WLAN Plays Key Role in California Casino

Pechanga Resort & Casino teams with Technology Integration Group to build a WLAN infrastructure.

When a significant part of a hotel-casinos business is running conferences, its critical that conference-goers are offered as many of the comforts of their offices as possible.

That was the guiding philosophy of Pechanga Resort & Casino, in Temecula, Calif., when it was built in 2002. Although it offered no conference amenities at its grand opening, business customers soon became a major client base.

For Pechanga, Californias biggest hotel-casino, with 522 rooms, 40,000 square feet of meeting space and a 1,200-seat theatre, that meant one thing: wireless LAN.

"When we opened up, we didnt have any convention business, so we decided to wait [on wireless access] until we got going," said Rod Luck, Pechangas director of IT.

But it didnt take long. To do it, Luck turned to a trusted partner hed worked with in the past, Technology Integration Group.

"We knew [TIG] and had business with them," Luck said. He knew that installing a wireless network wasnt difficult but that it was important to get coverage in the right spots.

For one thing, the conference center has 14 meeting rooms. It didnt make sense to set up access points in all of them, since demand for wireless access varies by group. Luck also wanted to restrict wireless access in the casino.

"I dont want them doing e-mails telling people how much they win," Luck said.

At the same time, Luck wanted to get maximum coverage out of what he did install, and he wanted a way to get access into the meeting rooms when necessary.

What Pechanga finally settled on was a system comprising 16 11M-bps Wireless LAN Access Point 8000s from 3Com Corp., which were tied into the hotels network for bandwidth needs but were otherwise walled off from the hotels internal systems for security purposes.

Luck and his staff decided to design an open wireless network that required no passwords for access. As a result, guests would be able to access the network throughout the hotel, with extremely little impact on the hotels IT staff.

As for the meeting rooms, Pechanga bought several 3Com Ethernet Client Bridges from TIG, which are rolled into conference rooms when needed.

Next page: Wireless access for all.