The very essence of timeless elegance and Hanseatic grandeur, the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski Hamburg uniquely combines the charm of a traditional grand hotel with modern 5-star luxury. Opened in 1909, the hotel has 221 rooms and suites and 13 historic function rooms, all of which embody the hotel‘s exclusive ambiance. Yet behind its listed façade, this elegant building is fully equipped with high-performance information technology.
For corporate functions in particular, the hotel offers a fast and reliable network connection – both wired and wireless – that can cater to a huge range of guests‘ requirements. The Atlantic Kempinski now has a state-of-the-art wireless LAN. All the system components were supplied by D-Link Deutschland GmbH and the network was designed and implemented by EFF Eins Team GmbH.
The Atlantic Kempinski was renovated just five years ago, and a wireless network was also installed at that time, but the technology had become outdated. The transmission standard was no longer in line with current requirements, and the products had also become unsuitable for a hotel business in terms of their manageability. As Regional IT Manager responsible for the Kempinski Hotels Atlantic Hamburg, Bristol Berlin and Taschenbergpalais Dresden, Markus Kroeg was looking for a new WLAN solution based on future-focused and stable products.
He had clear criteria:
He also carried out targeted research to find out which providers could offer German-speaking support. His investigations soon led him to the business products offered by D-Link. His experience of working with the company on past projects had been consistently positive and the products met his requirements perfectly compared to those of the company‘s competitors.
The D-Link sales team was also extremely professional. “In the hotel business, we need secure and reliable systems that protect our guests‘ privacy. D-Link‘s products impressed us in every respect,“ explains Markus Kroeg. “We then needed to find an expert partner to implement them,“ he adds. After looking at several different options, the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski eventually opted for the IT systems specialist EFF-Eins Team (F1-Team). D-Link had recommended this local partner and the provider‘s well-established technical knowledge gave it a clear edge over its competitors.
Wi-Fi in hotels has long since ceased to be an optional service. Guests today expect a stable network that works everywhere at all times. It was therefore important for the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski, on the one hand, that the WLAN covered the whole hotel area, and, on the other, that operation was not interrupted for a long time when setting up the new network.
With regard to coverage, D-Link firstly took extensive measurements throughout the hotel complex. From this, F1-Team worked out a detailed installation plan for the access points, which ensures that Wi-Fi is now reliably accessible in even the remotest corner of the hotel.
These results were incorporated directly into the detailed network plan developed by the IT systems specialists. Five aggregation points from D-Link, each with three 24-port stackable switches, form the backbone of the wireless network. They are all designed with built-in redundancy, so that the network continues to function even if one aggregation point fails.
The D-Link access points (AP), all of which have a robust metal housing, are connected to the switches by copper wires. A fail-safe structure was also used for these. If one access point fails, the network switches seamlessly to another one without any interruption for the guest. Additional power supply units are not required for the access points, as they are powered via a PoE (Power over Ethernet) connection to the switches.
All the APs are managed by two central controllers, also with built-in redundancy. The entire new wireless network was installed step by step in parallel with the existing network, which meant that there was no disruption to the hotel system. To ensure the best coverage, the access points were installed in concealed places in rooms and suites as well as in public areas. The F1-Team assembled the stack switches in advance in their own laboratory and configured all the systems to meet the requirements of the hotel network, to ensure smooth commissioning on site.
There was no change to the existing process for the hotel guests as the login and billing system for the Wi-Fi was retained. In terms of performance and flexibility, however, the wireless network is now in a whole new league. The access points are based on the latest AC technology and therefore ensure extremely fast Wi-Fi connections over a long range.
They can be used in parallel by several hundred event participants. For the hotel management and event management teams, the diverse security-related functions, such as setup of virtual WLANs, are indispensable. If required, the IT team can set up central accounts for corporate events, which can then all be accessed with a single login. A software module developed by the F1-Team, which additionally optimises management of the access points, has proved a great help with configuration.
Markus Kroeg is convinced: “Working closely with experts from D-Link and F1, we have planned our wireless network down to the last detail. This fine tuning has paid off for us, because it means we can offer our guests secure, fast and reliable Internet access.“
The IT manager is now working on further applications for the wireless network, because there are now many opportunities that he can take advantage of.