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Marriott to Add Wi-Fi in 400 Hotels 111

matt writes "InfoWorld reports: Marriott aims to provide WLAN (wireless LAN) access at 400 hotels in Germany, the U.K. and the U.S., the company said. It will collaborate with wireless service provider STSN to offer the service in hotel lobbies, meeting rooms, restaurants and other public spaces, complementing its current in-room high-speed access."
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Marriott to Add Wi-Fi in 400 Hotels

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  • by Chris_Stankowitz ( 612232 ) on Friday December 20, 2002 @02:48AM (#4928158)
    conentional Highspeed service in more of their hitels.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I think he meant "conventional" and I agree with him. Its still only in major cites for the most part. I did see them wiring up one of their more out of the way hotels in MD not long ago. Still some work to be done though.
    • conentional Highspeed service in more of their hitels.

      Have you considered a job as a Slashdot Editor? (not that my spelling is any better but hey anything for more Karma :P)

    • I think you miss the point.

      This is basically exactly what they are doing. Have you ever done a wired network install in an existing building? How about a wireless install? Which one is easier? Which one is cheaper? Yep. Wireless.

      Installing a wired network in a hotel could EASILY cost 20+ times more than a wireless network.

      A lot of the technology used in hotels today is based on DSL or phonewire-networking, and some on coaxial subcarrier networking. That means they have to have a proprietary (and expensive= box in each hotel room plus some more proprietary head-end equipment. A single wireless access point (standard equipment, even!) could quite easily serve an entire floor, or at least 10+ rooms. It's not like they need a full 11mbit for each room... most rooms will not use it, and those that do will be stuck on a 2mbit insternet connection, generally, anyway. Wireless just makes more sense.

      Try to think a little bit before you post.
    • Great! .. so when they secretly and illegally videotape guests, they'll be able to distribute the vids all over the world at high speed!! Yes, there iS a court case pending ($5 million law suite) involving a Marriott hotel secretly videotaping a guest !!
  • by brandonY ( 575282 ) on Friday December 20, 2002 @02:50AM (#4928164)
    I hope the FBI's prepared for all the terrorists who can get on the internet now!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    As conspicuous as possible. Guaranteed hot chicks wanting to be tied up following you up to your room.

    Bondage Cafe []

    Damn, there are some fine chicks here.

  • by core plexus ( 599119 ) on Friday December 20, 2002 @02:50AM (#4928167) Homepage
    Just add a GPS, and your employer will know you're at the bar instead of the conference room.
    • > Just add a GPS, and your employer will know you're at the bar instead of the conference room.

      Once stayed in a Hotel, "back in the analogue days" and was having trouble with the TV reception. Pulled out the TV and found the screws at the back that tuned the posts for the channels.

      Soon discovered that I was getting interference with the set top box from the room next door, after all it was probably only a couple of feet away and the cables were low quality.

      A little fiddling and pretty soon I could tune in to S.T.B. next door with "reasonable" quality and see exactly what he was watching. Back To The Future III over and over and the first free minutes of the pron channels.

      Can't think what made me think of this in a discussion of hotel WIFI...
  • by JonnyO ( 119156 ) on Friday December 20, 2002 @02:56AM (#4928183) Homepage
    I was using a wireless connection in my room at the Marriott Financial Center in Lower Manhattan two weeks ago. Or maybe I was on a network belonging to some poor schlep in the office building across the street who left his access point wide open. Don't recall seeing it on the room bill so that must have been the reason. Hey, buddy, if you're reading this, thanks! I'll be back soon so keep it going for me. And if I may be so self-serving, please boost the power or relocate the antenna a bit closer, standing by my window got tiring after a while.
  • by John_McKee ( 100458 ) on Friday December 20, 2002 @02:57AM (#4928189) Homepage
    Having stayed at a few Marriott's with the wired in room access, it is everything that it is advertised as. Fast, stable, and easy to setup, just open a browser and click a button. They even let you check your front desk messages and bill on the hotel intranet website. I also found the pricing fairly reasonable at $10 a night, less than a PPV movie.

    But, as I have a wireless network at home, wireless access has really grown on me. I have always assumed that concrete walls and metal doors make hotel wide wi-fi access for in room use more expensive, it would be very welcome. Has any hotel implemented such a system, or are there any other technical limitations that I have missed that make implimenting such a system too difficult?
    • I don't feel terribly bright. I am at a hotel right now, and the first thing I did was get on the hotel highspeed internet connection provided by Arescom. They seem to have an interesting system here. Every other hotel that I have stayed at has either provided a RJ-45 jack on the wall (e.g. Wayport) or a special box connected to the phone system (e.g. STSN). Here, they actually provide a DSL modem in every room. Well, just as I posted that comment, I looked up at my menu bar and noticed that an 802.11b network was at full signal strength. Turns out that they do provide a wireless network for in room use that was not mentioned anywhere in the hotel information. As I am on the 4th floor and have full signal strength, I know it can't be bleed through from the lobby, so this is quite interesting. I have never stayed at a hotel that provides such access, and I have to say, I like it.
      • by Matts ( 1628 ) on Friday December 20, 2002 @04:25AM (#4928408) Homepage
        Could be some other room's. I tend to take my wireless hub with me when I go to stay at hotels, so I can plug it in and surf from the comfort of the couch or the bed. You could just be picking up the guy's next door.

        We also do this at the O'Reilly open source conferences - we make sure geeks are located close to eachother, and then share one net connection bill between us. Sometimes we'll even setup wireless repeaters.
      • Another hotel which offer WiFi is the San Francisco Hyatt Regency at Burlingame (or at least it did when I stayed there last July). No extra charge, easy access, nice fast 100KByte/sec transfer rates. Can't argue with that :-)
    • My advice: Skip the "High speed internet access" at the MGM Grand in Vegas: $10 a night for WebTV. F'in wonderful... We cancled after the first day and settled for dial up.
      • They should really roll it into the price of the room.

        I, for one, would not pay $10/night from my own pocket, and I wouldn't feel comfortable trying to reimburse that expense.

        Yet if they just bumped their prices by $2-$3 per night, it would be no problem with the boss and a pretty big incentive to stay there.

        And besides making more money from more guests, they would make more money from the service directly, unless more than 20-30% of their guests were doing the $10/night thing (which I doubt).

    • fairly reasonable at $10 a night

      Ouch. Why not free? Is it really that expensive to implement? Oh wait, it's the standard answer:

      because they can.

      Long live capitalism.
    • I worked at getting wireless to work in dorm rooms and apartment buildings, and never arrived at a perfect, cost-effective solution. Concrete floors and walls make some effective shielding. We ended up putting a separate access point and radiax antenna in the middle of the ceiling for each floor. Coverage is good but not great, and this was both labor-intensive and costly.

      You could put an access point in every other room, but even at $100 for a cheap one, the cost would mount quickly. If you passed this on to the guests, they would be likely to choose wired access for a fraction of the cost.
    • I carry a WAP/Router with me when I travel. My purposes are a little different, I travel by RV and use it to get Internet access (broadband or dial-up; I have the D-Link with RS-232 secondary connection) in my motor home. Great when parked outside my brother-in-law's house; I just hooked up to his cable modem & went to town. I expect the same thing would work in a hotel room.

      Oh, the silent majesty of a winter's morn...the clean, cool chill of the holiday asshole in his bathrobe, emptying a chemical toilet into my sewer... []

  • by shigelojoe ( 590080 ) on Friday December 20, 2002 @03:02AM (#4928205)
    Wife: "Honey, I was just going over our credit card report, and I saw six separate charges to the Marriott hotel in the past week. Are you having an affair?"

    *silence for a few moments*

    Husband: "Technically? No. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to take the laptop on a, uh, business trip. I'll be back in an hour."
  • but why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 20, 2002 @03:14AM (#4928240)
    Most hotels I go to already have wired lan in my room and that's good enough for me. I'm no uber-geek that has to have lan access in the hotel pool. If you're at the bar, and you have a PC (and not looking up pr0n) you're a loser. In conference rooms, you're supposed to be listnening to one guy speak, not watching a live stream of a football game. Onlythe speaker should have internet for demos etc... and one lan cable never hurt nobody.

    Wireless is useful for people who roam around and need internet access everywhere they go. If you're in a building like a hotel with rooms setup for specific purposes you are not going to roam around much. If you're like me you'll spend lots of time in one place, move to another place and spend lots of time there, on to the next place etc...

    Marriott, just because it is wireless doesn't mean it's better. Make sure this is what people are asking you for before you venture off in this direction.
    • Re:but why? (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      In conference rooms, you're supposed to be listnening to one guy speak, not watching a live stream of a football game

      But what if I want to look up an obscure technical point so I can stump some highly-paid US professor, win the respect of my peers and get one step closer to tenure?

    • Because (Score:3, Insightful)

      by magicianuk ( 446906 )
      Sometimes you're sitting in the bar chatting to work colleagues and making notes for a presentation the next day.
      Sometimes you just want to open your PDA and check your email without having to use slow and expensive cellphone connections.
      Sometimes it's nice to be able to catch up on all the latest information over breakfast before heading in to the training class
      And sometimes it's nice to be able to sit next to the pool and listen to classic comedy, science fiction and drama on BBC Radio 7, while you're on the other side of the planet.

      It's not something I'd use often, but WiFi is a standard and if it means I basically can just open my laptop/PDA and surf the web/read email/logon to my corporate VPN and pull down the latest reports etc. without having to go hide in my room and spend time fighting with one of the several different "high speed" connections different places around the world offer (or not) then that would be great.

      It's especially good in Europe where each country has a different phone socket so you either have to carry a bag of different adapters with you, or hope the hotel has phone handsets with a standard US plug for dialup ... this way you can just meet people in the bar of the Marriott, update your files and then go back to your cheaper hotel somewhere else!
    • one lan cable never hurt nobody

      At the 1996 AVIOS conference in San Jose, a woman tripped over a black network cable and sprained or broke her wrist. An ambulance was called, and had to take her to a hospital. She was in a huge amout of pain.

      About half an hour later the Red Lion hotel staff showed up with about a hundred rubber conduit covers of various lengths and a bunch of throw-rugs and floor mats, presumably to avoid additional liability.

      That can't be an isolated incident, and I'm sure Mariott, with 2,500+ hotels, has been sued more than once for injuries relate to avoidable wires. Since most people bring battery-powered laptops to hotel conferences, getting rid of the net cable cleans almost everything up.

  • by Woogiemonger ( 628172 ) on Friday December 20, 2002 @03:16AM (#4928245)
    This is involving a physical RJ45 cable connection, not Wi Fi, but I believe this example is telling of what you can expect from Marriott. I stayed at the Greenbelt Marriott in Greenbelt, Maryland recently, and had my laptop.. a Dell Inspiron 8000, with Windows XP installed on it and a 100Mb NIC. Runs fine, and I use it on my home network usually. So anyway, I go to the desk initially, and ask them if they provide internet access. The woman at the desk said they did, and that it was $12 for 24 hours of access. I ask when the 24 hours started.. and she replied it started when I first used the connection. Well, I connect my computer to the unmarked LAN cable leading from the back of the TV.. When I open my web browser it gives me a page effectively saying "Network access is charged in blocks, from noon to noon. If you agree to pay $9.95 for access up till the next 12pm, click here!" .. Well, it was about 12:30pm or so, so I figured it wasn't too bad and I agreed. I didn't like the fact that I would be charged for time I was away at a conference and not using the laptop, but $10 is not that big a deal for a nice T1 connection while I'm bored. I started using it.. the network was rather slow. It felt like I was using a 56k modem. So I messed around for 8 minutes and went off to my conference. I got back about 9pm later that night and started using my laptop again. The network connection no longer worked! I was about to release and renew my DHCP address, and ping the gateway, but otherwise, I had no internet access! I saw a number in the hotel room.. "call this for any networking problems!" ..I end up talking to some guy who tried a lot of very basic troubleshooting tactics on my computer, and eventually gave up after about 2 hours, just telling me to go to another room. Mind you, I liked the 14th floor room I was on..nice view, and everything else was satisfactory. I didn't want to risk a crappy room on the 8th floor, but they assured me it was the same, just lower down, and I figured I'd be too distracted with the internet to notice the view, so I agreed. I asked the desk clerk to not be charged for my internet usage for this "24 hour period" as at most I'd be getting 15 minutes of usage in. After a few more painful minutes of waiting for the manager, he gladly said I could use the internet for free and then I hung up and waited for my new room key to be delivered.

    Same exact problem happened in that other room too. I call up the front desk (they forgot the shampoo in the second room, plus a lamp's bulb needed replacement as well) and told them of my frustrations. The desk clerk told me I should refer my networking problems to the front desk and they could send up their "engineer". I was relieved, saying how tired I was, and they end up sending in this kid who seemed like he barely made it through high school and maybe played Everquest for a while. He was clueless. After letting him mess around with my laptop for half an hour and complain on the phone to someone, I kicked him out and went to sleep. I tried restarting the internet connection repeatedly during my 3 day/2 night stay. It started working again a few minutes before I was about to leave. Grrrr. Other problems during my hotel stay... they're not that great at hosting a conference. The conference rooms were cold till the last hour or two of seminars, and the food catered to us was always the same, each of the three days. They also leave a nice looking, refreshing bottle of Evian spring water in your room, with a little tag on it saying "drink me and pay $4.50" .. fortunately the tap water was drinkable. I did not appreciate being teased. Also, although they gave me tasty little chocolates in the first room, I did not get another two tasty little chocolates when they moved me to the second room. As I left my problems I had with the hotel chain in their "feedback box", the girl at the desk said "I hope those are good comments!" I smirked and hit the road.
    • ...the girl at the desk said "I hope those are good comments!" ...

      I would've entertained her a second or two by saying, "Whoops I forgot, let me get another another comment sheet...ok...THE TAP WATER WAS DRINKABLE..."

    • They also leave a nice looking, refreshing bottle of Evian spring water in your room, with a little tag on it saying "drink me and pay $4.50" .. fortunately the tap water was drinkable. I did not appreciate being teased. Also, although they gave me tasty little chocolates in the first room, I did not get another two tasty little chocolates when they moved me to the second room.
      Oh the agony! No tasty chocolates in the second room!

      Seriously though, complaining about the bottled water is like complaining about the prices in the mini-bar. Hotels are like that.

    • They also leave a nice looking, refreshing bottle of Evian spring water in your room, with a little tag on it saying "drink me and pay $4.50".. fortunately the tap water was drinkable.

      For those of you who only visit the metro DC area occasionally, the tap water here is excellent. Would you believe it's actually award winning []? When you visit the DC area, ignore the bottled water in your room.
  • I wrote that! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 20, 2002 @03:24AM (#4928269)
    Our company installed wired high-speed access to one of the Marriott's (Richmond, BC, Canada), and we used Linux and Perl to do it!

    Check in, plug in, and surf!

    Of course, no matter what web page you try to go to initially, you get redirected to our page saying "you're in room 101, click here to pay $10", but after that page, you can surf to your heart's content; iptables 'REDIRECT' rules!
    (Well, ok, there are some free pages with local information... oh, and the microsoft update website... but *that's it*)

    We've set up printing through a web page; just print to a file, and upload the file. Anything else would involve changing settings on your laptop, and we'd get blamed for anything that goes wrong, so we don't wanna go there, do we?

    And if you need a 'real' ip address (not NAT), the front desk can click on a button and give you one. That's just for folks with cranky VPN setups. Sigh...

    It'll be interesting integrating wireless access, since we can't use SNMP to determine what room you're in (and therefore who to bill), but hey, we'll *find* a way to make it work!
    • Wow, must really suck to be the poor sap stuck with room 101!
    • It'll be interesting integrating wireless access, since we can't use SNMP to determine what room you're in (and therefore who to bill), but hey, we'll *find* a way to make it work!

      On the initial screen give the customer a phone number to dial and an extension that uniquely identifies the session he just initiated. Determine the room the phone call came from. Bill that customer.

  • Since they already do most of their wired high speed access and almost all of their convention access stuff now. I've worked with some STSN folks a couple time and these guys are all bright hard working folks so expect the service to be up to snuff.
  • is that the little coffee shop next to the hilton downtown looks more appetizing.
  • In Sweden and a bunch of other countries AP:s have been placed in a lot of hotels, airport lounges, train stations and so on. This is called Telia Homerun []. It is a bit on the expensive side, but it really works fine. It would be nice if more companys like Telia could make some agreement and let users access their account on any of the involved networks. Like cell phone roaming. I once spoke with a technician from Telia who told me they were trying seamless roaming between cell phone data (HSCSD, GPRS) and the Homerun networks. That would be pretty nice. A slow connection with great coverage and a highspeed connection with low coverage, in wait of a highspeed connection with good coverage.
  • by AnonymousCowheard ( 239159 ) on Friday December 20, 2002 @03:52AM (#4928348) Homepage
    Marriott to Add Wi-Fi in 400 Hotels

    One cracker to spend the night, one cracker to break them, one crack to rule them all!

    Marriot's new slogan: you think war drivers are dangerous, they overnight in our hotels...

  • What are those darned mormons going to come up with next... First they settle the state, then they have one of their own leave Utah, and then they start a hotel chain, and then now they are offering WIFI, man no one is going to keep them down!! I think it is a good idea, i like marriot....
  • by Kajakske ( 59577 ) on Friday December 20, 2002 @05:20AM (#4928504) Homepage Journal
    Marriott has ofcourse a site [] of his own, with a news section [], including the press release [] about the wireless access.
  • by John_Renne ( 176151 ) <.zooi. .at.> on Friday December 20, 2002 @06:19AM (#4928601) Homepage
    This sure would explain the growing amount of homeless people with laptops occupying the benches around the hotel
  • We have Windows XP Media edition.... behold the Windows XP Hotel edition; just kidding
    I wonder how they are gonna implement this. It's not like, a guy walks into the coffee shop, plonks his notebook and starts surfing. They must provide some kinda configuration assistance, when they check in. There are a helluva lota possibilities. Bearers can carry tablet pcs, and they check or write ure orders which are automatically registered at the kitchen. Room service will be more effecient, since the maids won't be able to "hide"; they all will be wired.
    many possibilies.............
  • High Speed in Hotels (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Big Sean O ( 317186 ) on Friday December 20, 2002 @08:30AM (#4928841)
    I was just in a Holiday Inn and they had FREE high speed internet access for computers with an ethernet card. It was frankly amazing. No extra fees.

    The only other computer access I've seen in hotel rooms are those cruddy TV-based web browsers. Frankly, they are worse than useless. And they usually charge $10/day.

    WiFi would be nice, especially if I could check my e-mail while I was in a boring conference seminar, but I don't see the benefit for most hotels. Except for resorts and conference centers, I don't need WiFi in the hotel bar, or in most crummy lobbies.

    But whatever a hotel decides, they should make it free for hotel users. Making it an extra profit center will stop many from using it, making it a freebie means I will never stay anywhere else.
  • That's right an Ohio man found a camera behind the mirror in a Marriot bathroom after he killed a small "bug" on the lamp - no bug it was a camera-eye. So, now Marriott can have a wireless video system in their bathrooms instead of X-10 et al., ... connect it to the www and what a $$$ generating engine that could be. Links to this story: Voyer news story [] And the original one that was pulled from KNS -Hmmmmm...: original story [] If anyone lives Knoxville and is willing to rent a room for the night could be interesting - extra credit will be given!
  • I just got back from Europe, and noticed that hotels "high-speed access" usually means ISDN. Wi-Fi would be a tremendous boost both in terms of speed and broad usability for hotel vistors (since at least in the US, most people don't own ISDN modems or carry them with their laptop)
  • Well, No Really BAD Ideas W/ WLAN and in room high speed access,but are they monitoring what you are doing on the net??? i wonder,... and some one posted a gps system for your employer... cant they already do that with you computer? i know of some good software for that...
  • going to be a huge pain. My guess is that it won't be integrated into your hotel bill. You will pay as you use it.
  • I just got back from staying in a Mariott in Maimi, Florida. They had the whole facility covered in wireless access. There was a WAP right in my room too. It worked more or less the same way the wired system works. You dhcp, open a web browser, get redirected to some billing page. This one let me pay the provider (ASN I think) rather than Mariott, directly with a credit card which was actually kinda nice. It was $10 for 24 hours. Or $39.99 for a week, or $129.99 a month. You get a small discount at every step. Those numbers were just off the top of my head. Anyway, I took my laptop throughout the hotel - the lobby, the bar, the pool, the restaurant and it worked great (for the 24 hours I had it). I was getting a good 50K/s downloading some PDF docs from my work machine back in California. Hope this spreads to lots of hotels!
  • Sorry it had to be said but: in soviet russia the military RADAR blocks the WiFi __________________________________________________ _
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