Hospitality is an extremely challenging environment for designing and deploying Wi-Fi networks. The client device population of the guests literally changes on a nightly basis, so there is a constant barrage of new and unknown devices that are using the network. It is also quite common for guests to have multiple client devices (i.e., laptops, tablets, and smartphones) connected simultaneously, and to use their own devices for entertainment, such as streaming media from Netflix or Amazon Prime. Guests expect the same level of experience that they are used to at home, and the quality of the Wi-Fi (or lack thereof) is often considered to be more important than basics like clean sheets and towels. Thus, the demands from guests on the network are extremely high.
Add into this that the guest access may not necessarily be the only traffic on the local area network (LAN). Many hotels are using the Wi-Fi network for internal operations, such as directing housekeeping and maintenance staff, security and access control, VoIP systems for the in-room phones, IPTV, minibar monitoring, as well as for creating “smart guest rooms” with IoT devices to control temperature and lighting when the rooms are unoccupied. In New York City, there is also an ordinance that all staff members have to wear an emergency panic button that will indicate the approximate location of the staff member in the hotel when pressed, and most of these systems work over Wi-Fi.
This white paper will examine the key technologies and design considerations when deploying a wired and wireless network in hospitality environments.