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Industry News

Vegas Resort Places Bets on Wireless

Sprint, MobileAccess team to provide wide-ranging infrastructure

June 12, 2008
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The under-construction M Resort, Spa and Casino in Las Vegas has placed all its chips on wireless, betting that today’s technology and tomorrow’s potential will pay off with a unique and enhanced communications atmosphere for guests and employees alike.

The resort is also placing a small hedge bet by running fiber throughout its 150,000-plus square-foot facility that sits on 90 acres of land. The big bet, though, is “taking everything customers do today in a landline world, changing out the transport layer and moving it to a wirelessly enabled world,” said Darlene Braunschweig, vice president of converged network solutions (CNS) for Sprint, which is undertaking the communications job in a turnkey fashion.

Sprint’s plan is to deliver seamless, always-on wireless coverage to individuals visiting or working in different parts of the facility. To make certain the signals stay strong, Sprint will use the MobileAccess universal wireless network to support multiple wireless services, applications and devices.

“Depending on the customer we can transmit Wi-Fi, just regular RF or our first entrée into fixed-mobile convergence, the true mobile extension desktop replacement wireless LAN,” Braunschweig said.

Part of that FMC play will probably even eventually include WiMAX, a delivery mechanism in which Sprint is heavily involved, in addition to the more conventional CDMA and iDEN the carrier is delivering. Employees, Braunschweig said, will have access to Sprint’s push-to-talk network.

“The system itself, by adding some additional components, will be able to carry the WiMAX piece,” she said. “When you think about the capability of transmitting WiMAX in a resort like that, even to the point of videos-on-demand and things like that, it’s pretty unique.”

MobileAccess’ job will be to make sure the wireless signals, no matter what they are, are available to any user anywhere in the facility, including in the gaming hall, in guest rooms, through conference areas and even out by the pool as well as, of course, back-office areas. It even includes public safety functions where Sprint will be feeding wireless surveillance equipment.

To accomplish this, MobileAccess will use its universal wireless network as the in-building wireless platform as well as to provide pervasive coverage for the two-way radios used by fire, police and other first responders as an added measure to assist in public safety.

“If it works outside, it’s going to work inside exactly the same way, potentially even better,” said Jeff Kunst, vice president of marketing for MobileAccess. “We ensure that you get the best possible data rate that the Sprint EV-DO network can provide.”

In an idea world, the wireless connectivity would be so ubiquitous that there really would be no need for wires, said Braunschweig.

“You could, in theory, have no desktop phones whatsoever; you could utilize only cell phones within the building,” she said. “A mobile extension solution would act as a PBX and would drive the call out to the appropriate location or cell phone or whatever it might be within a customer.”

That’s stretching things and it’s not a needed stretch since the M Resort is pulling fiber to accommodate its communications system, among other things.

“Fiber is an extensive component so we’ll have them pull additional fiber so that this solution can run on that fiber,” Braunschweig said.

Sprint will be on hand to work the customer through the entire telecommunications build, right through to project completion in 2009 to make sure everything works out right.

“We elect to manage the entire solution; to go in and wirelessly enable customers, really laying the foundation to allow them to provide multiple applications on this foundation, driving enterprise units as a result,” she said.

Recent Articles by Jim Barthold, Telecommunications

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