ADSL or Wireless in the
MxU Environment? 

It’s Quite Easy to Assume that Deploying Wireless HSIA in a Hospitality MxU Environment Would Be
the Most Cost Effective and User-friendly Access Technology – If One Believes the Hype. 
Read the facts. 


January 2004 - Paradyne’s customers face tough decisions when deploying connectivity technology today and are choosing infrastructure solutions. Installing BitStorm ADSL solutions provides for your guest needs now and in the future.
It’s quite easy to assume that deploying wireless in a hospitality or residential MxU environment would be the most cost effective and user-friendly access technology – if one believes the hype. While many vendors have successfully hyped WiFi as the ultimate in connectivity, it is very important to understand the limitations of 802.11 technologies.
  • WiFi (802.11b) has a theoretical maximum data-rate of 11mb/sec, which in practice is more often equivalent to 6mb/sec.-sustained data rate, and at a maximum indoor range of 150ft. Extending these ranges with amplified antenna may cause the installation to violate FCC regulations.
This is a very important issue. Many providers are using highly amplified antennas to extend coverage areas. FCC 15.247 limits the output power of any single access point to 1 watt. In the event that the signal bleeds, the hotel – as owner of the WiFi network will most likely be required to modify their WiFi network, adding access points to the areas previously covered by the over-amplified signal.
  • Each access point SHARES it’s bandwidth between all users connected to the AP, and cannot guarantee any user even best effort 1mb data rate.
The above bullet point illustrates another key failing of WiFi. Many hotel companies have written their standards in such a way as to guarantee 1Mb minimum for each room. Given the limitations on WiFi, and the practical 6mb maximum data rate, the hotel would need to install one access point for each 5 or 6 rooms.
  • Bandwidth is further an issue should a hotel desire to deploy their own services (for internal use) over the same wireless network.
While certain models of access points permit public and private networks to share the same AP by permitting multiple SSID’s to co-exist, these networks still share the bandwidth and processing power of the AP.
  • Adjacent access points must be installed on different channels. Areas of overlap may require customers to select which access point to connect to.
WiFi (802.11b / 802.11g) provides for only 3 non-overlapping channels. Some software, including Microsoft XP, will automatically select the strongest nearby access point. Due to the non-regulated nature of this spectrum, there is no guarantee that the hotels access point will be the strongest – the coffee shop next door could be providing a stronger signal to the guest.
  • 2.4Ghz is subject to interference from cordless phones, microwave ovens and other devices – including possibly a guest’s Bluetooth devices (cell phone, wireless mouse, etc.).
WiFi acts like a wireless Ethernet™, and it deals with interference like Ethernet does. If a transmission fails it assumes that a collision has occurred due to two stations trying to transmit simultaneously, and an ARQ (automatic repeat request) is issued. In addition, many installations of 802.11b utilize the optional automatic data rate modification feature. This allows the data rate to fall back from 11 Mbps to 5.5, 2, or even 1 Mbps, in an effort to lower the Bit Error Rate (BER) due to poor signal-to-noise ratio (SNR).

A Bluetooth device in a guests room will ‘hop’ frequencies trying to find one free of interference, but this action alone is likely to force the AP into an error state, at least until the Bluetooth device migrates out of the channel occupied by the WiFi access point. And while the Access point has ‘fallen back’ to some other data-rate in response to this interference, by design the AP will wait for some period of time before falling forward to the original transmission rate.

  • Wireless, because of it’s ‘shared bandwidth’ is not viable for delivery of video or other services requiring dedicated point to point bandwidth – it is an ‘access’ technology only.
  • 802.11 networks still require CAT5 cable or other network connections to be run to each and every access point. Costs must be considered for modifications to the building structure including core drilling for chase conduit or conduit between floors.
  • Wired Ethernet adapters outnumber wireless by at least 10 to 1 – even wireless ‘tablet’ PC’s include an RJ45 for wired connection.
  • Federal Government employees, a very large segment of hotel business travelers, have been restricted to using wired access only.
On the other hand, ADSL is an infrastructure technology providing for long-term reliability and maximum performance and flexibility.

ADSL is the most widely deployed DSL technology in the world. ADSL is well understood, there are millions of lines deployed and provides the best price/performance of any broadband infrastructure technology. ADSL technology continues to be developed both in standards work and at the silicon level in order to meet the requirements to deliver future applications. The technology has evolved from the ADSL (8M bps) to ADSL2 (12M bps) and onward to ADSL2plus (26M bps).

ADSL is the go-forward technology being used to support HSIA, VOD and Broadcast Video around the world by Telco’s in outside plant and in-building deployments can take advantage of the higher bandwidths supported in these evolving ADSL solutions.

Deployment comparison for two broadband enabled properties

The following is a brief discussion of two theoretical scenarios; identical 200 room hotels, one deployed with ADSL and the second with Wireless. It can also be illustrated to the customer that ADSL technology is - today cost-competitive with correctly deployed WiFi only networks.

The owner of hotel A chooses to deploy network powered by Paradyne DSL. Each room has +/- 8mb data access capacity (dedicated). The DSL deployment is non-invasive to the structure of the building. Existing phone wiring is used to provide connectivity to each guest room and selected conference or meeting rooms. A brief visit to the guest suite is all that is required, with most of the work done at the head end – the telephone equipment room.

The owner of hotel B deploys wireless. A site survey is conducted for his property to determine the best placement locations for the access points. Using wireless access points with directional antennas it is determined that 15 access points will be required to provided radio coverage to the hotel and desired public areas. Hotel B’s access provider must contract to have CAT5 cable run to the access point locations, sometimes requiring boring through floors or walls. The cost of this work must be included in overall installed cost. Power injectors are used to supply power to the access point, so a 48v DC power supply is also required in the equipment room and represents another cost component. A 24 port Ethernet switch with VLAN and VPN support is installed. A properly designed wireless system costs more to install than first assumptions indicate.

So let’s evaluate usage scenarios at these two properties.

Laptop carrying customers of Hotel A can instantly connect their Ethernet enabled laptops (roughly 90% of business laptops sold have an integrated Ethernet adapter) to the network in their rooms. 

Each room has access of up to 8mb/sec. to the shared T1 or DSL line installed for backhaul to the Internet.

At Hotel B the scenario is a bit different. Even with 13 million wireless access devices sold last year, home users far outnumber corporate users. Given this, those corporate users visiting the hotel will likely need to obtain a ‘bridge’ device from the front desk (an inventory / control problem for the hotel) and connect it to their Ethernet port. This device also requires a connection to the keyboard or mouse port and draws voltage from the users PC. A guest connected via the bridge device is not truly mobile = his hands are full with the equipment he must carry. And Federal employees will not even be able to use the network with these devices.

Nor is the network secure at Hotel B. A hacker with a directional antenna can ‘snoop’ on the network in that hotel, and with some effort break into a connected guest’s laptop. A dedicated ‘thief’ could actually spoof the hotels’ connect page, simply by copying it and transmitting a stronger signal at the hotel than provided by the access points, thereby obtaining credit card or other information from the unsuspecting guest. Providing, of course, that there were sufficient guests in the hotel using WiFi. M1, a Singapore telephone company, pulled out of WiFi hotspot deployment in June 2003. 

It's clear that there isn't a paying audience to provide a break-even run for WiFi hot spots at the moment, either in the US or internationally. 
(wifinetnews.com article on M1)

Now take these hotels and move forward a year.

Hotel A has had requests for wireless access in its restaurant and bar areas. An access point is deployed for less than $1000.00 to cover these spaces, and it is integrated into the VBN server so that guests may purchase access in the guest suite and still use the wireless sessions in the bar without having to pay again.

Hotel B wishes to deploy a next-generation Video on Demand system using an integrated IP network. This technology requires 6mb per each room - Hotel B must now deploy a separate infrastructure to each room to support this system.

Hotel A, in competition with Hotel B, chooses to deploy that same type of VoD technology with a Paradyne partner. The infrastructure exists and the product is deployed. Hotel A also integrates Energy Management systems over IP, and fully automatic Ethernet mini-bars in the guest suites. All of these services ride over the Paradyne ADSL network originally installed.

Of course, it is possible to assume that neither hotel will ever upgrade video technology or other service to the guest rooms. However, it is obvious from this illustration that the owner of Hotel A, by relying on a Paradyne partner, has effectively future-proofed his hotel by laying a foundation rather than simply deploying access-only technology.

And Hotelier A has not missed out on the ‘WiFi boom’, he’s merely waited until there was sufficient demand to add what the guests needed to the infrastructure Paradyne ADSL already provided.

This is a KEY point – ADSL does not EXCLUDE a WiFi network. Instead, it provides an infrastructure to support one.

For the customer, the deployment of ADSL technology provides an infrastructure that will ensure broadband service availability to every room in a hotel, or all apartments, even in a campus topology.

Paradyne (NASDAQ: PDYN) develops, manufactures, and markets network equipment to enable voice and high speed data over existing telecommunication infrastructure, worldwide. With headquarters and manufacturing in Largo, Florida USA, the company's products are used in over 90 countries, powering hundreds of telephone companies' data networks and over half the Fortune 500 enterprise networks.



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Also See: Having Problems with Your Current High Speed Internet Solution? Paradyne Can Help / January 2004

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