Greenbrier Resort Ends Cellular Coverage Gaps

By Mike Keatley, Director of IT, The Greenbrier Resort | October 23, 2008

Management at The Greenbrier, a historical landmark nestled in the Allegheny Mountains of White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, has always focused on providing its guests with luxury in a historical setting. With a new initiative to improve its technological capabilities, management's first step was to deploy an in-building wireless solution to eliminate cellular coverage gaps. 

Thick walls, thin wireless coverage
The Greenbrier's main building is located on a hillside in a rural area. The sloping setting and thick concrete walls made it impossible to get adequate cell signals in facilities like the spa, indoor pool, conference rooms and kitchen.

When the resort was to be closed for general renovations during the first quarter of 2007, management decided that it was an ideal time to upgrade the cellular coverage. The primary goal was to ensure cellular service for The Greenbirer's guests, but to also expand available services from US Cellular, The Greenbirer's primary carrier, to others that might be used by guests. Management also wanted the option to take advantage of the push-to-talk services offered by another local provider.

During the summer of 2006, management consulted with Cingular Wireless through a referral from The Greenbrier's parent company, CSX. The Cingular experts recommended ADC's InterReach Fusion system as the one that best met our criteria.

"Un-wired" for opening day
The ADC engineers designed a system consisting of a main hub located in our data center, two expansion hubs placed in wiring closets, and 12 remote antennas covering the conference rooms, indoor pool and spa, ballrooms, theater, and lower lobbies as well as the kitchen and other "back-of-the-house" areas.

The system's active architecture simplified deployment. Since the system uses thin CATV cabling to link the hub with remote antennas, the cabling could be pulled within existing utility raceways rather than forcing major work on the ceilings.

The Greenbirer finished the deployment in plenty of time to test it before the hotel re-opened in April, 2007, and the system has worked flawlessly ever since. The coverage problems that management had before have disappeared and they have since added Verizon and are considering additional carriers so  guests can expect service wherever they go.

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