Hotels are always looking for ways to enhance their guests' experience, and one way to do that is by providing enough bandwidth so guests can enjoy streaming content over WiFi. With the rise of streaming services, guests expect to have access to their favorite shows and movies while traveling.
So, what aspects do we need to take into consideration?
1. Easy to use WiFi service, easy to connect
The hospitality WiFi service must be easy to use. Not everyone knows how to use public WiFi Internet, different from using the WiFi in the home. There are three factors that must be considered:
- The connection and login process should have clear simple instructions available for guests in every room and at locations where guests might use the WiFi, in the lobby, etc.
- The wireless access point name used for the WiFi (called the SSID), make it simple, easy to recognize and use the same name for all the wireless access points.
- The login process to connect with the Internet should be easy and simple to use, this may be a login page that requires a codes provided to the guest at check-in.
With these three factors there is no need for the guest to get frustrated and to call the front desk.
2. Exclusive access for guest, letting anyone access will limit streaming
Open public WiFi Internet allows anyone to connect to the Internet with a mobile device. As more people connect the Internet service gets slower for everyone until it is impossible to connect to the service. All hospitality businesses, including motels, hotels, RV parks and campgrounds have to provide a great WiFi Internet service for guests and so it is essential that the service can only be used by guests to ensure that the service has good performance. The hospitality business can give guests an exclusive access code that permits the guest to connect to the Internet. A person who is not a guest can see the login page but cannot connect to the Internet. Products such as Guest Internet control access to the Internet with codes.
3. Strong WiFi wireless signals for all guests
Many hospitality businesses hear guests complain that they cannot connect to the WiFi, usually because the signal is too weak. Walls can block WiFi inside buildings and so a large number of wireless access points have to be installed. Ideally install a wireless access point in each room. Large outdoor areas like RV parks and campgrounds have a different set of challenges. The WiFi signal is weak and has a limited range. Obstacles such as trees will block WiFi signals. It is important that the guest can see the wireless access point antenna, called line-of-sight. It will be necessary to install the wireless access point antenna on a tower that is higher than the tree tops so that guests can see the antenna. Don't forget to install lightning protection on the tower. RV parks and campgrounds can sell a WiFi wireless receiver to guests that will extend the connection range. Some RV’s have this equipment installed with an antenna on the roof.
4. Insufficient Internet bandwidth, add more with Starlink
A common guest complaint that many hospitality businesses hear is that the Internet is slow. If the hotel is in an urban area then it may be possible to get an optical fiber connection with a 1Gbit data speed. Unfortunately most hospitality businesses don’t have access to a high-speed fiber connection. The common type of connection is ADSL over a phone line with a speed in the range of 10Mb/s to 50Mb/s. The ADSL speed slows, as the business is further away from the DSL hub. The solution is to add a second ISP however most businesses don’t have that option. Now that Starlink is available it is easy to add a second ISP. Starlink is a satellite Internet service that works anywhere. Using a Guest Internet product that has two ISP connections (called dual-WAN) the ADSL and Starlink services are connected to one product. The Guest Internet provides the sum of two bandwidths. If the ADSL has 20Mb/s and the Starlink has 200Mb/s then the total speed available for guests is 220Mb/s. The Guest Internet product also has fail-over which means that if the connection with one ISP is lost then all guests are switched to the ISP that is working.
5. Manage the available bandwidth to share between guests
The Internet bandwidth or circuit speed that is available for guests is limited by the services that are available to the businesses. Guests always want more bandwidth as many people want to watch video streaming services such as Netflix, that require a lot of bandwidth. Using a Guest Internet product each guest can have a data speed limit so that the available data speed can be shared between all guests. If there are a lot of guests then a two-tier method of allocation the Internet service might be appropriate. A two-tier service means that the free Internet service has a very slow speed and the guest can pay on-line for a faster service speed. When there are too many guests for the available service the business might choose an access method that many airports have installed, provide a guest free Internet for a limited period, say 30 minutes, each 24 hour cycle, then charge for the Internet service. Guest Internet products can provide such a system.
6. Monitor the service quality; identify any failures in the network quickly
One of the problems with a WiFi network that has many wireless access points is that there is no indication if a wireless access point has failed. The business begins to get customer complaints for a specific area but does not have the means to identify the problem. Managed WiFi products like Guest Internet have a free cloud management service that can monitor all wireless access points for failure and send an alert message to the manager when one fails, informing which wireless access point has failed. This will give the manager time to replace the failed access point before the guests start complaining.
Contact us if you need help with your Internet service, we would love to help.