Exceptional Guest Wi-Fi

By Daran Hermans

Any traveler can share “horror stories” of bad hotel experiences. We have all been there. Nobody wants to be there. More important, no hotel operator wants that to be your experience. Wi-Fi is nowadays as much of the experience as the bed, shower and soap.

A hotel guest network provides a critical link for the guest to stay connected with family, friends, and co-workers. Given that guests form their opinions based on initial experience, it is vitally important for hotels to have Wi-Fi connectivity that works right the first time and every time.

Most hotels already have some level of Wi-Fi, but as the technology evolves fast, old equipment becomes obsolete in few years. When it’s time to upgrade, hotels will see many options from Wi-Fi manufacturers, all based on 802.11ac. And yes, they all come at a different price point. With the goal of providing an exceptional guest experience at the minimum cost; here are a few things to consider.

  • What type of device does the guest have?
  • Is streaming video important for your guests?
  • How complicated and expensive is the network management?

Years ago, business travelers used a laptop PC.  Today, 90% of guest devices in many hotels are smart phones. Between laptops, tablets, and smart phones the guest network has a lot of work to do. Smart phones generally have the smallest antennas and lowest Wi-Fi power, so plan the network to support smart phones in every guest room.

By early 2019, internet will exceed TV watching during prime-time hours. Streaming video from Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime and other sites dominate guest room entertainment. Have you checked the bitrate requirements for UHD content? Amazon says 6.7 GBytes per hour, NetFlix says 7 GBytes per hour. If you do the math: that’s an average of 14.8 to 15.5 Mbps.

Many hotels are seeing great success by installing one AP in each guest room – this makes the Wi-Fi very personal, just like at home. With the AP inside the room, Wi-Fi signals are strong no matter what type of device the guest is using. This also sets up the hotel to support future Wi-Fi connected devices such as a network connected minibar, streaming set-top video box, video casting, or voice assistant.

802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi Access Points are VERY FAST – check out our cnPilot™ Access Points

Get back to your guests – We’ll take care of the Management

Hotel operators need to spend their time providing a great guest experience, not worrying about the guest Wi-Fi network. Installing access points is really the easy part. When done properly, the network will last for many years and provide exceptional guest experience. So, what about managing the network? Do you need expensive controllers at the hotel? Or is there a better way?

Cambium Networks is the first Wi-Fi vendor to offer no-cost Cloud-managed access. That’s not a typo, and it’s not a limited “freemium” solution. cnMaestro™ is a true single pane-of-glass management for the entire network. Here’s a short list of what cnMaestro delivers:

  • Unlimited scalability from 1 to 100s of thousands of APs
  • Seamless roaming from guest room, to poolside, to conference room
  • Firmware updates: manual or scheduled
  • Multi-user access so that property IT staff can provide coverage if needed
  • Network diagnostics tools including packet capture, throughput testing and built-In Wi-Fi scanning to locate all access points that could be interfering with the network
  • Built in Guest – configure globally using the integrated design tool, push it out to the edge access points
  • API for integration into OSS/BSS systems for 3rd party management entities

Read more in our Exceptional Wi-Fi Solution Paper – and enjoy your next stay.

Published October 9, 2018