IPQoS Continues to Change the VoIP Game

Choosing network aggregation over MPLS gives a reseller added revenue, ousts a carrier, and solves bandwidth and reliability affordably for a major hotel chain.

IsaDalí Hotels is one of North America’s largest hospitality companies with operations in both Canada and the United States. They offer individual consumers and business customers a broad array of hospitality products and services as well as various accommodation alternatives and price ranges through their premier portfolio of world-renowned brands. IsaDalí’s Canadian operation encompasses 510 rooms over 6 different properties.

A priority at IsaDalí hotels is ensuring that guests are comfortable enough in their hotels that they never have to leave. Their company promise is comprised of offering exceptional service “end-to-end”: from no-hassle reservations, impeccable housekeeping, quality restaurants, and impeccable in-room and on-premise entertainment.

In 2009, the hotels and associated restaurants in their Southern Ontario properties began to roll-out a two-phased program of switching off of traditional phone lines. By mid-2010, two hotels, six restaurants, and the valet booth’s communications were running on a carrier-provided MPLS network that was one year into a three-year contract. The system was slow and was not living up to the promises made by the carrier. Phase Two of the upgrade was about to commence, involving the network upgrade of another hotel and two additional restaurants in the immediate area. IsaDalí management were concerned that the existing MPLS network was not providing enough bandwidth to support the business currently and feared that the expansion would only worsen the existing performance. They began looking at alternatives.

“Let’s face it,” said hotel GM Sonia Quinn, “bandwidth is everything, these days. A single smart phone [application] takes up more bandwidth than an entire laptop did five years ago when we installed our first broadband links.” Not only were the reservation system’s speeds slower than the industry benchmark, the slower speeds meant that communicating with head-office through their VPN was also difficult and time-consuming. Their “no-hassle reservations” guarantee was being adversely affected by a crippling latency in their MPLS network.

In fact, the slow speed of the MPLS network was negatively affecting all aspects of the IsaDalí business – across the different properties. They recognized the need for a solution that would either replace their existing MPLS (a solution that would cost IsaDalí dearly as there were penalties to get out of the carrier contract) or a solution that could leverage their existing infrastructure, and provide the bandwidth they required.

Spend money to increase services, but kill the margin?

Understandably, IsaDalí’s first step was to approach the carrier with whom they had their existing MPLS network in order to find a solution through them. “Expansion was on the brain, and I think [The Carrier] lost sight of our requirements,” Recalls Ms. Quinn. The Carrier suggested running expensive fibre lines to all of the locations in order to rectify any up-time issues, but also to speed up the existing, under-performing MPLS network.

The hotel was spending $4300CAD (net) monthly on their complicated MPLS network for the area, and needed an Internet and Data solution that wouldn’t add too much to their fixed costs as margins were already tightening in the market — the original reason for the switch to Voice over IP. The hotel’s team scoped out their requirements as a minimum 10Mbps/site download speed. A $1500/month price-tag for the fibre connections (with additional construction costs on top), it turned out to be one of the most expensive upgrade projects the company had considered.

“[The Carrier’s Solution] just wasn’t going to fly internally,” Ms Quinn comments in the aftermath, “Sure, we needed to enhance our network, but we’re also a business that has to ensure profit margins are considered, and laying fibre to these locations was going to cost us a small fortune.”

Autonomous Network Aggregation

In the end, IsaDalí chose to open up the solution-hunting to other suppliers. Our partner brought TELoIP to the table with our Ana System. Ana™ is a patent-pending solution that aggregates bandwidths of multiple communication links to deliver greater speed and reliability to the end-user. The Ana system would be used to aggregate DSL and Cable links into each of the sites, increasing the bandwidth and reliability of all on-site connections, and providing QoS for voice for IsaDalí.

The proposed TELoIP solution for Phase Two would alleviate the burden of slow network performance by running a managed MPLS and an Internet WAN solution in parallel. The combined systems were proposed to increase the overall speed of the IsaDalí Group network, while providing a redundant data path for the site that could take advantage of TELoIP’s Ana system.

TELoIP delivers IP Confidence

TELoIP was able to deliver, through a simple combination of inexpensive network links, a solution that met IsaDalí’s bandwidth requirements and also increased the speed and reliability of their existing MPLS network.

The proposed solution would satisfy all the needs of IsaDalí’s flagship hotel, and offered a savings of over $500/month to each of the three new locations. With the added savings, the hotel chain upgraded their MPLS network by placing TELoIP hardware at existing points in their network.

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