Pulling Cat5 Ethernet cable through walls can be an expensive proposition, particularly in older construction. Radio networks are faster to build, easier to expand, and capital investment is modest: entry-level Wi-Fi access points have fallen under $100; PC cards under $50. To defray cost, hotels can rent PC cards to visitors who need them. However, more and more visitors will be Wi-Fi ready, thanks to developments like Intel's Centrino.
Charging for wireless Internet access is less clear-cut. Charging for wired OR wireless access requires usage control, monitoring, and accounting. There are several products on the market to create your own "hotspot -- for example, the Proxim AP-2500 or Colubris Networks CN3000. Alternatively, you can partner with a company that takes care of subscriber billing and payment processing -- for example, Toshiba or Boingo. Before diving in, crunch your numbers and learn from those already in the game. For example, read 802.11 Planet's interview with RoomLinX, a wireless solutions provider to the hospitality industry.
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