As TheRegister noted at the end of its coverage on Marriott’s clarification on why it wants FCC to give it the right to block other networks using its convention and conference centre, one really has to wonder why its WiFi network is so flimsy.
In my opinion anyone visiting a convention and conference centre has the expectation to be able to create his own local WiFi hotspot to meet his own computing needs.
Conference centre operators should not be allow to interfere with other people’s personal hotspot the way Marriott wanted. As an conference operator with home turf advantage, for Marriott to claim that it cannot run its own WiFi service in the face of these hotspot says that it is incompetent. I do not think that it is likely that the incompetency comes from its IT department but rather Marriott management choose not to invest in the appropriate infrastructure to support their own network. Now it is made worse by the fact that rather than make the appropriate investment, Marriott either wants to spend money on the wrong type of equipment, or to reuse equipment it had bought but was fined for using it by the FCC. The cynic in me says they are trying to exploit network congestion for commercial advantage. Both are not acceptable.
Technically, Marriott’s request from FCC is unfair because it ask for the rights to favour its own wifi network operating on a shared spectrum. it is made worse by the fact that it wants to do this by intentionally interferes with other people’s networks, instead of improving the performance of its own network.
The same criticism applies to Hilton and American Lodging Association. Nobody forced you to invest in a conference centre, you choose to do it. For that, you are expected to play fair when it comes to WiFi.
While it is not that unusual to see WiFi network meltdown in large conferences. Spectrum can be very busy at large conference. I can remember a very big conference where the conference organizer asked for everyone’s cooperation to reduce WiFi traffic because the spectrum is too congested. The difference here is the organizer did not ask for its network to be favoured in this situation. It is in the same boat with everyone else.