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Case Study: Sheraton Taipei Hotel

Published excerpts from Hotel Management Asia 2011-10-22

In order to meet the increasing demand for WiFi access coming from guests using multiple handheld devices such as iPhone and iPad, the 688-room Sheraton Taipei Hotel recently undertook an assessment of its in-room wireless provision.

The problems it addressed during the assessment were as follows, explains Chang: how to provide full wireless coverage in every single room without having signal interference; how to deploy and manage all access points efficiently without bothering daily room service too much; and finally, how to match room decoration so that the interior design in the rooms would match the IT devices.

As a result of the assessment, the hotel adopted the a WiFi solution from internet solution firm Handlink, which provided secure WiFi access point, Ethernet cable wiring and phone line connections in the hotel room. To provide extra security, the hotel also adopted PoE-2402, 24-Port PoE L2 Managed Fast Ethernet Switch that allowed the IT staff to set up different VLAN ID in each room.

The solution replaces RJ-45 wall jacks of every room within five minutes using existing Ethernet wire. IT staff adjust output power of WAP-001 wireless signals to as low as possible so that it is just enough to cover each single room to avoid potential WiFi channel conflict from neighbouring rooms both vertically and horizontally. A WAP-001 web-based management tool is also used during the deployment to set up IP address, ESSID and VLAND ID.

The benefits of the solution are various, said Chang. "For operations, first, we save the hotel room Internet service efforts and costs as WAP-001 web-based management tool is effectively used during the deployment to set up IP address, ESSID and VLAND ID and its access control function can manage all access points efficiently without bothering daily room service too much. Second, the solution is secure which enable us to protect our hotel guest privacy. Third, we can deploy in-room wireless networks rapidly in every room as we reuse the existing network infrastructure and only replace the wired Internet socket," he said.

In addition, the customized wall-mounted face plates of the solution matched the interior design of the hotel, said Chang.

The Sheraton Hotel Taipei currently charges guests for Internet access at a rate of TWD 480 [US$15.8] per day in all rooms, a decision justified, says Chang, by the reliability and quality of the link. "The wireless access point is deployed in every room for the exclusive use of our guests. Each room owns its ESSID such as Room1560 its ESSID: R1560. Our guests can enjoy better WiFi performance in their rooms without sharing the bandwidth or worrying their information will be distributed to any third parties," he commented.