by Jonathan Vatner | December 01, 2003
Most hotels today claim to offer high-speed Internet access, but the quality of that service can vary widely. Techies at Toronto-based Fairmont Hotels & Resorts ( developed the following tips to help planners assess their own requirements and gauge a hotel’s ability to meet their needs.
     1) Check on bandwidth. If a webcast is planned, make sure the high-speed Internet access has enough bandwidth. If more bandwidth is required, ask how quickly it can be provided.
     2) Consider attendees’ needs. What do they require to hook up their computers? Smart travelers will bring a power supply and will have an Ethernet or wireless card to let them connect. Find out what areas of the hotel offer wireless access and the number of connections the system can handle.
      3) Get details on the network. The hotel might advertise high-speed Internet connections, but exactly what are users connecting to? Is the hotel’s network from a premium provider, such as Cisco Systems or 3Com, or is it a hodgepodge of different providers, which can result in poor service?
     4) Consider Virtual Private Networks. For attendees who want a secure connection to the office through a VPN, ask if each will get a unique IP address (the set of numbers that identifies each computer on the network). Sharing an IP address between multiple computers can create software glitches.
     5) Have help on hand. If the hotel’s on-site tech team runs the Internet network internally, ask for tech support to be provided for the duration of the meeting.