What should hotel internet be like?
Hotel Internet – fast, free and easy to use. Really nothing more is needed by hotel guests – or at least that’s what the theory says. In practice, however, it does not look so perfect. It still often happens that the wifi offered by many hotels is disappointing, unsecured and ultimately useless.
“I would give this place 5 stars if wifi wasn’t too bad.
review on www.booking.com“
Hoteliers cannot afford to have such a post appear on the internet. Visitors change a lot, but online reviews stay a long time. Whether it is a hotel, motel, inn or guesthouse. Guests expect to be able to connect to the hotel’s fast and stable Internet. Stable and fast internet is the second criterion for assessing the hotel, right after a comfortable bed.
The devices currently available, compared to those from a few years ago, have become affordable and very reliable. However, a device alone is not enough to provide guests with high-speed internet. How to prepare the network to meet current standards? Just use a few rules below.
Get to know your guests and their expectations
A constant and reliable Internet connection is now a must – regardless of the standard of your hotel or restaurant. Hotel internet is no longer a convenience. Some guests use the hotel’s wifi network to communicate with loved ones at home or watch their favorite movies, while other guests may use the internet connection to work remotely. Hotel streaming is becoming more and more popular. Each hotel Wi-Fi installation requires in-depth knowledge of the client’s expectations and should be properly adapted – a completely different network is required for a small guesthouse, and another for a large, chain hotel. Different solutions will be used in a hotel targeted at business clients, others – at tourist hotels. No two wireless networks are the same and each hotel must treat its wifi installation unique.
Don’t take the easy way
Hotel wifi is not a supermarket shelf product that anyone can buy. Investing in a well-configured network will help reduce future costs related to operation, maintenance and upgrades. When choosing devices, one should be guided by the idea that cheap devices designed for home use (SoHo), available in supermarkets or local computer stores NOT SUITABLE for use in hotels – do not provide sufficient bandwidth or link stability. Even in those that offer guests a “home stay”. Hotels must reach for business class devices that, apart from reliability and efficiency, have many useful functions that they should look for among devices intended for home users.
WiFi measurements first of all
Despite being invisible, a wireless network can be measurable in many ways. However, creating it, we should start with taking professional measurements of the WiFi network. Good location of the access point, configuration of the channel, range or bandwidth are the most important elements for a well-functioning wireless network. Without on-site measurements, you enter a dead end and be prepared for numerous guest complaints or some nuisance failure. Many of the free applications available for measuring the parameters of the wifi network do not work at all in hotel conditions. They are intended for home measurements where the requirements are completely different. Professional solutions measure many parameters at the same time, thanks to which designing a wifi network becomes easier.
”Audit of wireless networks is one of the key elements that allow the efficient functioning of the network in facilities with high Internet traffic. It allows you to determine the correct network parameters, diagnose network malfunctions, and select the best way to solve problems. – www.telewizjadlahoteli.pl .
Remember that the wireless network is dynamic and constantly changing. Rotation of end devices (guests), new external signal sources – for this reason, it is recommended to conduct a wifi audit at least every two years.
Hotel chain project
WiFi network measurement results will make choosing a hotel wireless network design very easy. Proper placement of access points will ensure adequate coverage, capacity, functional connectivity, and minimal interference. Thanks to the information on how the signals from individual access points will overlap, you can choose the appropriate channel plan. It will also improve network coverage and performance. Common mistakes include placing access points behind walls or other structures that may prevent the wireless signal from propagating properly. Many hotels choose to place access points in each room, and while this solution can offer great coverage, it can be expensive and will require a huge amount of setup to prevent inter-channel interference.
When designing a network, its capacity should also be taken into account. Gone are the days when one guest would bring one WiFi device to a hotel. Currently, there may be several of them – smartphone, tablet, laptop, smartwatch and many others. And suddenly, an intimate, 30-room hotel has several hundred devices connected to the network, which can effectively clog any poorly designed WiFi network, which will make it unusable, and relevant opinions will appear on the Internet.
The design of a wireless hotel wifi network must take into account the use of devices operating on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. More and more devices use the 5Ghz band, and the 2.4 GHz band is increasingly clogged (disturbed) by home appliances, toys or Bluetooth devices.
In some cases, a 2.4 GHz network will be perfect for basic applications such as browsing the Internet or using email on a tablet, computer or phone. More and more guests use streaming services such as Netflix or Youtube and selecting 5 GHz can significantly improve wifi performance for these solutions. The requirement of today is the 802.11ac range standard. And only such access devices should currently be installed in a hotel.
To ensure conflict-free operation, the access points must be managed by a controller. This device manages all access points, setting the appropriate power, work channels or directing traffic between devices. The chosen solution must also ensure fast switching between access points (roaming), so that a guest moving around the hotel is not exposed to interrupted data transmission and wifi connection.
Only one network!
There is nothing more complicated for a guest staying in a hotel room than the dilemma of which access point to connect to? Is it supposed to be “Hotel_1”, “Hotel_2” or “Hotel_5”? A well-designed wireless network should have only one network name common to all access points. Other networks are allowed, but only under special conditions and on special terms.
The HSIA (High Speed Internet Access) system is responsible for tariff plans and assigning appropriate rules. The system provides virtually unlimited possibilities for configuration and management of Internet access.
When designing, it is also worth taking into account the new technology, the so-called Wifi 6 (802.11ax). It is true that at present it is still used only marginally (due to the “freshness” of the solution), but it will soon become the basic standard. Especially considering the fact that a wifi network is designed for 3-4 years at most. Then the technology becomes obsolete and the network needs to be modernized.
Maintain perfect hotel wifi security
Security is a serious concern for people using public networks, and it should be a priority to keep the hotel’s WiFi security at the highest level. Protecting your guests’ personal information is extremely important, and this can be done by enabling a virtual local area network (VLAN) per device or room. Keeping each device on its own VLAN will prevent communication between devices connected to the network. Without such basic security standards, guests would be able to access their personal files and even the hotel’s internal network.
Also, do not forget about the device called Firewall. The device is designed, among others online data filtering – detects malware and viruses during file transmission. It blocks unwanted connections and attacks from outside.
Remember what not to do
Guests want the hotel’s wifi network that just works without any problems. This means a simple login process. Once for the entire stay. The welcome page becomes the standard. It can be our ally, but it can easily become an enemy and a source of negative opinions. On the one hand, the welcome page may offer an easy-to-use login process. It is also a perfect place to advertise your offer, e.g. SPA or Night Bar. On the other hand, the welcome page can be easily overcrowded, cumbersome, and confusing for end users. It can also be burdensome for visitors, especially if they do not want to disclose their data – email address, Facebook account needed to log into the network. Remember that data security is very important to today’s customers.
Some hotels have timeouts that require guests to log in after a period of inactivity. This is a useless setup that doesn’t save money or provide any additional security features. This is just a hassle for guests who want to automatically join saved wifi networks instead of retyping their credentials.
Having problems with the Internet in your hotel? Write to us, we will help you solve them!
IT engineer. Over twenty years in the hotel television industry. Currently, he advises hotels on television for hotels and Wi-Fi networks for guests. It works directly with leading manufacturers of devices dedicated to hotels.