How to Install WiFi in a Hotel or Bed and Breakfast

 
© 19 March 2010 by UseMyNet

Coverage

Decide if you want WiFi to cover all of your guest rooms or just the reception area. The size and construction of the hotel will determine how many WiFi access points are required.

Site Survey

You can conduct your own site survey with the following equipment


First run inSSIDer on the laptop and see which WiFi channels are in use in your neighbourhood. You will get the best signal strength on an unused channel. Next setup the WiFi access point on that channel and set the network name (SSID) It's not necessary to connect the access point to the Internet at this stage. Place the access point in a suitable location and move from room to room with the laptop noting the signal strength shown by inSSIDer. It's best to leave the laptop in one place for 2 minutes before reading the signal so that the signal can stabilise. Move the access point to another suitable location and repeat the exercise, in this way you can determine the best location to place access points and how many you will require to cover the hotel.

Linking the access points.

If you need more than one access point they will need to be linked together and to the Internet. There are various ways of doing this:

Wired backbone.

Running Ethernet cables (also known as CAT5) between the access points provides a very reliable connection. However running cables can require a lot work and care in placing the units. It can be hard to find routes for the cables in an established hotel and can make a mess.

Homeplug

For smaller hotels the access points can be linked with Homeplug units, these transmit data over the electrical wiring. Each access point will require a Homeplug unit. Homeplug units can be bought for around £30 from (http://www.homeplugs.co.uk)

Wireless Distribution System (WDS)

Many access points support WDS which can be setup to allow access points to communicate with each other. When you setup access points with WDS it provides an extended WiFi network with the same network name (SSID). The throughput of WDS will be slightly lower than the other methods as the access point has to use some of its bandwidth to repeat the signal to the next unit.

 

Controlling Access

Decide if you want to offer guest free WiFi access or if you wish to charge them. Also consider whether you want to restrict neighbours to your hotel from making use of the free service ! Various methods of controlling access are available; you could give each guest a unique code to enter; or you could provide a few hours each day free and only charge heavy users. These decisions will depend on the type of hotel and the local availability of Internet access.

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