Discussion:
77 Room Wi-Fi Hotel
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David Kaye
2015-02-08 03:24:25 UTC
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Okay, got a new one. Unlike the previous hotel that at least had Ethernet
running to each floor, this hotel has nothing but a utility closet next to
the elevator on each floor.

The good news is that this building doesn't appear to be made of steel and
concrete, so there'll be less of a signal blockage problem. However, this
hotel is 7 stories tall and running Ethernet cable will be a major chore and
expense.

So, the choices are Ethernet over power line, which I guess is okay, except
it's got to be on one circuit and be able to carry about 5 floors. Or it
could be lots of wi-fi repeaters and lots of hopes that the throughput
doesn't break down.

Is there any kind of higher-powered equivalent of wi-fi, that is a equipment
that operates on different channels and can act as a sort of server to a
bunch of wi-fi client units? If such a bird exists, I don't know about it,
but then I don't know about a lot of things.




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Jeff Liebermann
2015-02-08 04:51:07 UTC
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On Sat, 7 Feb 2015 19:24:25 -0800, "David Kaye"
Post by David Kaye
Okay, got a new one. Unlike the previous hotel that at least had Ethernet
running to each floor, this hotel has nothing but a utility closet next to
the elevator on each floor.
The good news is that this building doesn't appear to be made of steel and
concrete, so there'll be less of a signal blockage problem. However, this
hotel is 7 stories tall and running Ethernet cable will be a major chore and
expense.
Doing the math, that's between 11 and 15 rooms per floor. That
implies a central core (for elevators and utilities), which is going
to be difficult to penetrate with RF.
Post by David Kaye
So, the choices are Ethernet over power line, which I guess is okay, except
it's got to be on one circuit and be able to carry about 5 floors. Or it
could be lots of wi-fi repeaters and lots of hopes that the throughput
doesn't break down.
Both options suck. Bug me if you want details.
Most hotels have CATV wiring. That's what MoCA was designed to use.
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multimedia_over_Coax_Alliance>
<http://www.mocalliance.org>
<http://www.actiontec.com/products/14.php>
<http://www.actiontec.com/251.html>
etc...

A decent MoCA system is expensive. My guess(tm) is about $250 per
room, or perhaps $30,000 for everything. That's still cheap compared
to a service call every time someone complains about crappy WiFi
connections, which I expect to be chronic. There are MoCA adapters
with built in Wi-Fi. Because of the cost, the usual method is to have
the visitor rent the MoCA modem from the front desk, connect it
themselves, and return it when they check out.

I've done two of these so far. Ignoring my learning curve mistakes,
it went fairly well. Biggest problem was visitors who couldn't figure
out how to screw in an F connector. I kid you not. I had cross
threaded connections, broken connectors, and even coax shredded
probably with a pocket knife. Seriously consider push-on connectors.
Post by David Kaye
Is there any kind of higher-powered equivalent of wi-fi, that is a equipment
that operates on different channels and can act as a sort of server to a
bunch of wi-fi client units? If such a bird exists, I don't know about it,
but then I don't know about a lot of things.
Yes, it's called a "wireless LAN switch". The intelligence usually
found in the access points is concentrated in a box that looks and
works like an ethernet switch. The AP's run PoE and plug into the
switch. Some random hits:
<http://www.cisco.com/web/about/ac123/ac147/archived_issues/ipj_9-3/wireless_lan_switches.html>
<http://www.arubanetworks.com/solutions/hospitality/>

Higher power at the access point end is a lousy idea and just creates
more interference. It creates an "alligator" (big mouth, small ears)
where the transmit range of the AP is much larger than its receive
range. Without a corresponding increase in laptop and PDA power,
cranking up the AP power is a wasted exercise.

Good luck.
--
Jeff Liebermann ***@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann AE6KS 831-336-2558
David Kaye
2015-02-08 05:36:05 UTC
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Post by Jeff Liebermann
Doing the math, that's between 11 and 15 rooms per floor. That
implies a central core (for elevators and utilities), which is going
to be difficult to penetrate with RF.
I think it'll be easier than the last one, which was concrete and steel
construction throughout. This one at least has lathe and plaster
construction (or at least it sounds like it when I tap it).
Post by Jeff Liebermann
Both options suck. Bug me if you want details.
Most hotels have CATV wiring. That's what MoCA was designed to use.
Residential hotel again. This one has one (1) cable TV connection for a
common TV on the 2nd floor. But they were so pleased with my wi-fi in
another of their hotels that they invited me to bid this one. If they did
have cable in each room it'd be a snap to equip one router/wap on each floor
and then send out the signals that way.
Post by Jeff Liebermann
Yes, it's called a "wireless LAN switch". The intelligence usually
found in the access points is concentrated in a box that looks and
works like an ethernet switch. The AP's run PoE and plug into the
Okay, this might be on a better track. I'll look into this equipment.
Post by Jeff Liebermann
Higher power at the access point end is a lousy idea and just creates
more interference. It creates an "alligator" (big mouth, small ears)
where the transmit range of the AP is much larger than its receive
range.
What I was thinking of was a higher power switch and compatible higher power
WAPs talking back to it, with conventional 100 mw signal going to the
computers. Given the configuration of the rooms I think the hotel can be
handled with 15 conventional waps and maybe a couple repeaters/extenders.

Thanks for the info.




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Steve Pope
2015-02-08 21:17:15 UTC
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Post by Jeff Liebermann
On Sat, 7 Feb 2015 19:24:25 -0800, "David Kaye"
Post by David Kaye
[...]
Doing the math, that's between 11 and 15 rooms per floor. That
implies a central core (for elevators and utilities), which is going
to be difficult to penetrate with RF.
Post by David Kaye
So, the choices are Ethernet over power line, which I guess is okay, except
it's got to be on one circuit and be able to carry about 5 floors. Or it
could be lots of wi-fi repeaters and lots of hopes that the throughput
doesn't break down.
Both options suck. Bug me if you want details.
Most hotels have CATV wiring. That's what MoCA was designed to use.
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multimedia_over_Coax_Alliance>
<http://www.mocalliance.org>
<http://www.actiontec.com/products/14.php>
<http://www.actiontec.com/251.html>
etc...
A decent MoCA system is expensive. [...]
Post by David Kaye
Is there any kind of higher-powered equivalent of wi-fi, that is a equipment
that operates on different channels and can act as a sort of server to a
bunch of wi-fi client units? If such a bird exists, I don't know about it,
but then I don't know about a lot of things.
Yes, it's called a "wireless LAN switch". The intelligence usually
found in the access points is concentrated in a box that looks and
works like an ethernet switch. The AP's run PoE and plug into the
switch. [...]
Or you could use 900 MHz 802.11ah devices to backhaul between floors.
They should have good penetration (several times the TX power and
longer wavelength). A random search comes up with the Ubiquiti
Rocket M900 at less than $200 (antenna not included).

(I'm still a member of 802.11 and this was a classic use case
for 11ah, although I have no information on whether it actually
works well in practice. In theory it should work for this.)

A possible issue is these might interfere with incumbent users
in the 900 MHz band, such as smart meters...

Steve
sms
2015-02-08 22:10:40 UTC
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On 2/8/2015 1:17 PM, Steve Pope wrote:

<snip>
Post by Steve Pope
Or you could use 900 MHz 802.11ah devices to backhaul between floors.
They should have good penetration (several times the TX power and
longer wavelength). A random search comes up with the Ubiquiti
Rocket M900 at less than $200 (antenna not included).
(I'm still a member of 802.11 and this was a classic use case
for 11ah, although I have no information on whether it actually
works well in practice. In theory it should work for this.)
A possible issue is these might interfere with incumbent users
in the 900 MHz band, such as smart meters...
Steve
I prefer a little extra upfront cost to maintenance issues with extra
radios.

Most buildings have a way to run a thin cable between floors somehow,
whether it's a cable raceway or alongside plumbing. Sometimes you have
to open the sheetroack and then cover it with an access panel door.
Steve Pope
2015-02-08 23:13:25 UTC
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Post by sms
<snip>
Post by Steve Pope
Or you could use 900 MHz 802.11ah devices to backhaul between floors.
They should have good penetration (several times the TX power and
longer wavelength). A random search comes up with the Ubiquiti
Rocket M900 at less than $200 (antenna not included).
(I'm still a member of 802.11 and this was a classic use case
for 11ah, although I have no information on whether it actually
works well in practice. In theory it should work for this.)
A possible issue is these might interfere with incumbent users
in the 900 MHz band, such as smart meters...
I prefer a little extra upfront cost to maintenance issues with extra
radios.
The 900 MHz radios should be reasonably mature products at this
point.

A totally different solution, also without intrafloor wiring,
is to place a mobile broadband router on each floor. You'd want
to implement some sort of tunnel to the hotel's splash page.

Steve

Roy
2015-02-08 22:13:11 UTC
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Post by Steve Pope
Post by Jeff Liebermann
On Sat, 7 Feb 2015 19:24:25 -0800, "David Kaye"
Post by David Kaye
[...]
Doing the math, that's between 11 and 15 rooms per floor. That
implies a central core (for elevators and utilities), which is going
to be difficult to penetrate with RF.
Post by David Kaye
So, the choices are Ethernet over power line, which I guess is okay, except
it's got to be on one circuit and be able to carry about 5 floors. Or it
could be lots of wi-fi repeaters and lots of hopes that the throughput
doesn't break down.
Both options suck. Bug me if you want details.
Most hotels have CATV wiring. That's what MoCA was designed to use.
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multimedia_over_Coax_Alliance>
<http://www.mocalliance.org>
<http://www.actiontec.com/products/14.php>
<http://www.actiontec.com/251.html>
etc...
A decent MoCA system is expensive. [...]
Post by David Kaye
Is there any kind of higher-powered equivalent of wi-fi, that is a equipment
that operates on different channels and can act as a sort of server to a
bunch of wi-fi client units? If such a bird exists, I don't know about it,
but then I don't know about a lot of things.
Yes, it's called a "wireless LAN switch". The intelligence usually
found in the access points is concentrated in a box that looks and
works like an ethernet switch. The AP's run PoE and plug into the
switch. [...]
Or you could use 900 MHz 802.11ah devices to backhaul between floors.
They should have good penetration (several times the TX power and
longer wavelength). A random search comes up with the Ubiquiti
Rocket M900 at less than $200 (antenna not included).
(I'm still a member of 802.11 and this was a classic use case
for 11ah, although I have no information on whether it actually
works well in practice. In theory it should work for this.)
A possible issue is these might interfere with incumbent users
in the 900 MHz band, such as smart meters...
Steve
The Ubiquiti Rocket would be an large overkill and well as being
unwieldy with the external antenna. You want to stick with the
NanoStation or NanoStationLoco. The latter goes for around $125 and has
an integral antenna.

http://www.ubnt.com/downloads/datasheets/nanostationm/m900loco_ds.pdf
Steve Pope
2015-02-08 23:07:34 UTC
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Post by Roy
Post by Steve Pope
Or you could use 900 MHz 802.11ah devices to backhaul between floors.
They should have good penetration (several times the TX power and
longer wavelength). A random search comes up with the Ubiquiti
Rocket M900 at less than $200 (antenna not included).
The Ubiquiti Rocket would be an large overkill and well as being
unwieldy with the external antenna. You want to stick with the
NanoStation or NanoStationLoco. The latter goes for around $125 and has
an integral antenna.
http://www.ubnt.com/downloads/datasheets/nanostationm/m900loco_ds.pdf
Great.

Steve
sms
2015-02-08 05:32:36 UTC
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Post by David Kaye
Okay, got a new one. Unlike the previous hotel that at least had Ethernet
running to each floor, this hotel has nothing but a utility closet next to
the elevator on each floor.
The good news is that this building doesn't appear to be made of steel and
concrete, so there'll be less of a signal blockage problem. However, this
hotel is 7 stories tall and running Ethernet cable will be a major chore and
expense.
So, the choices are Ethernet over power line, which I guess is okay, except
it's got to be on one circuit and be able to carry about 5 floors. Or it
could be lots of wi-fi repeaters and lots of hopes that the throughput
doesn't break down.
Is there any kind of higher-powered equivalent of wi-fi, that is a equipment
that operates on different channels and can act as a sort of server to a
bunch of wi-fi client units? If such a bird exists, I don't know about it,
but then I don't know about a lot of things.
A 7 story building that is not concrete and/or steel-framed would be
pretty rare. I'd definitely look for a way to run Ethernet cable to each
floor through the utility closed floor and ceiling if you can't find a
way to run it next to water and sewer pipes or conduit.

What is the situation with the phone wiring? If there are two UTP pairs
to each room you can use a Monoline Single Pair Balun to run 10Mb/s over
a single pair, and keep the other pair for the phone. This would cost
about $150 per room once you include a wireless router for each room.
But it also depends on how good or bad the existing phone wiring is.
10Mb/s isn't that fast but each room would actually get that speed.
David Kaye
2015-02-08 05:47:01 UTC
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Post by sms
A 7 story building that is not concrete and/or steel-framed would be
pretty rare. I'd definitely look for a way to run Ethernet cable to each
floor through the utility closed floor and ceiling if you can't find a way
to run it next to water and sewer pipes or conduit.
Compared to the previous hotel where I could hurt my hand knocking on the
walls, when I knock on these walls it sounds like lathe and plaster. Sure,
there's some steel construction somewhere I'm sure, but I don't it's to the
huge extent as the previous hotel. Previous was built 1908 right after thw
quake. This one was 1922, and I assume that they were probably less scared
of quakes by then so maybe the construction was cheaper, that is, less steel
and concrete.

I hesitate to get involved with running cable between floors given that I'd
need a contractor's license or have to get a contractor to do it. Plugging
in ready-made cords between units doesn't require a contractor's license.
That's the rub. Hiring a contractor is going boost the cost maybe $3k.

The ideal solution is to find enough space next to pipes or maybe down the
elevator shaft so that no holes need to be cut or conduit run.
Post by sms
What is the situation with the phone wiring? If there are two UTP pairs to
each room you can use a Monoline Single Pair Balun to run 10Mb/s over a
single pair, and keep the other pair for the phone. This would cost about
$150 per room once you include a wireless router for each room. But it
also depends on how good or bad the existing phone wiring is. 10Mb/s isn't
that fast but each room would actually get that speed.
Nope, this is intended to be bare minimum wi-fi. It's a residential hotel
(aka Section 8 housing for poor and elderly). It can't be individual wi-fi
but must serve groups of people. The previous installation I did works well
except for 2 apartments, which are spotty, and the manager says that's good
enough. I got this to work with a total of 9 WAPs on 4 floors and a
basement.




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sms
2015-02-08 15:07:54 UTC
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Post by David Kaye
Post by sms
A 7 story building that is not concrete and/or steel-framed would be
pretty rare. I'd definitely look for a way to run Ethernet cable to each
floor through the utility closed floor and ceiling if you can't find a way
to run it next to water and sewer pipes or conduit.
Compared to the previous hotel where I could hurt my hand knocking on the
walls, when I knock on these walls it sounds like lathe and plaster. Sure,
there's some steel construction somewhere I'm sure, but I don't it's to the
huge extent as the previous hotel. Previous was built 1908 right after thw
quake. This one was 1922, and I assume that they were probably less scared
of quakes by then so maybe the construction was cheaper, that is, less steel
and concrete.
I hesitate to get involved with running cable between floors given that I'd
need a contractor's license or have to get a contractor to do it. Plugging
in ready-made cords between units doesn't require a contractor's license.
That's the rub. Hiring a contractor is going boost the cost maybe $3k.
Technically you do need a C-7 contractor's license if you're running
low-voltage cabling, regardless of whether it's between floors or on the
same floor. The fact that you're running cables that already have RJ45
connectors attached to them is immaterial. You can't say "I'm just
plugging an 100 meter 100BaseT cable into the a wired router in the
basement and to the wireless router on the 7th floor," you really are
installing low-voltage wiring in the building.

I would think that the C-7 license also covers drilling holes to the
extent needed to run low-voltage cabling, but I don't know that for sure.
David Kaye
2015-02-08 22:45:39 UTC
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Post by sms
Technically you do need a C-7 contractor's license if you're running
low-voltage cabling, regardless of whether it's between floors or on the
same floor. The fact that you're running cables that already have RJ45
connectors attached to them is immaterial. You can't say "I'm just
plugging an 100 meter 100BaseT cable into the a wired router in the
basement and to the wireless router on the 7th floor," you really are
installing low-voltage wiring in the building.
I would think that the C-7 license also covers drilling holes to the
extent needed to run low-voltage cabling, but I don't know that for sure.
The C-7 refers back to Business and Professions Code 7059, which
specifically mentions construction. Here's the relevant part: "7059. (a)
The board may adopt reasonably necessary rules and regulations to effect the
classification of contractors in a manner consistent with established usage
and procedure as found in the construction business, ...."

I have always made it clear to my customers that when I need a hole drilled
or an AC outlet installed that they need to get hold of their electrical
contractor or staff electrician. I don't even carry a drill with me. I
have an awl and screwrivers and screws so that I an mount a router, but
that's really it.

The closest I get to "construction" is to occasionally tie off cable with
plastic ties. Nothing I do is a permanent change. About 10 years ago I ran
this by the contractors' license board in Sacramento. I told them that
everything I do is "plug and play" and that I am making no structural
changes and am not doing new construction. I said that it was stuff like
plugging computers into routers, etc. The guy on the phone laughed and told
me that he liked that I was conscientious enough to phone, and that he
didn't see where the license board would be involved.

Not an official ruling, I know, but well...




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Roy
2015-02-08 22:16:22 UTC
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How about something like this over the existing phone cables

http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-VDSL2-Ethernet-Extender-Single/dp/B002CLKFTG#
Post by David Kaye
Okay, got a new one. Unlike the previous hotel that at least had Ethernet
running to each floor, this hotel has nothing but a utility closet next to
the elevator on each floor.
The good news is that this building doesn't appear to be made of steel and
concrete, so there'll be less of a signal blockage problem. However, this
hotel is 7 stories tall and running Ethernet cable will be a major chore and
expense.
So, the choices are Ethernet over power line, which I guess is okay, except
it's got to be on one circuit and be able to carry about 5 floors. Or it
could be lots of wi-fi repeaters and lots of hopes that the throughput
doesn't break down.
Is there any kind of higher-powered equivalent of wi-fi, that is a equipment
that operates on different channels and can act as a sort of server to a
bunch of wi-fi client units? If such a bird exists, I don't know about it,
but then I don't know about a lot of things.
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