Part Two: What are the Essential Components to Building a Hotel Network?

Last month on the blog, I discussed the importance of the hotel network to create a positive, reliable experience for guests that “just works.” In case you missed the news, we released a full suite of networking infrastructure products earlier this year to create a complementary portfolio for hotels and partners that’s simple to manage and easy for guests to use. 

Below is an explanation of the specific equipment that Nomadix offers:

WLAN Controllers Highlights

The AC 1LA controller is an onsite management appliance for the wireless network. It allows multiple access points (APs) to be managed and utilized as a homogenous service, enabling devices to connect anywhere within the Wi-Fi coverage area and seamlessly roam between the different APs without causing interference. 

Having a central controller to manage a large network of multiple Nomadix APs permits for configurations to be shared and completed in a short period of time. This WLAN controller is very similar to other products on the market due to the fact that it allows for AP set up from a single location. The ability to cluster controllers together to manage even larger networks helps to limit the complexity of the wireless network. 

With multiple different interfaces on the Nomadix AC 1LA, it allows for the flexibility of multiple different disparate networks to co-exist with a single controller. 

WLAN Access Points Highlights

Wireless access points have become a basic commodity and the biggest thing that will set them apart from others is which technology they have, what form factor, as well as the number of radios supported. 

With the Nomadix lineup, we aim to keep the options simple. All the Nomadix APs support the Wi-Fi6 standard. 

For the wall plate (AP 6WA), outdoor (AP 6RA), and low density ceiling mount APs (AP 6SA), we have 2:2 radios for both 2.4 and 5Ghz support.  The high density ceiling mount AP (AP 6NA) uses a 3:3 radio configuration to handle those requirements for larger wireless client density installations, like lobbies and conference spaces. All of the APs work with the AC 1LA local controller but can be used as standalone APs if needed. 

Our APs are simple to configure and manage, and they support all the standard features and functionalities that most enterprise APs support, including Passpoint, WPA 3, and GPSK. 

LAN Switches Highlights

Local area network switches, or LAN switches, are used for allowing connectivity from the user device (connected to an AP) to the rest of the network and through the Nomadix gateway to the internet. The basics to support packet switching is all that is required of the different access and aggregate switches that Nomadix provides. 

The determining factor as to which switch to utilize is how many ports are needed and what kind of transport connection (Fiber or Copper) will be used. For the Nomadix 24 port switch (AS 24T4XHA), not only does it support PoE+ (802.3at IEEE Standard), but it also has 4 SFP+ ports that allow for a 10 Gig uplink to the rest of the network. In many situations and sites, most switches on the market that are currently used only have 1 Gig uplinks to the rest of the network. 

The 48 port switch (AS 48T2XHEA) has 2 SFP (1 Gig interface that could be Fiber) and 2 SFP+ interfaces. These switches allow for multiple options as to how to configure and set up the backhaul of the specific site network. The number of ports needed and the uplink to the rest of the network will determine which switch is needed. The ability to manage the switches through a command line interface that is very similar to the command line for Cisco and Aruba equipment means there is a low learning curve to manage the Nomadix switches. 

Having an aggregate switch (AS 20X6XSEA) that includes 20 SFP+ with additional 25 and 40 Gig ports allows for maximum flexibility in the network. The ability to cluster any of the switches together means that there is no need to purchase a large chassis that is populated with line cards as most of the competitive offerings for aggregate switches currently are.

Internet Gateways Highlights

A Nomadix Internet gateway supports hotel guest Wi-Fi, whether on an existing network or one being built out. It permits not only for easy connection of guest devices but also offers bandwidth controls and management at a granular level. 

It simplifies the network configuration, while also making room for different, more complex designs to work. The gateway is very flexible and allows the partner that is configuring it to utilize it for their business needs whether that is tiered access for guests for free or charge or just validating that the guest is checked into the hotel where the gateway is installed. 

Our gateways can be used standalone or in combination with any of the other Nomadix Networks equipment mentioned previously in this post. It is different from the competition due to the fact that it is completely built and developed by Nomadix and is not running open source software that is patched together. Our gateways started the guest network movement over 25 years ago and continue to support those hotels that would like a reliable and simple guest option for their networks. 

It works like a basic firewall by translating all traffic that is behind it on the guest network, as well as allowing for static port mappings to be made to manage devices. There are many ways that a user can authenticate, and Nomadix supports almost all PMS vendors. 

Radius can be used both for administrative authentication to manage the Nomadix gateway, as well as used to authenticate users for network access. Self provisioning of the guest devices can be done using the built in portal with Radius, Paypal/credit card, PMS, or access code authentication. We also support an external portal, built by partners, using simple XML commands to enable alternative forms of authentication if needed by the specific guest network.

Happy network building! I’ve been with Nomadix for most of the company’s history and am excited about where we’ve come and what’s in store for our partners and hotels using our products. Travel demand is rising again, and it’s a great time to upgrade to ensure business and leisure travelers can stay connected and feel at home wherever they go.  


Jeremy Cook is the product manager for the Nomadix gateways. He has worked with Nomadix for 21 years, joining the organization in quality assurance and moving through systems and pre-sales engineering and to his current role in Product Management.