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Historical Landmark Gets State-of-the-Art Network

Menger Hotel enhances guest experience and business productivity with D-Link Solutions

 

Key D-Link Purchase Drivers

Value: D-Link provided a costeffective wired/wireless unified network solution that met the Menger Hotel’sbusiness needs and budget.

Service and Support: D-Link Professional Services and Beacon worked in tandem to opertationalize and tune the network for optimal performance.

Seamless Implementation: Despite the thick walls, solid roofs and the Menger Hotel’s landmark status, the network implementation was seamless, thanks to Beacon’s experience with historic properties.

Performance: D-Link switches and wireless access points deliver the fast, uninterrupted Internet access in rooms and meeting spaces with support for roaming Wi-Fi devices that business guests have come to expect.

Background:

The Menger Hotel, an impressive structure boasting 310 rooms and meeting, conference and banquet space for as many as 750 people, opened on January 31, 1859. The historical hotel is located in downtown San Antonio, Texas, immediately adjacent to the historic Alamo, River Walk and other tourist attractions. Over the years, the Menger has become one of the best known hotels in the southwest and has housed many famous personalities including Robert E. Lee, Theodore Roosevelt, Babe Ruth and Mae West.

Despite its historical landmark status and location, the Menger found itself at a competitive disadvantage when it came to providing Internet access for its guests and reliable, high-speed wireless to attract business customers. To replace the outdated DSL service in guest rooms, spotty wireless access in the lobby, and haphazard back office network, the Menger Hotel chose Beacon Enterprise Solutions to design and implement a robust unified wired/wireless network based on D-Link components.

The Vision:

Enhance guest experience; Increase back office productivity

The Menger Hotel’s vision was to create a cost-effective unified wired/wireless network architecture to enable:

• Fast, reliable wireless coverage throughout the hotel property, including 200-250 concurrent users in the meeting/conference area.

• High-speed access to the hotel’s back office and web-based applications.

• Easy management and troubleshooting.

The Problem:

An unreliable, wired DSL network and a haphazard back office network

With its DSL guest room network, the Menger Hotel’s IT support organization responded to 5-10 trouble tickets a day and more on weekends. The network was often inaccessible or slow, guests found it difficult to log in and they wanted access away from their room desks.

Similarily, the back office workers encountered network problems weekly. Because it had grown haphazardly, the back office network was not well documented and, as a result, difficult to troubleshoot.

Adding to the challenge were wireless penetration issues caused by one to two-foot thick limestone walls and ceilings that could not be modified due to the hotel’s historical landmark status.

After considering proposals that included Cisco and Ruckus Wireless networking solutions, the Menger chose the Beacon Enterprise Solutions Group based on its significant experience installing wireless networks and D-Link gear inhistorical hotels such as The Brown in Lousville, Kentucky and the Inn of the Hills in Kerrville, Texas.

The Solution:

Total wireless coverage for guests and business meetings

A complete site survey of the Menger Hotel property determined that although the stone walls in the hotel’s original footprint were largely impenetrable the standard dropped ceilings in the newer areas of the hotel presented little obstacle to wireless signals or cabling to APs. To provide the performance, range and coverage needed for guest rooms and the meeting room areas, Beaconchose three D-Link products; the DWL-8600AP, the DGS-3100 series and the DWS-4026.

With concurrent operation in both 5 and 2.4GHz frequency bands, four antennas for maximum coverage, and load balancing among neighboring APs, the DWL-8600AP delivers the capacity, reliability and coverage the Menger needed.

The DGS-3100 family of switches enhances network security through the D-Link Safeguard Engine that detects viral or Denial of Service attacks and takes corrective action.

The DWS-4026 switch provides central management over the connected DWL-8600APs and together provides a number of advanced, multi-level security features. In addition, through pre-authentication, key caching and the Fast Roaming Feature, wireless users can freely move about the hotel property without losing Wi-Fi.

With much planning to overcome the Menger’s structural obstacles, Beacon installed 68 DWL- 8600APs in a staggered configuration on alternate floors and seven APs in the meeting room areas to support 200-250 simultaneous users.

The APs get PoE from the nine DGS-3100 switches they connect to which connect via 6-strand 10Gbs fiber optic cable to two DWS-4026 switches in the main distribution frame. A dual WAN gateway connects via fiber to two ISPs for 20 Mbps of reliable Internet connectivity and an MPLS gateway connects to headquarters.

High-speed network for back office

The PCs used by the accounting, sales and registration desk teams are directly connected to DGS-3100 switches. Besides access to the front and back office hotel applications used by the staff, Menger Hotel revenue manager Patty Cuellar is now able to achieve continuous high speed connection to the Internet.

D-Link in Action:

Dramatic decrease in trouble tickets; uptick in revenues

After the wireless network installation, guest trouble tickets have decreased from 5-10 a day to fewer than 10 in a month.

“We are expecting revenue growth in the next 18 months because the road warriors and business conferences that would have looked elsewhere in the past are now looking at the Menger Hotel because of our wireless system, “ Cuellar says.

As for the back office, the improvement has been tremendous. Calls to IT have gone from one a week to zero in the two months of the new network’s operation. Should any calls occur, the now simplified and well-documented back office network will present no obstacles to troubleshooting.