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Hotel Agora

Hotel Agora


  • Meraki cloud-managed security appliance and Meraki APs provide complete solution
  • Smart load balancing between two DSL connections maximizes network uptime
  • Layer 7 Application Traffic Shaping ensures compliance with HADOPI laws
  • Customized landing page promotes business and provides relevant information to hotel

With the Notre Dame Cathedral standing mere meters away, the seven story Hotel Agora Saint Germain lies in the heart of Paris’ rich culture and history. The Hotel Agora, managed by Cedric Sahuc, provides a luxurious haven for travelers amidst France’s iconic landmarks, including the Louvre, the River Seine, the Pantheon, and the Opera Bastille.

Previously, the Hotel Agora’s wireless Internet was provided by an outside vendor, meaning that Sahuc lacked control over the network he offered to guests and used for administrative purposes. The landing page for the hotel’s guests had no branding related to the hotel. Guests and hotel staff suffered from numerous performance issues, and the staff had no visibility into the clients accessing the network or the type of traffic on it.

One of Sahuc’s major concerns was strict conformity with French HADOPI law, which mandates compliance with copyright laws. “If a customer downloads illegal content on our network, our network can be disabled,” he said. Sahuc wanted to find an affordable networking solution that would not only address this issue, but also would provide him with control over the hotel’s computers and systems, would be user friendly and secure for guests, and would promote the hotel via splash pages.

Sahuc sought the advice of Gonzague Dambricourt with Bouche Cousue, an Internet solutions partner, who recommended Meraki’s branch gateway and 802.11n wireless LAN. “Meraki provides a networking solution that is reliable,” Dambricourt said. “The cloud management means there is no need for on site IT.” Meraki’s integrated client fingerprinting, content filtering, and traffic shaping would provide the visibility and control over clients and applications that Sahuc needed to ensure compliance with HADOPI law.

In a business where guests and administrators use the wireless on a daily basis, the ongoing operation of the network is mission critical to the hotel. Dambricourt was impressed by the MX70’s smart load balancing functionality, which balances traffic between two DSL connections. “Even if one connection stops working, the network relies on the other connection,” he said.

In just one afternoon, Bouche Cousue deployed a complete Meraki network – from the branch gateway to wireless access points throughout the hotel. Dambricourt created multiple SSIDs: one for secure hotel administration and another for guests. The latter uses Meraki’s LAN isolation feature, which prevents guests from accessing the internal network as well as each other, eliminating privacy and virus concerns. Using Meraki’s custom splash page feature, Dambricourt created a hotel landing page emblazoned with the hotel’s logo and additional offerings such as the phone number for reception, breakfast hours, and the hotel’s Facebook page.

Dambricourt also installed Meraki’s Systems Manager on staff computers and servers, providing monitoring, diagnostics, and remote desktop capabilities. “The server is mission critical,” Dambricourt said.

No one provides this kind of traffic shaping and content filtering at such an affordable price.Cedric Sahuc, Manager

“It’s very helpful that we can see on the dashboard if it’s down or if the memory is too low.”

After witnessing the ease and success of the Meraki network deployment, Sahuc’s wife deployed Meraki in her hotel, the Hotel Abbatial. Through the web-based Meraki dashboard, the Sahucs can monitor the wireless and wired networks of both hotels, and will soon connect them with the MX70’s auto-configuring site-to-site VPN.

Since the Meraki platform monitors the network from the cloud, Sahuc is notified within minutes of any network problem. With Meraki’s remote tools, he can often fix issues without going on site. Guests no longer complain about Internet problems and are even able to stream video. “We can customize the system to our needs,” Sahuc said. “It’s nice to see everything in one interface.”

Best of all, Meraki’s layer 7 application traffic shaping enables Sahuc to streamline traffic over the network as well as prevent access to prohibited peer to peer sites that could violate the HADOPI law. “We could not do that before,” Sahuc said. “No one provides this kind of traffic shaping and content filtering at such an affordable price.”