Crowne Plaza Houston Upgrades High-Speed Wi-Fi Access in Days

| June 18, 2008

As the Crowne Plaza Houston North Greenspoint undergoes a multi-million dollar renovation, high-speed wireless Internet service stands out as one element is critical to enhancing the guest experience at the hotel. Management announced at HITECH 2008 that they will now the hotel now offers high-speed Wi-Fi access throughout the facility with BelAir Networks and AFL Telecommunications.

The Carlyle Group and Davidson Hotel Company acquired the Crowne Plaza Houston North Greenspoint in early 2007 and began a $12 million renovation of the hotel that included an upgrade to the dated Internet services offered through two different customer interfaces, depending on the guest's location in the hotel. The new network leverages the legacy infrastructure while providing higher speeds and an improved guest experience.

"As one of the nation's largest hotel management companies, Davidson Hotel Company understands that consistent, high-speed Internet access is very important to our guests and it was clear that the services previously available at the Crowne Plaza Houston Greenspoint were not meeting those customer expectations," says Ron Hardin, IT director, Davidson Hotel Company. "With the new network deployed by AFL using BelAir Networks' wireless mesh nodes we were able to quickly and easily provide world-class Wi-Fi services in the guest rooms, and throughout the conference area, lobby and pool."

Up and running in a week
Replacing the previous wireless network that had required more than twice the number of access points, AFL had the new wireless network up and running providing ubiquitous high-speed access in less than a week, with only eight BelAir Networks nodes. A consistent customer interface enables guests to log on to free or paid service options in their room, in the lobby or pool area, or in the conference facilities.

"With this renovation, we wanted to bring best in class amenities to our guests, including high-speed wireless Internet, but we needed a solution that would not require onsite IT support," says Tom Chigoy, General Manager of Crowne Plaza. "Working with AFL and BelAir Networks, we were able to bring high-speed wireless to guests throughout the hotel using very few wireless nodes, so it was fast and easy to deploy but it also required less wiring and labor, and reduces our ongoing operating expenses."

AFL Telecommunications, an industry leader in fiber optics and wireless engineering, chose BelAir Networks for the Crowne Plaza Houston Greenspoint because of BelAir's proven track record in delivering the industry's highest performance wireless mesh networks and their unique outside-in approach for hotel and resort deployments.

AFL's turnkey solution for the Davidson Hotel Company in the Crowne Plaza Houston Greenspoint included a detailed analysis of their installed infrastructure, leveraging of existing infrastructure where possible, replacement and upgrading as necessary, and extensive structured cabling. In addition to replacing and upgrading the wireless equipment, AFL also supported installation of a new Internet connectivity management and billing system along with equipment to support application-specific traffic management and bandwidth shaping to ensure a consistent user experience on the new high-performance wireless network.

BelAir Networks outside-in network design delivers extensive indoor and outdoor broadband coverage from high-performance wireless mesh nodes strategically deployed outdoors. This unique approach uses less equipment and wiring than traditional Wi-Fi access points, reducing the cost, time, labor and maintenance associated with the network deployment and its ongoing operation. The highly reliable and esthetically attractive BelAir nodes enable hotel operators to get broadband wireless access up and running quickly with no disruption to guests, visitors or staff.

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