In this blog of the Smart Hospitality Networks series, we explore the different network architectures for different hotel types

Which network architecture is the best for each type of hotel?

Whether you own a boutique hotel or a larger establishment in the hospitality industry, if you’re independent or affiliated to a chain, technology has become a top subject on your agenda. The hotel network that enables guest wi-fi, digital hotel services and supports the business, the back-office tools integration or the staff collaboration can sometimes seem a complex topic. It might happen that in your network discussion, you will hear words like wi-fi high or medium density, access, core, switches, GPON, hybrid, passive optical networks, ONTs.

No worries! You don’t need to be a network engineer to make the right choice if you have some key features to keep in mind! It’s also important to have the right solution and partner, having a deep understanding of your industry and hotel needs, it is possible to design the right LAN and WLAN architecture to cover your exact hotel needs! A solution that is flexible and versatile enough should cover the functional needs of every type of hotel and resort, and address their budget constraints, of course.

We have seen very diverse use cases around the world, as Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise has helped hotels ranging from short-stay, efficient hotels, to medium and large business or urban hotels, or exclusive boutiques and large luxurious resorts to build the right network. Let’s explore some architecture examples.

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Case #1: Boutique hotels with essential network requirements such as guest wi-fi and an easy-to manage network

In this case, consider a simple, secure, and smart business network at affordable prices. Keywords are effectiveness, affordability, simplicity to manage and scalability to support your growth.

A cost-effective architecture combines effective Wi-Fi APs, which we call ‘entry-level’ and ‘medium density’, on top of a high-performing, but simple to manage LAN infrastructure:

• Alcatel-Lucent OmniAccess® Stellar AP1101 or AP1201 (entry-level, small, low-powered and affordable) and AP1221, deployed in what we call the ‘express mode’, adapted to smaller architectures.

• All these APs are deployed on top of a LAN infrastructure based on the Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch® 2220. The OmniSwitch 2220 family is a series of affordable Gigabit switches, with a simplified web-management interface, the necessary performance, quality of service (QoS) and scalability for boutique hotels.

• If the size of the building, the number of rooms and the IP devices to be connected is higher, the design might require access and core layers, so you would need several switches, such as the OmniSwitch 6350s for the access and OmniSwitch 6450s for the core.

Case #2: Medium and large segment hotels with high demanding, converged networks that need to manage high density traffic from both users and connected objects.

For this case, a multi-layer network will provide the maximum benefit for your Wi-Fi and IoT devices, relying on multi-gig, high Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) access switches, combined with the larger density wi-fi APs. These switches were designed for the most demanding converged networks: they handle high-density traffic, unified access and offer smart analytics. We would recommend OmniSwitch 6450 for the access layer and the OmniSwitch 6860 for the core layer.

The wi-fi network deployment can, and should, combine different access point models that can answer the traffic requirements for different spaces:

• High performance indoor wi-fi APs for guestrooms, especially designed for the hospitality industry, such as the AP1201H which can support multimedia guest traffic and content streaming

• Entry-level APs like the AP1201 for low density areas, such as corridors, and mid-level APs AP1221 with better performance for general indoor common areas, like lobbies, bars, fitness center, etc

• High-end APs AP1231 for busy areas with a high density of users, such as conference rooms, auditoriums or commercial centers

• As well as the ruggedized AP1251 for outdoor deployments.

All the architectures designed with these elements can be managed either with an on-premises management system Alcatel-Lucent OmniVista® 2500, or from the cloud with OmniVista Cirrus Network Management as a Service.

Of course, these two architectures offer enough versatility to provide for every combination of hotel characteristics using ALE LAN and Stellar WLAN equipment.

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Case #3: Custom-needs hospitality establishments: large or multi-site resorts, hotel casinos, cruise ships

Last, but not least at all, there are hospitality establishments with very specific needs that may require a customized design, such as the case of extra-large resorts, big convention centers, hotel casinos and cruise ships. For these types of configurations, ALE provides the necessary support for project assessment and services, and equipment. For example, some models of ALE LAN switches are DNV certified to meet requirements for maritime transportation. There are ruggedized models for ALE LAN switches and Stellar APs for outdoors and harsh environments. In now we are introducing a hybrid H-POL reference architecture to complement GPON networks with advanced Ethernet LAN and WLAN features and services.

A word about GPON

GPON has been the buzzword in hospitality networks lately, as the GPON vendors claim that it offers cost efficiency and allows to optimize cabling and switch costs. However, pure GPON cannot not satisfy the level of services and redundancy that are required in most of mid and high range hotels. As it was the case of Okada Manila, a very large Asian resort with gaming, hotel, and retail spaces distributed over large areas, difficult to cable in the traditional way. Manilla Okada, as many other large hospitality customers, had very strict security, redundancy and reliability requirements. To answer these requirements, we developed a hybrid H-POL network to complement GPON infrastructures with increased security and intelligence. We will develop this customer case, as well as the pros, cons and adapted GPON solutions for hotels into the next blog post.

If you want to have an in-depth, technical or business conversation about hotel networks, don’t hesitate to contact Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise and our team of network experts!

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About the author

Ana Mata

Business Line Manager Hospitality Networks

A highly analytical and technically minded Senior Expert with extensive experience in Business Development and Sales Support.

Having started at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise in 2008 as a Pre-sales Designer, I held roles such as Contact Center Business Developer and Business Developer for the channel sales organization. In my present role as Business Line Manager for Hospitality Network Solutions I’m in charge of the networking offer for the Hospitality industry, including the definition of the value proposition for Customers as well as Business Partners.

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