‘thin’ Wireless Access Points deployed throughout the building, the cost of managing the network is lessened.

This means that the ease of managing the network will result in less problems in the long run and this will result in a large cost saving for the network administrators. Deploying an outdoor Access Point will mean that customers of the hotel will be able to access the Internet outside at the poolside, outdoor cafes et cetera. Deploying dual 80211g and 80211a support will ensure that the most devices are supported by the network. The Access Points used will need to support 80211g which is backwards compatible with the older 80211b and 80211a to help ensure the maximum number of clients are supported by our hardware. The Access Points will be required to have flexible mounting options ensuring the Access Points are deployed safely and they are mounted securely anywhere they are installed. This will help if they are requiring service or replacement, the necessity of Occupational Health and Safety in the workplace means that the mountings will need to be in a location that is safely accessible by the network administrators without any dangerous maneuvering.

With the preponderance of Voice Over Internet Protocol use these days, it is necessary to ensure that the voice traffic can be differentiated from the data traffic, this is essential for the 802.11 frames to be assigned the correct priority. Most modern hardware will be able to achieve this very easily. A lot of business customers will be using web conferencing and Voice Over Internet Protocol so it is a good move to cater for all customers that will be using our wireless network. A hotel that offers free wireless will gain more business than a hotel that charges a large fee to access a wireless network. And catering for business customers will give the hotel a good reputation. Using the network deployment described will ensure that the network will perform admirably and will require less maintenance in the long run. For authentication, you could use a password given out to the customer after they pay for their room, this will be a perfectly good method of making sure that only paying customers have access to the Internet connection. Or a token that allows access via a portal upon connection that requires authentication before Internet access is granted.

The trick with a large number of wireless Access Points is to reduce the power of the Access Points to ensure the signals do not overlap, this and possibly in a large building having sections split into separate Subnets to mitigate the effects of a large number of users streaming video and using VOIP connections to communicate as well as uploading and downloading very large files necessary for their work. Also, having the separate networks on separate channels is another way to help reduce interference on the network. But a properly deployed network will make this easy, each Subnet would need to be on a separate network switch and this will add to the complexity of the network deployment, but will pay off in the long run. Charging for the Internet is not a very popular move when other hotels offer free Internet with the room charge, this how you get repeat business. In summation; the best idea for a network in this use case is a network of wireless Access Points connected to one wireless controller that will manage the wireless network for the entire building.

With the size of the building and the layout in an L shape, it is certain that one network could cover the entire building easily.

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