By Marc Vaughn
If there’s one thing that remains constant for the hotel industry, it’s the need for better, faster, more secure network connectivity. Each year seems to bring higher guest standards for what counts as an acceptable WiFi experience, and hotel operators are increasingly bringing new services and systems online—stretching network capacity limits even further.
While creating a hotel stay experience that aligns with modern guest expectations increasingly hinges on a property’s WiFi connection quality, network performance continues to represent a considerable challenge for the industry that many hoteliers struggle to get right. To meet the connectivity needs of hotel operations and their guests, industry professionals should consider proven best practices that leapfrog stumbling blocks and ensure consistent success.
Leveling the internet access playing field
Providing internet access to property systems and guest devices ultimately involves having to allocate and distribute bandwidth from limited network resources. Yet when a specific device or system consumes more bandwidth than what has been allocated, slow speeds and dropped connections can begin to creep into the experiences of other users.
Bandwidth throttling is one solution that provides hoteliers with the means to ensure fair use of their networks for each connected device. The feature significantly allots a specific amount of bandwidth for each user and prevents them from exceeding preset limits. This significantly minimizes traffic congestion which can lead to reduced internet service quality for other guests and can stall or even crash operations relying on smart technology solutions.
As more hotels turn to IoT-based systems and services such as smart lights, door locks, thermostats and in-room entertainment, the need for sufficient bandwidth has never been more crucial. In addition to leveraging bandwidth throttling, hoteliers should also aim to prioritize specific systems and/or devices to ensure that they always receive the necessary bandwidth to function effectively. This vital step can often separate a successful IoT strategy from one constantly plagued by performance issues, and in turn, poor guest experiences.
Keeping an eye on the future
One of the key challenges that the hospitality industry faces is the rapid pace at which hotel businesses are evolving to become hyper-connected environments. The growing trend towards guest service digitalization is increasingly gaining traction and ultimately means that network capabilities can quickly go from being adequate to woefully insufficient.
To avoid seemingly never-ending and costly upgrades of a property’s network infrastructure, hoteliers should aim to invest in network technology and services that can scale as online needs change. Examples include increasing bandwidth levels during peak usage hours or ensuring that the necessary configurations are in place to expand a WiFi service’s coverage area. Additionally, hoteliers should work with a partner who can help the audit their overall network infrastructure to identify potential chokepoints that could inhibit the combined throughput of guest usage and help hotels develop a plan to address these without a full upgrade.
Leave network performance to the experts
Designing and managing a hotel’s WiFi network is complex and consists of many moving parts that can impact performance. The network provider a hotel partners with to design its network infrastructure, run cabling, install equipment and monitor and support performance is critical to success. While WIFI may be a commodity, service is not. Working with a trusted partner that is known for high-quality service delivery, custom network design and installation and 24/7/365 support can help hotels ensure a fast, reliable and safe connection for each guest and connected system.
Marc Vaughn is SVP, operations and business development at Cloud5 Communications.
This is a contributed piece to Hotel Business, authored by an industry professional. The thoughts expressed are the perspective of the bylined individual.