By Zoe Moleshead
The Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh has implemented a Gigabit Ethernet and fibre optic network solution to provide both guests and hotel employees with access to a wide array of information and services.
As the hospitality sector continues to develop and expand throughout the Middle East region, delivering fast and reliable voice and data services to guests is becoming part and parcel of any hotel and The Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh is no exception. As it prepared to open its rooms to guests at the end of February, the property was also completing the implementation of a Gigabit Ethernet and fibre optic network solution to provide both guests and hotel employees with access to a wide array of information and services.The hotel, which is based in the Kingdom Centre Tower, has deployed a network solution from 3Com that incorporates both its Switch 4050 and SuperStack 3 switches.“We have one 3Com core switch, the 4050 model with Gigabit Ethernet and fibre optic ports. There are also 44 3Com SuperStack 3 switches, distributed on every guest floor. [These switches] link to the core switch in the computer room via fibre optic cabling,” says Mario Samala, director of IT, Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh.The hotel opted to go for a Gigabit Ethernet solution to eliminate any network bottlenecks that could occur and at the time of going to press was also finalising the implementation of a second core switch to serve the guest network.“We are separating the admin [network] from the guest network, so our guests can have full internet access on the 512 K/bits/s leased line,” comments Samala. “We have acquired a device named Nomadix that provides a secure internet connection through the 512 K/bits/s leased line,” he continues.As well as providing guests with internet connections, the hotel’s 249 rooms and meeting areas are also equipped with intelligent voice/fax systems and modems to allows guests to dial in to the internet or their office networks.“The voice connection [obviously] enables guests to make phone calls. All phone call charges are automatically calculated through the call accounting system and the amount is directly posted to the guest folio,” explains Samala.“There are also other functions that are delivered through the telephone [system] like the changing of room status, checking voicemail messages with either English or Arabic language selections and mini bar charges,” he adds.Additionally, each of the hotel’s suites is equipped with a HP PSC 2110 Multifunction printer/scanner/fax/copier machine. Guests are able to connect their notebooks using USB and parallel ports, while memory cards can also be plugged into the printer slots to facilitate print processes.As well as utilising the network to provide internet access and information to guests, the hotel’s employees also access a variety of applications that are housed on the network, these include e-mail, catering, food & beverage and point-of-sales (POS) software.“The network serves as a tool to make work easier and faster, like the posting of mini bar charges directly from the guest rooms and sharing of resources over the network. We have application software that is networked, including Fidelio PMS, Micros POS, Delphi Sales & Catering and Scala Back Office,” says Samala.