Has anyone got any insights or opinions on designing guest wireless for a motel?
I'm working on providing a guest wireless network for a local motel with 50 rooms arranged in a U shape with parking in the center (approx 20 rooms on each side and 10 rooms across the bottom). Motel has a brick facade with a window and there are small trees along the interior of the U shape.
My first attempt was to use three Cisco APs with external antennas mounted off the roof at the top of each end of the U with directional antennas pointed back toward the middle and an omni mounted at the bottom of the U. But that gave irregular coverage at best for obvious reasons (brick, windows, trees).
Now I'm thinking about mounting the AP's internally every 3rd or 4th room and turning down the power output and dropping the lower data rates to minimize signal bleed and maximize throughput.
I'm trying to keep costs down, yet still maximize performance. Am I on the right track? Overkill?
All comments are welcome.
Thanks in advance.
I've implemented Wi-Fi in approx 50 hotels. Either on here or offline, if you could provide a top view or diagram that would be helpful. Also, details such as:
- Internal or external property
- If internal rooms, do the hallways have drop ceilings?
- If external, is there a maintenance hallway in the middle?
- Building construction (drywall, brick etc)
- Current wiring (What kind of wiring is currently available in the rooms)
- What type of hotel? It usually isn't wise to put AP's in economy hotel rooms
If you don't want to post details here, feel free to email me at gene at my forum handle dot com. If you could post it here it would be good so everyone can learn from it, but I don't mind helping on an individual basis as well.
I don't have a problem posting the information. My hope is that this will help a lot more people than just me.
I'll post an overhead of the property as soon as I can. As for the other questions...
External property without a maintenance hallway. But there is an attic space above that runs the length of each building.
Each room has a drop with Cat 5e cabling.
There are 3 Linksys unmanaged switches (one for each leg of the U, and one for the bottom) with a cable modem supplying Internet.
It's a business class hotel in a rather small town. I wouldn't want to put the AP in plain sight, probably just a smoke alarm style antenna in the ceiling of the room.
I'll post the drawing as soon as I can.
Thanks for the information. Here are a few points until I see the overhead photo or diagram.
- Please get managed switches. With unmanaged switches every hotel guest has access to every other computer on the network, including other guests, which is bad and can have some liability issues.
- I tend to avoid AP's in attics here in Arkansas. I've had them fail due to extreme heat in the dead of summer. It may not be such a big deal where you live, but something to look at.
- If the attic isn't too hot (over 100 degrees would be too hot) then that may be the place to install the AP's.
- Is this a 2 story property?
I agree about the managed switches, but the only computers plugged into the switches are guest computers and the cable modem. The hotel computers are on a separate physical network.
It could potentially reach over 100 degrees in the attic area. The cold is also a concern.
No it is not a two story property.
Again, thanks for helping me out on this.
Typical rooms are 15 x 24 to give you an idea of scale.
You might consider the use of a captive portal so you can present an acceptable use policy to provide some legal recourse should the need arise.
Can you post the same image with the AP locations and antenna types that you tried before?
The reason I ask is because when I do properties like you have here, I usually install AP's outside with outdoor antennas. I just have to figure out why yours didn't work all that well.
GT, thanks for all the info.
Is this the point where I suggest Meraki?
I have deployed their solution at MDU facilities and it includes captive portal and guest segmentation. Check out this article on my install. http://meraki.com/solutions/cs/barclay/
Might I suggest that you use exsiting cabling and install a surface mount box? If there is an overhang in front of the rooms, you could mount there and use the outdoor rated access points.
There are some manageability features on the product that would be of benefit as well.
Antenna A - 8 dBi Omni mounted at the peak of the roof about 12 feet off the ground.
Antenna B - 8 dBi Flat Panel with approx 60 degree arc mounted approx 7 feet off the ground from a mounting bracket mounted under the covered walkway. The bracket allows the antenna to extend past the walkway and is exposed on all sides.
Antenna C - Identical to Antenna B.