Mandarin Oriental, Boston Delivers Superior Cell Coverage

By Colin Merry, Director of IT, Mandarin Oriental, Boston | June 10, 2009

Situated in a twin tower structure that includes condominiums, retail, and commercial space, the Mandarin Oriental, Boston features 148 guestrooms and suites, along with a restaurant, bar, 16,000 square-foot spa, and four meeting rooms.

Mandarin Oriental, Boston (www.mandarinoriental.com) strives to provide its guests with the ultimate in personalized service. As part of that mission the hotel uses HotSOS, a service management application from MTech (www.m-tech.com) that allows management to notify nearby service personnel whenever a guest needs anything. Housekeeping and bell service employees carry BlackBerries, and service calls are routed through a central console to the employee best qualified to provide the service immediately. The system relies on cellular service from T-Mobile, with whom the hotel has a corporate service agreement.

When the hotel was still under construction, management realized that T-Mobile's service did not adequately penetrate the four lower floors of the hotel, nor did it deliver strong signals to the guest rooms on floors four through eight. Although the T-Mobile (www.t-mobile.com) service was crucial to the hotel's service optimization system, management also wanted guests to have strong cellular service regardless of which carrier they were using.

Deploying proven equipment
In the past Mandarin Oriental has relied on ADC (www.adc.com) to provide in-building cellular coverage in its other hotels, so the Boston location asked them to design a system based on that proven satisfaction. ADC's InterReach Fusion system is an intelligent multi-band active system, which uses microprocessors to enable key capabilities, such as software-selectable band settings, end-to-end alarming of all components and the associated cable infrastructure, and a built-in web server that allows for local or remote access.

As deployed, the system uses a pico base station supplied by T-Mobile to provide the signal. This base station is linked to two InterReach Fusion main hubs in the hotel's main equipment room. From those hubs, the hotel uses existing fiber optic cable to connect to five expansion hubs located in telephone closets on upper floors, and these expansion hubs in turn drive 32 remote antenna units (RAUs) via coaxial cable. The system was installed in August and September 2008.

From the moment it was activated, all of the hotel's BlackBerry systems worked perfectly, and guests and visitors who use the T-Mobile service have had no complaints about their connections. Although T-Mobile was the first carrier to deliver service through the system, Mandarin Oriental, Boston is currently in discussions with AT&T and Sprint Nextel to add their services as well.
 

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