A hotel client of ours used off the shelf parts to create their WiFi network. A perfectly serviceable solution, until we took a deeper look.
This is a prime example of why consumer technology solutions are not sufficient for business use.
During the initial technology review at a hotel located in Springfield, OR we discovered that the entire WiFi network was comprised of: Netgear hubs, Apple Airport Extreme's and Airport Air's. Most of these were installed inside of guest rooms! These products were recommended and installed by a local computer shop that specializes in consumer systems, not business ones.
While this technically worked for over a year the security and reliability issues were extreme:
- Anyone on the public network was able to see other users computers on the network.
- Any guest could gain access to the business computer where critical data was stored.
- There were 7 separate SSID's (Wireless networks) for the guests to use which lead to spoofing by anyone who wanted to fool their clients into using the wrong network.
- There was no easy way to change the passwords which lead to a degradation of service as non-guests had been using their bandwidth for months or years in some cases.
- Any client on the network could, and often did, utilize 100% of the bandwidth for the property leading to a terrible experience for other hotel guests and a disruption of business services.
- There was no legal disclaimer on the public WiFi which left the business responsible for any and all activity on their network.
- Anytime any of the components stopped working the staff would have to hunt down the units in a room (sometimes disrupting the guest in the room) and manually reboot them.
The list was actually twice this long but you can see, this system was insufficient to the task.
We replaced the entire system with a professional grade setup that not only solved all of the listed problems but added functionality. It even allowed for a number of other upgrades to the property that they were unable to even consider before.
The lesson is: Trust a company that ONLY services businesses to provide technology advice. Otherwise your fully functional system might be a fully functional disaster in disguise.