Nearly every article about hospitality WiFi solutions on the internet begins with something like, “Get our WiFi solution or your hotel will get bad reviews and you’ll go out of business.”
Does that kind of over-the-top fear mongering convince someone like you to buy their product?
What I’d like to do today is to give you the information you need to make an informed decision about your next hotel WiFi upgrade. I’ll try to keep the technical jargon to a minimum, but still give you the insight and facts you’ll need when evaluating WiFi design, installation, and management quotes from IT services providers.
Whether you are looking to implement a WiFi system into a motel under construction or you need to upgrade to meet the growing demands of your operation and clients, the questions to which you need answers are nearly identical.
The simple answer is – the WiFi solution that WORKS without hassle, downtime, or time lag.
But the answer is, of course, more complex than that.
The optimal guest experience is provided when the following questions are answered within the design process.
The answers to each of these questions will determine the WiFi guest experience. The average guest’s internet usage and their technology expectations must be addressed in the design phase.
At the very least, your new WiFi system is going to need:
The question of coverage, capacity, and performance is not a simple one because performance is impacted by a range of factors including:
To have optimal performance devices must have access to both bandwidth and throughput on the WiFi network. The number of access points needed in a hotel WiFi application is determined by the bandwidth and throughput required by the number and capacity of devices connected.
WiFi coverage comes into the performance equation because zero access equals zero performance.
This leads us to our next question.
Let’s first dispel the myth of, “more access points is always better.”
That’s not always the case.
The other temptation of hotel administrators is to use the band-aid approach of sticking a wireless signal extender onto their system. This often leads to a lower quality signal and in turn, a lower quality guest experience.
The determination of how many access points should be used and where they should be placed is dependent upon the following:
The number of WiFi Access points should be leveraged to:
By moving away from placing the access points in the hallways and placing them in the guest rooms, the WiFi systems designer is able to use the building itself to help keep the RF signals separate and reduce co-channel interference.
The amount of maintenance and monitoring required is best found within the Managed Services IT support model. Break/Fix IT contractors can be called in to do regular WiFi health checkups, but the break/fix model does not encourage the IT support professional to take ownership of the WiFi maintenance process nor does it include 24/7 monitoring, helpdesk, and troubleshooting.
You’ve likely been in the hospitality business long enough to know that the pace of technology is driving major change within the hospitality industry.
The pace of change within WiFi systems is also moving forward at a fast clip. You can expect a hotel WiFi system to last 3-4 years before an update and overhaul are needed to maintain pace with current guest device technology.
Having said that, don’t have someone design and install a WiFi system for your facility that has no capacity to expand and evolve. No one is certain what technologies will come on the market or will become popular with consumers over the next four years. As a result, it’s essential that you have some room within your WiFi design to meet the requirements of short-term technology advances.
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