I am an IT Professional for a large suburban hotel that is 40+ years old. We are experiencing a high percentage of internet issues in the guest room areas, and I’m looking for feedback from other IT professionals on my situation. The owners have given us a project budget that will cover replacing our existing system. The Senior Hotel Management Team and I have a difference of opinion on how to spend project monies to improve our product and customer satisfaction.

Not too long ago, I engaged several local vendors to tour our site and complete a site survey of the phone line infrastructure in the guest room area. In small IDF closets, our punch-down blocks are corroding due to age & moisture and in many cases this corrosion extends to the end points in the guest rooms. I sought professionals to document the existing conditions and create a trip report. We are being told the wire to the guest rooms is pre-cat1, “jake wire” (standard red, yellow, green, black wires with no twists).

Our current internet solution is DSL, the DSL chassis are in a head end room and modem devices are in the guest rooms. About a quarter of the rooms have modem/access points to give us wireless access throughout the building. The brand and model of equipment our high speed internet provider supplied & installed is subpar at best. Now that we have had the current equipment for 4 years we are experiencing hardware failures and our vendor is no longer purchasing/supplying this older style, which is only compounding our problems. We are preparing to remodel ¾ of the building near the end of the 2011 year and want to ensure that the long term solution is superior.

The entire building is concrete and block so the remodel will be mainly cosmetic (carpet, paint, wallpaper, etc.). I have proposed to re-cable the building during this time with fiber and cat6 at which time we would need to create new IDF / termination points as the current building has wire runs in excess of 850 feet. I have received several estimates which range from $500,000 to $1,000,000, which includes labor, material, cosmetic repairs configuration, etc. (the biggest majority of this goes towards labor for core drilling). This would allow us to improve internet connectivity as well as voice, and set us up for IP TV. The Senior Hotel Management Team believes that wired connections are becoming obsolete and re-cabling is unnecessary. They would like to pull a few new lines for wireless access points then upgrade the DSL system to a TUT2/3 system. The Hotel does a fair amount of business involving government contracts (branches of the military as well as other vendors such aviation defense contractors). To my knowledge, the market segment frowns on wireless connectivity for security reasons. This is one reason I favor new cable, however, Senior Hotel Management believe that wireless encryption will improve to support our groups and that hard wiring of the facility is not necessary.

What are your thoughts? What is the future in twisted pair technology? Should this $250,000 be put toward a large $1M cabling project or go with a TUT system on our old decaying wiring? If you have any other suggestions, I’m open to those as well. Thank you in advance for your input and I look forward to seeing the responses.

I am no expert, but I think that wireless for the hospitality industry is the way to go. There should be no security issues with wireless as it can be secured, and firmware and firewall settings in the wireless routers can prevent unauthorised access.

Why not just make the whole building and grounds a "wireless hotspot"? Most travellers/guests are having their own mobile devices such as laptops, blackberries etc and they do not need cable to connect. You can even implement a "paid hotspot" where clients redeem vouchers they buy at reception for access, by entering the voucher code to login. There are free hotspot firmware suppliers out there, who provide you the whole paid service, for a cut of the profits, if you want to go that route.

IMHO copper cables are retro nowadays.

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