Installing Wireless in a Hotel

Unanswered Question
Dec 27th, 2007

We've been asked to get wireless access to all rooms in a hotel, which is 20 stories.

I'm trying to figure out the best way to do this; and the thing that makes it difficult, is that we have no way of running ethernet to all of the APs due to the design. I'm sure we will need more than 1 AP per floor, as the first 5 floors have hallways that are L-shaped, and roughly 100ft and 200ft long, and the all floors above 5 have hallways that are 100ft and 100ft long.

I like the idea of a mesh network, but I don't believe the cost of the 1500 APs is worth it, as the hotel will not be charging the customers for the use of the wireless.

I do like the idea of LWAPP, and I know we *should* be able to get an ethernet connection to atleast 1 AP per floor.

One thing I haven't been able to find out, is if LWAPP supports WDS (Wireless Distributed System).

I did read where converted APs do not support WDS, and so I wasn't sure if that meant all LWAPP APs do not support it.

If the case is that WDS will not work with LWAPP, any other recommendation?

Thanks!

Jeremy

I have this problem too.
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dennischolmes Thu, 12/27/2007 - 16:29

The 1242 will support indoor mesh soon if not already(new MESH code for WLC controllers and lwapp). Bear in mind that with a single 5ghz radio for backhaul your throughput will drop significantly over 2 hops. You will also have to purchase an additional licensing fee for this on the controllers. Also make sure to stagger the APs between the floors to limit cochannel interference from above and below. Good luck, this will be a challenge.

Scott Fella Thu, 12/27/2007 - 17:52

LWAPP supports fast roaming so you don't have to worry about WDS. Also for the hotel, you can create a custom web login page for the guest users. When you do your survey, make sure you check if you get good coverage from adjacent floors, then you can utilize a staggered pattern for AP locations as Dennis mentioned. i don't think 1 ap per floor will cut it. i can see having an ap maybe 50' - 75' apart, but that is why you have to do a site survey.

jbstanley Fri, 12/28/2007 - 09:23

Thank you very much for the responses!

I know 1 AP per floor won't cut it. I was planning on a minimum of 3.

The hallways are essentially L-shaped, with floors 2-5 having a 100' and 200' hallways, and then the rest of the upper floors' hallways are about 200'.

With LWAPP, do all the APs have to have an ethernet connection? This is my main concern, as the way the building was constructed, it would be too costly to get CAT5 runs to each AP point, if even possible. This is why I was thinking WDS, as the 2 remote APs on a single floor wouldn't need an ethernet connection, as long as the main AP on that floor did.

Thanks!

Scott Fella Fri, 12/28/2007 - 09:49

LWAPP will not work for you if you plan on not pulling any CAT5 cable to the ap locations. I don't think WDS will help you in this case either. you would have to go with an indoor mesh solution, but for a hotel... it would cost you more. In an autonomous ap solution you can use repeaters, but then will loose performance and I would aviod that. If you can't get cables to the ap then I don't think you should go ahead with this project. Free internet or paid internet in a hotel that is slow is not worth it.

jbstanley Fri, 12/28/2007 - 10:29

With this particular instance, pretty much anything to get internet access to the rooms would be expensive. Even with the autonomous APs, it will still be expensive.

I'm just the one working on figuring out how to set it up. A Wireless mesh would work well. Although there are other options that would work well, too. I liked the idea of Long-Reach Ethernet that uses VDSL technology, but I see that Cisco unfortunately stopped producing this equipment. Although, for 400 rooms, that would be a lot of LRE switches.

Although, I will pass the info along to our contact with the hotel manager, with a rough guesstimate cost of the mesh network, and see if that's something they would be willing to go for.

The hotel isn't locally owned, only locally ran. So who knows, they may go for it.

Thank you all for your responses.

dennischolmes Fri, 12/28/2007 - 10:35

As I said earlier guys. Indoor MESH will be supported in a very near future feature set of the MESH controller code. It has a license fee attached to it however.

reginald-pugh Sat, 01/05/2008 - 07:17

Thanks Dennis, I was attempting to use/test the mesh train on a controller and needed to know about the licensing.

I was hoping Cisco would simply allow us to use the controller and the mesh capabilities without charging us.

This is good to know. Now I must go back and request more licensing. We have a long procurement cycle. Not good at all.

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