Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 | 9:49 a.m.
MGM Resorts International will be offering free Wi-Fi at eight of its resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, the company announced today.
There will be no fee or password required to access the wireless local area network (LAN) via smart phones, laptops and tablets.
Officials at MGM Resorts said they completed installation of the Cisco Systems network at four casinos last month, with four more scheduled to get service this year. MGM says it's the first hospitality company in the nation to offer such a powerful LAN system. The company compares the Cisco services to Wi-Fi available at last summer's London Olympics.
"No one else in Las Vegas, and even the U.S., can offer the scale, quantity and quality of wireless services we now have available," John Bollen, vice president of technology strategy for MGM Resorts, said in a statement.
Details of the new Wi-Fi services became public as the International Consumer Electronics Show opened in Las Vegas.
The Cisco system will make each resort a wireless hotspot with access available in the casino, at the pool and in the lobby and restaurants. The MGM Grand expects to have Wi-Fi in all of its rooms by March.
Those wanting more bandwidth may buy upgrades. Hotel guests will receive the faster service as part of their stay.
MGM and Cisco have already added the system to public areas at the Bellagio, the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and the Mirage. The Wi-Fi service is scheduled to be added this year at the Monte Carlo, New York-New York, the Luxor and the Excalibur.
The new system promises to be up to 30 percent faster than similar large-scale wireless networks. The Bellagio has 330 access points, more than Wi-Fi networks at some large theme parks, officials said.
"By working with MGM Resorts, Cisco is taking the customer from basic connectivity to an uncompromised user experience," said Sujai Hajela, vice president and general manager of Cisco's Wireless Networking Group.
The network will also allow MGM to upgrade its apps to include resort maps with turn-by-turn navigation, interactive restaurant wine menus and the ability to push out offers for members of its Mlife customer loyalty program.
Conventions are also receiving better web access.
MGM's previous wireless service offered support for as many as 4,000 users at a time. The new Wi-Fi deployment has a capacity for 120,000 concurrent users. Convention organizers can pay for tiered services and larger private networks for their attendees.