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Issue of July 2004 
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Le Meridien WLAN

Unwired for guest satisfaction

Hotel Le Meridien Jaipur deployed a WLAN to provide flexibility to its guests to stay connected from anywhere in the hotel. by Abhinav Singh

Hotel Le Meridien in Jaipur deployed Wi-Fi technology in February 2004 and currently allows 20 guests access to the WLAN network everyday. The Wi-Fi network covers 50 rooms and eight villas in the hotel. The guests are provided WLAN access cards and are charged Rs 100 per hour.

The hotel caters to corporate clientele, celebrities, and is frequented by foreign business travelers and tourists who want the leisure of staying connected in the hotel wherever they move.

“Whether it is in their rooms, business center or the poolside, guests can take advantage of the Wi-Fi connection to stay connected, said Anurag Bhatnagar, General Manager, IT.

The implementation is spread across 16 acres of land and the project cost is Rs 1.5 lakh.

The deployment

Le Meridien Jaipur procured equipment from D-Link and chose Icon Integrated Services as the systems integrator. The integrator also designed and completed the project in December 2003. The hotel went live with Wi-Fi in February 2004.

Anurag Bhatnagar, General Manager-IT, Le Merdian Jaipur says, “We choose products that come with good local support.”

Currently there are two Access Points (APs) installed—one in the lobby and another on top of a villa. The AP models used are DWL 1700 and DWL 1000. Ten DWL 650 PCMCIA WLAN cards have been supplied by D-Link to enable wireless access.

The hotel uses D-Link's DES 3226S switches, a Layer 2 Fast Ethernet stackable switch, and a DSL 1500G Router. The WLAN is connected to an IBM-x225 server. The network is connected to a 64 Kbps leased line provided by Shyam Telelink. The actual throughput is 2 Mbps per user.

Securing the network

Elaborate measures have been taken to secure the Wi-Fi network from authorized access. The wireless cards are only given to the registered hotel guests.

The systems use MAC addresses for authentication. Each wireless AP is configured with the MAC addresses of the authorized client devices. Only client devices with listed MAC addresses can connect through that AP. Besides, all wireless cards have been allocated a particular IP address.

Network design

“Designing the Wi-Fi network was tough since we had to keep the architecture of the hotel in mind,” said Gaurav Hajela, Director, Icon Integrated Services. “The oval shape architecture of the hotel was a hurdle for us as the corners are not straight. This made the signals inconsistent at the corners, and at times signals were weak. We solved this problem by placing one AP at the center of the building and another in the lobby to ensure proper reach,” he added.

Local support

Two personnel at the hotel have been trained to assist guests in getting started with the Wi-Fi connection. And the hotel gets full-time local breakdown support from D-Link and Icon Integrated Services.

Satisfied guests

The Wi-Fi implementation has provided an upgraded level of service to the guests at Le Meridien Jaipur. They no longer have to be confined to their rooms to access the Internet, and can roam within the premise of the hotel freely. “It is a solution, which has really taken the satisfaction levels of the guests to greater heights,” said Bhatnagar.

Future plans

Bhatnagar says, “We are looking at further improving the Wi-Fi network coverage area by increasing the number of APs. Our challenge remains in concealing the APs so that it is not visible to our guests.”

The hotel plans to work with the D-Link team to make the network stronger. It also plans to camouflage the existing antennas and APs in such a way that the network quality is ensured despite remaining concealed within the building.

The hotel plans to install a DSA-3100 from D-Link which is a device used to control and measure the usage of bandwidth consumed by the guests.

A Ticket printer (DSA-3100P from D-Link) for printing the Internet usage by the guests will then be attached to the IBM x225 Internet server and would print the bills as per the usage of the Wi-Fi by the guests. Currently guests are using a pre-paid card to gain Wi-Fi access.

Abhinav Singh can be reached at

abhinav@expresscomputeronline.com

<In a nutshell>
The company

Le Meridien Jaipur is a premier 5-star hotel, which receives a large number of corporate clientele.

The need

The hotel wanted to provide its guest with the flexibility to access the Internet from all areas in the 16 acre hotel, rather than being confined to their rooms for access.

The solution

The hotel uses two access points, the DWL 1700 AP and DWL 1000 AP from D-Link and a number of antennas within the hotel premises to pave way for the Wi-Fi connectivity.

Benefits

The guests at the Le Meridien Jaipur have the flexibility of accessing the Internet from anywhere in the hotel. This leaves them immensely satisfied.

 

 
     
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