In this last blog of the Smart Hospitality Networks series, we explore the GPON network type and safer alternatives for hotels
As we said in the last blog post Which network architecture is best for each hotel type, GPON has been the buzzword in large hotel networks lately. GPON vendors are being very proactive in proposing passive optical LAN (POL) architectures to hoteliers, claiming cost efficiency reasons regarding traditional Ethernet LAN, as they say that POL allows to optimize the cabling and distribution switching costs.
Although the costs reduction may be true and the optical infrastructure could make sense in certain scenarios, however, we will see in this blog that pure POL cannot satisfy the level of services and redundancy that are required in most of mid and high range hotels. To provide a satisfactory solution, at ALE, we have developed a hybrid POL architecture (H-POL) to complement POL infrastructures with increased security and intelligence, thanks to the advanced Ethernet LAN and WLAN features and services implemented in ALE switches and Stellar APs, as well as the redundancy options at all levels of the network.
On one side, the fiber cable plant of the POL reduces the investment and maintenance costs on copper cabling and active equipment, as well as other related expenses like power consumption, cooling and space for technical rooms. These savings may be relevant especially in large hotels and resorts with long distances or located in tropical climates. On the other side, the OmniSwitch LAN switches and Stellar APs deployed on the edge of the optical network, overcome the POL functional constraints and limitations, providing for:
• High reliability and feasibility, with full redundancy at all levels, eliminating single points of failure, like the ONTs, that cannot be connected to the network through redundant links.
• High quality, state-of-the-art enterprise grade WLAN, with distributed control and seamless fast roaming, to satisfy the most demanding requirements for the guest Wi-Fi service. Although some ONT models provide Wi-Fi, the ONTs are “isolated” equipment, thought for a single user/home in the residential market, and lack of professional WLAN features like seamless roaming, intelligent RF control, automatic fail-over or stick client avoidance, that are essential to the Hospitality industry. Besides, the ONT product cycle does not necessarily fit to the evolution of the Wi-Fi standards.
• Ethernet LAN capabilities and powering options that cannot be provided by ONTs: Medium to high IP port density, MultiGig ports and Ethernet advanced protocols, like SPB, in OmniSwitch LAN switches. Both DC and PoE, PoE+ and HPoE options in the LAN switches, to comply with the power needs of any IoT device, even the most power-hungry ones, and WLAN APs.
• Simplified operations for LAN and WLAN, thanks to the centralized unified management, smart analytics and network statistics in OmniVista.
• Guest and hotel staff profiles management, with unified access, network profiles, guest log-in, captive portal, BYOD...
• Other hospitality value-add services, like LBS and IoT enablement, seamlessly integrated with the ALE networking solutions and management.
In summary, we can say that ALE H-POL takes advantage of both worlds, POL and Ethernet LAN and WLAN, offering combined benefits in terms of cost savings and performance, for those customers where an optical network infrastructure makes sense (typically large hotels and resorts with long distances).
An example of large, high-demand hospitality resort network addressed with H-POL
Okada Manila Resort is the largest integrated casino and resort in the Philippines. The challenge in this case was to respond to extremely demanding scalability, reliability and security requirements, while providing a high level of network capabilities and functionalities.
In key figures, Okada Manila Resort is:
• Almost 1000 rooms
• 500 gaming tables and 3000 slot machines in the casino
• 21 restaurants
• More than 50,000 IoT devices
• Up to 20,000 guests and external customers during peak hours, who need to be able to connect their devices transparently and securely, and have an excellent user experience.
All the above had to be connected to the same hotel network.
Due to the long distances within the resort, a fiber infrastructure based on passive optical network (H-POL we mentioned above) was chosen, which meant an optimization of the wiring costs and distribution switching. However, to provide connectivity to the high volume of servers and wired devices, and satisfy the advanced network functionalities, as well as the level of reliability required, ALE deployed a hybrid H-POL network with a campus core of OmniSwitch 6900 switches and an access layer made of OmniSwitch 6450 connected to the edge of the POL.
The IP connectivity to all the wired devices in the casino (gaming tables, slot machines, workstations), in the retail areas and in the hotel rooms (IPTVs, WLAN APs, IP phone) is provided by OS6450 switches, each one connected to the optical network through two SPF ONTs and redundant uplinks. To have a complete redundant network, the OLTs, the core switches OS6900 and the links between them are duplicated, as well.
The H-POL network solution at Okada Manila Resort provides the necessary redundancy, security and scalability, ensuring critical network connectivity and quality of service in the gaming area, hotel, and retail spaces. See the complete Okada Manila Resort story on the ALE public website.
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