Sunday, June 16, 2013

Suggestions for anyone who has to do IT for a hotel (or any non-corporate network setup)

Originally posted on Reddit an hour before this...

Having spent the past 2 weeks living in hotels...
  • Don't run everything off the router if its more than 3 users: the CPU on a wireless router has to process DHCP, NAT, and wireless. A hotel using it, is asking for chaos.
  • Use separate wireless access points when you can; and use Wireless-N! The hotel I'm at right now is still on Wireless-G; which has been obsolete for ~4 years now. You can convert wireless routers to access points by disabling their DHCP and SPI firewall options; and using a LAN port to plug it into your network.
  • If you're going to make people put in a password to use your wifi: enable WPA2; vs using some agreement portal. You can still have agreement portals come up on first use (I've seen some Mikrotiks do that). By requiring a password on the wireless end, you're securing their connections, and still discouraging non-guests from logging in.
  • If you are having users try to use some program for managing guests or clients (small biz), consider using a local server. I stayed at a place the other night that was asking my advice on trying to use TeamViewer to access their application computer from other workstations. A hotel I did get to do work for some years back, I moved their app to a 2008 server with RDP access. I also know there's web and Linux based apps for handing small biz and hotel stuff.
  • Try to keep the hotel stuff separate from the guests via separate router and/or net connection.
  • If you have crappy wiring options, don't forget that Powerline / HomeAV networking is a feasible option. As long as its on the same circuit panel, and there's not a crappy machine on it, you'll get connectivity. You could also look at wireless bridging, or delve into the mesh-networking stuff people are messing around with.

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