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Setting up a hotel's network

hotel network

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#1 cyberslam

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 13:35

Hey all!

 

one of my client recently recently bought a 3 star hotel having 90 rooms and i have been asked to look intot the IT aspect of it. its a brand new one with no pre-existing network setup.

 

there would be only 4-5 PC users in the beginning and only PABX has been done so far.

 

I will be looking into setting up a property management solution (most probably cloud based), small network setup for the PCs and access points. The client wants to charge guest for WIFI on a daily basis so a hotspot management device will be required.

 

Based on this what would be your ideal network setup and what devices would you use to implement? The client has no budget in his mind but he is very cost conscious. 

 

 




#2 OP cyberslam

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 06:02

anyone please?

 

Thanks!

:)



#3 +riahc3

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 07:01

Hello,

Hey all!
 
one of my client recently recently bought a 3 star hotel having 90 rooms and i have been asked to look intot the IT aspect of it. its a brand new one with no pre-existing network setup.
 
there would be only 4-5 PC users in the beginning and only PABX has been done so far.
 
I will be looking into setting up a property management solution (most probably cloud based), small network setup for the PCs and access points. The client wants to charge guest for WIFI on a daily basis so a hotspot management device will be required.
 
Based on this what would be your ideal network setup and what devices would you use to implement? The client has no budget in his mind but he is very cost conscious.

anyone please?
 
Thanks!
:)

It is the 31 and you posted this a day ago. Patience :)

Budman is the go to guy for this but Ill ask you some basic questions which answers will problably help him get you help faster.

I started talking about what you posted but I actually decided to rewrite the post almost!

There are several layers in network starting from physical all the way to application. You are already thinking of the application without starting from physical!

And with almost everything physical, we start with money ;)

You said your client was "cost conscious"; This is something that needs to be known, budget. Depending on the budget, you can get material that is supported by a company (example: Cisco) which can do all this or you can do all this with budget hardware/software (pfsense) but involves a bit more tinkering.

And if you are going to invest in a long term investment like a hotel, Id get the network infrastructure right the first time around.

One of the first things is physical wiring; You are going to want to know where you can wire from/to. Budman has a lot more experience in this but personally, Id work from a central common point and work out from there, making a detail diagram of where to and from I want to wire. Planning and drawing this out is VERY important. Ive seen business that have their backup server in one room, their backbone in another....Budman like I said will be more of help than I am.

Next up is physical equipment; Router is obvious but a backup server for a hotel which stores clients personal data, reservations, etc I think is critical. Problably more than one copy is needed as well.

You said there 4-5 PC users; What exactly are these 4-5 PC users? Clients? Employees? Will they be wired 24/7 or work also on wireless? You do you want to split your wireless employees and your wireless clients? Also you are going to have in a 90 room hotel more than 4-5 NETWORK users at a time, believe me...

Also property management solution (most probably cloud based); What exactly do you mean? You want to manage the network from the outside? If so, I dont see any reason why, if you are the only one admining it, that you can remotely troubleshoot it from another location.

Hotspot management.....I think pfSense can do this so you might want to look into that.

Please note that since it is a 90 room hotel, you are going to have to put several APs for all the rooms to have DECENT wifi range (not to mention implement QoS so idiots dont torrent sucking up all the bandwidth). Talking about torrenting, do you want to limit your customers as in no Skyping, no torrenting, no YouTube, etc?

I think you will have to give us a bit more on what the hotel wants from its network.

#4 OP cyberslam

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 10:28

riahc3, i was trying my luck even though it being the 31st :p

 

physical cabling is already done so no need to worry about the physical layer (at least for now) :-)

 

as for your other queries:

 

 

You said your client was "cost conscious"; This is something that needs to be known, budget. Depending on the budget, you can get material that is supported by a company (example: Cisco) which can do all this or you can do all this with budget hardware/software (pfsense) but involves a bit more tinkering.

 

He is a tough nut to crack. He won't give me a figure but just says it should be at the minimum realiable solution so i am sure Cisco is definitely out of the equation. But like you said its for a hotel so its better to get the network infrastructure right the first time around which can be done without cisco.

 

 

Next up is physical equipment; Router is obvious but a backup server for a hotel which stores clients personal data, reservations, etc I think is critical. Problably more than one copy is needed as well.

 

The property management software which will handle all the internal booking, rooms status, client's personal data, reservation data etc.. will be all cloud based and fully secured and backed up (something like RoomKey hotel solution). Keeping this in mind i guess a small local server (HP ProLiant ML350e or ML10 or any other suggestions?) will be handy to keep the local data, storage, sharing the data among the staff etc..

 

 

You said there 4-5 PC users; What exactly are these 4-5 PC users? Clients? Employees? Will they be wired 24/7 or work also on wireless? You do you want to split your wireless employees and your wireless clients? Also you are going to have in a 90 room hotel more than 4-5 NETWORK users at a time, believe me...

 

by 4-5 PC users i mean the hotel staff (employees) only. the wireless has to be split no doubt as the employees will be using the cloud based hotel management soft which will require internet and no hotspot.

 

 

Hotspot management.....I think pfSense can do this so you might want to look into that.

Please note that since it is a 90 room hotel, you are going to have to put several APs for all the rooms to have DECENT wifi range (not to mention implement QoS so idiots dont torrent sucking up all the bandwidth). Talking about torrenting, do you want to limit your customers as in no Skyping, no torrenting, no YouTube, etc?

 

hotspot management by software? is that realiable ? any hardware solution?

 

as for the APs, yes i am aware and even made the client aware that he would require a lot of APs to have a decent coverage at all the floors. bit torrents will definitely be not allowed but no restriction on youtube, skype etc.. can't restrict this much as they will be playing for the usage on a daily basis.

 

 

I hope this gives you somewhat a better view of the situation and thanks :-)

 

 

 

 



#5 trek

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 17:55

Disclaimer - I'm a Cisco guy so I would recommend a dedicated WLC and Cisco LWAP's as the ideal solution but that may be cost-prohibitive.

 

I have several sites with Ubiquti Unifi AP's and their software controller in use in small coffee shops and convenience stores just for guest access. They provide a guest portal and plugins for payment options/vouchers for access. You may want to look at them.

 

http://www.ubnt.com/unifi

The Wireless 2.4GHz N only AP's are less than $100 each.

 

You may also need to factor in the number of switches (and where they will be located) you will need to connect all the AP's (remember the 100m max copper distance). Again, Cisco guy, I would say Catalyst 3750's with POE ideally (though note Ubiquiti's 2.4 only AP's don't use standard POE). In any case, you need managed switches with VLAN tagging to segregate guest access and management networks.

 

Edit - 

For the back office staff; I'd say one Windows domain controller with 2012R2 Foundation (for federation with 365 SSO) that can also be the file server and you can back it up to Azure. You might be able to do WSUS on that server too (but I haven't looked at the recent requirements, just my experience with the previous gen-SBS2008). One virtual Backup DC. Exchange can be Office 365. 



#6 froggyliver

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 18:15

Take a look at Meraki APs. Not cheap, but great cloud management system and support. It can do everything you need for internal and guest separation and even has a chargeable option built in. We sell them and manage them for several clients and is great. Have them in a resort property too. You can get almost everything with 1 license.



#7 +riahc3

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 18:30

Hello,

He won't give me a figure

Then, im sorry, but it is very hard to continue. There has to be a budget to work with that is known. We have no idea of what is your interpretation of "cost conscious" and much less his; This is the first step you have to state clearly: You need a working budget. I understand he might not know how much money you have to put into a network setup, but he has to be willing to put a top price.
 
 

For the back office staff; I'd say one Windows domain controller with 2012R2 Foundation (for federation with 365 SSO) that can also be the file server and you can back it up to Azure. You might be able to do WSUS on that server too (but I haven't looked at the recent requirements, just my experience with the previous gen-SBS2008). One virtual Backup DC. Exchange can be Office 365.

A domain controller for a small-medium hotel with only 5 users? I might be wrong but this seems like ONE hotel, not a chain of hotels. I think a domain controller (much less two) is a overkill, more so if prices are ment to be kept low. Looked it up quickly and Fondation it seems cannot do WSUS.

#8 trek

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 18:33

A domain controller for a small-medium hotel with only 5 users? I might be wrong but this seems like ONE hotel, not a chain of hotels. I think a domain controller (much less two) is a overkill, more so if prices are ment to be kept low. Looked it up quickly and Fondation it seems cannot do WSUS.


Yes. The company I work for owns several hotel properties (some large ~500 users, some small ~20 users). The smallest ones we use SBS (Foundation) for AD since you need AD for the user accounts. The small ones do not have a tunnel/MPLS back to Corporate yet for AD so they need their own. Hotel people always seem to share computers and sharing user accounts is BAD. You could get away with one DC.

#9 +riahc3

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 07:47

Hello,

Yes. The company I work for owns several hotel properties (some large ~500 users, some small ~20 users). The smallest ones we use SBS (Foundation) for AD since you need AD for the user accounts. The small ones do not have a tunnel/MPLS back to Corporate yet for AD so they need their own. Hotel people always seem to share computers and sharing user accounts is BAD. You could get away with one DC.

You just stated 20 users; Yeah for 20 users a DC is great but for 5? And on the limited budget he is on?

#10 The_Decryptor

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 08:01

For starters you'll want all your equipment wired with either strong QoS or a secondary internet connection for people staying at the hotel (You don't want your booking software to die because somebody is streaming a movie, etc.)

For WiFi I'd suggest going a pure 5Ghz setup, but that is unrealistic really (Lots of old phones), so a mixed 2.4Ghz G and a 5Ghz N setup would probably be the best for users (With something like RADIUS auth tied to the room key, etc.)

And YouTube/Skype/Netflix would probably take up more bandwidth than BitTorrent, pretty much however much traffic you budget for will end up being an underestimation.

Edit: And although this is probably already known (I just like to repeat it), for 2.4Ghz WiFi you need to restrict APs to channels 1, 6 or 11. Anything else will cause issues.

#11 +BudMan

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 21:45

"physical cabling is already done so no need to worry about the physical layer (at least for now) :-)"

To where is this physical cabling done - so you had a wireless survey done on where to best place the AP, and then had the physical network ran to these locations already?

Or is there ethernet to every room?

Without some basic layout of this hotel to work with, its almost impossible to figure out how many AP you would need for coverage. Without some basic number of AP to work with its impossible to even begin to come up with a budget.

To do something like this at even the most basic level that will actually work.. Keep in mind to do it right you need to design for 100% occupancy and ability to provide WHAT to the guests for internet access? What is the bandwidth that will be available to the location? You do understand sharing say a 10Mbps internet connection might be fine if there are handful guests, its a HUGE difference if you have 200+ All with smartphones and tablets and laptops, etc.

There is nowhere close to details required to even get started with your request.

Since this seems to be clearly outside current skill set I would suggest contacting a local provider that does this sort of thing. If you need a place to get started maybe look into what the other hotels in the area use, etc.

Here http://www.hotelwifi.com
http://www.ruckuswir...ses/hospitality
http://www.omni-wifi.com/

#12 +riahc3

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 18:08

Hello,

"physical cabling is already done so no need to worry about the physical layer (at least for now) :-)"

To where is this physical cabling done - so you had a wireless survey done on where to best place the AP, and then had the physical network ran to these locations already?

Or is there ethernet to every room?

Im too also confused on what exactly is physical cabling to him; Are there just cables thrown around on the floor, under the floor, on rails on the top of each floor roof (Ive seen this and it looks horrible), over/inside the roof, etc? Are these cables even wired to a wall female RJ-45? Is there ethernet in every room?

 

Without some basic layout of this hotel to work with, its almost impossible to figure out how many AP you would need for coverage. Without some basic number of AP to work with its impossible to even begin to come up with a budget.

Actually, I was wondering if they would have a floor plan for each floor of the building. Might make it easier, right?

 

Since this seems to be clearly outside current skill set I would suggest contacting a local provider that does this sort of thing. If you need a place to get started maybe look into what the other hotels in the area use, etc.

Here http://www.hotelwifi.com
http://www.ruckuswir...ses/hospitality
http://www.omni-wifi.com/

I agree. Personally, if I was given this task, I wouldnt know where to even start (except stating a clear max budget which still hasnt been stated)



OP: Ive had tasks (nonethernet related) that are new to me. I suggest you take a afternoon with your PC and research a lot. If you have questions afterwards, ask them here :)

https://www.google.c... for a building

Most of the results are for a home but it will get you started.

#13 OP cyberslam

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 05:36

thanks everyone so far! reading all of your posts has given me a broad picutre of the things to be done & the complications that may arise.

 

I will sit down with the owner hopefully in the coming days to get a better view of what he wants and all.

 

:-)