Crowne Plaza Houston Upgrades to High-Speed Wi-Fi Access in Days with BelAir Networks

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AFL Telecommunications’ End to End Solution for Davidson Hotel Company Includes World-Class Wireless in 334 Luxurious Rooms, Conference Center, Lobby and Pool

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As one of the nation's largest hotel management companies, Davidson Hotel Company understands that consistent, high-speed Internet access is very important to our guests and it was clear that the services previously available at the Crowne Plaza Houston Greenspoint were not meeting those customer expectations

As the Crowne Plaza Houston North Greenspoint undergoes a multi-million dollar renovation, one element is critical to enhancing the guest experience at the hotel -- high-speed wireless Internet service. The Crowne Plaza is known for its excellence and commitment to customer service for those staying in the largest city in the state of Texas. With BelAir Networks and AFL Telecommunications, the hotel now offers high-speed Wi-Fi access throughout the facility giving guests access whenever and wherever they need it.    

The Carlyle Group and Davidson Hotel Company acquired the Crowne Plaza Houston North Greenspoint in early 2007 and began a $12 million renovation of the hotel that included an upgrade to the dated Internet services offered through two different customer interfaces, depending on the guest’s location in the hotel. The new network leverages the legacy infrastructure while providing higher speeds and an improved guest experience.

“As one of the nation's largest hotel management companies, Davidson Hotel Company understands that consistent, high-speed Internet access is very important to our guests and it was clear that the services previously available at the Crowne Plaza Houston Greenspoint were not meeting those customer expectations,” said Ron Hardin, IT Director, Davidson Hotel Company. “With the new network deployed by AFL using BelAir Networks’ wireless mesh nodes we were able to quickly and easily provide world-class Wi-Fi services in the guest rooms, and throughout the conference area, lobby and pool.”

Replacing the previous wireless network that had required more than twice the number of access points, AFL had the new wireless network up and running providing ubiquitous high-speed access in less than a week, with only eight BelAir Networks nodes. A consistent customer interface enables guests to log on to free or paid service options in their room, in the lobby or pool area, or in the conference facilities.

“With this renovation, we wanted to bring best in class amenities to our guests, including high-speed wireless Internet, but we needed a solution that would not require onsite IT support,” said Tom Chigoy, General Manager of Crowne Plaza. “Working with AFL and BelAir Networks, we were able to bring high-speed wireless to guests throughout the hotel using very few wireless nodes, so it was fast and easy to deploy but it also required less wiring and labor, and reduces our ongoing operating expenses.”

AFL Telecommunications, an industry leader in fiber optics and wireless engineering, chose BelAir Networks for the Crowne Plaza Houston Greenspoint because of BelAir’s proven track record in delivering the industry’s highest performance wireless mesh networks and their unique outside-in approach for hotel and resort deployments.

“The Crowne Plaza Houston Greenspoint project showcases AFL’s ability to offer an end to end network solution to hospitality operators. From site survey to system integration of the wireless, HSIA and bandwidth management solutions, AFL is committed to contributing to Davidson’s success and providing their guests with best-of-breed technology solutions,” said Kent Brown, Director, Access Solutions, AFL Telecommunications. “We’ve worked with BelAir Networks on a number of deployments, from large college campuses to downtown hotels, so we knew that a BelAir wireless mesh solution would be the ideal replacement for the Crowne Plaza Houston Greenspoint’s previous wireless network.”

AFL’s turnkey solution for the Davidson Hotel Company in the Crowne Plaza Houston Greenspoint included a detailed analysis of their installed infrastructure, leveraging of existing infrastructure where possible, replacement and upgrading as necessary, and extensive structured cabling. In addition to replacing and upgrading the wireless equipment, AFL also supported installation of a new Internet connectivity management and billing system along with equipment to support application-specific traffic management and bandwidth shaping to ensure a consistent user experience on the new high-performance wireless network.

“BelAir Networks is pleased that AFL, with their extensive networking experience and commitment to creating the most reliable and flexible networks, have chosen our wireless mesh solution to replace the previous wireless network at the Crowne Plaza Houston Greenspoint,” said Dave Park, VP of Product Marketing for BelAir Networks. “As guests increasingly demand fast, reliable, and ubiquitous wireless Internet access, leading hospitality operators and management companies, such as Davidson Hotel Company, are turning to BelAir Networks to increase guest satisfaction with seamless high-speed wireless coverage in guest rooms and throughout their properties.”

BelAir Networks outside-in network design delivers extensive indoor and outdoor broadband coverage from high-performance wireless mesh nodes strategically deployed outdoors. This unique approach uses less equipment and wiring than traditional Wi-Fi access points, reducing the cost, time, labor and maintenance associated with the network deployment and its ongoing operation. The highly reliable and esthetically attractive BelAir nodes enable hotel operators to get broadband wireless access up and running quickly with no disruption to guests, visitors or staff.

BelAir Networks is showcasing its award-winning wireless mesh solutions used in the Crowne Plaza network at Booth #919 at the HITEC Conference, June 16-19, 2008, at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas.

BelAir Networks Director, Steve Carlock, will be hosting a live webcast: "High-performance, Multi-purpose Wireless Networks for Hotels and Resorts” including case studies on both Rosewood Mayakobá and Davidson Hotel Company’s Crowne Plaza Houston Greenspoint, on Tuesday, June 24 at 2:00 pm EST, and on Thursday, June 26 at 2:00 pm EST. To accommodate attendees in Europe, Middle East and Africa, an additional live webcast will be held on Thursday, June 26 at 2:00 pm GMT. For more details or to register go to http://www.belairnetworks.com/webcasts.

BelAir Networks is the leading provider of mobile broadband mesh network solutions with more than 450 deployments worldwide, in leading cities such as
Minneapolis, St. Louis, San Antonio, London, and Toronto as well as world-class resorts including the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa and the Sheraton Vistana Resort and high-profile entertainment operations such as Lincoln Center in New York, Dolphin Stadium in Miami and the Indy Racing League.

Driven by the BelAirOS operating system software and managed by BelViewNMS, BelAir Networks offers the industry's most comprehensive product portfolio with the highest capacity, lowest latency and fastest roaming speeds. Supporting Wi-Fi, WiMAX, 4.9 GHz Public Safety, 5.9 GHz ITS, and 4.4 GHz Military spectrum bands, the portfolio includes the flagship four-radio BelAir200 Wireless Multi-service Switch Router, the BelAir200D for Defense applications, the three-radio BelAir100T Wireless Mesh Node, the BelAir100M Mobile Mesh Node, the dual-radio BelAir100 Multi-service Node and BelAir100D, the single- or dual-radio BelAir100C Multi-service Node, and the strand-mounted BelAir100S.

About Davidson Hotel Company
Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., Davidson Hotel Company is an award-winning, full-service hotel owner and third-party management company that provides management, development/renovation, acquisition, consulting and accounting expertise for the hospitality industry. The company currently owns and/or manages 32 upscale, independent and branded hotels with nearly 9,100 rooms across the United States, including such affiliations as Westin, Sheraton, Hyatt, Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Embassy Suites, Doubletree, Marriott, Renaissance, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn. Additional information on Davidson may be found at the company’s Web site, http://www.davidsonhotels.com.

About AFL Telecommunications
AFL Telecommunications is an industry leader in providing fiber optic products, engineering expertise and integrated services to the Electric Utility, Broadband, Telco, OEM, Private Network and Wireless markets. It has operations in the U.S., Mexico and the U.K. AFL Telecommunications is a division of Fujikura Ltd. of Japan. http://www.AFLTele.com.

About BelAir Networks
BelAir Networks is the first company to offer scalable, mobile wireless broadband mesh networking solutions with the highest quality for video, voice and data. The company teams with world-class global partners to deploy proven, cost-effective wireless broadband mesh networks. BelAir’s wireless networking solutions are built on the only multi-service architecture for Wi-Fi, WiMAX, 4.9 GHz, 5.9 GHz and 4.4 GHz spectrum bands. BelAir Networks patented solution deploys quickly, blending into the physical infrastructure of cities, hotels and resorts, campuses, transportation systems and ports. Founded in 2001, BelAir Networks is a privately held company. For more information about BelAir products and customers, visit http://www.belairnetworks.com.

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Sheila Burpee Duncan
BelAir Networks
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Alicia Mickelson
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