Free access to the internet is now a top priority for hotels, particularly if you’re catering to business travelers who are accustomed to working on the move. Yet there are still a lot of venues that fail to meet this basic demand. Instead, guests often have to depend on spotty connectivity and poor performance. Other networks are open to the public, which may also leave you open to security risks. To keep your guests happy and the great reviews rolling in, having a fast and dependable wireless network is a must, and here’s how you get it.
#1. Separate your network
If you’re accommodating business travelers, chances are wireless internet access is just as important to them as it is to you. You can’t run a modern hotel reception without decent internet when everyday back office operations have grown so dependent on it. Property management systems are often browser-based, which means your business can’t function normally without internet access. As such, the last thing you need is for guests to be consuming all the available bandwidth. That’s why you should provide a completely separate network for your guests. This way, both guests and back office staff get to enjoy high-speed connections.
#2. Make it secure
Many venues offer open wireless connections that anyone can connect to, including people outside the property who can get a strong enough signal. Security is paramount to both your employees and your guests, and while having an open network might seem convenient, it will also be left open to wireless eavesdropping attacks looking to exploit unencrypted data being sent between the router and connected devices. To prevent this from happening, enable WPA2 encryption, install intrusion prevention systems, and change the Wi-Fi password regularly.
#3. Plan for future expansion
Even if you don’t envisage accommodating more guests in the near future, the demand for fast and reliable internet connections will likely increase. As websites become more bandwidth-intensive and more applications reside in the cloud, you need to provide the best performance possible. That’s why you should choose a scalable solution that allows you to accommodate as many connected devices as possible. For hotels with multiple branches, or which expect to open a new branch any time soon, setting up a wide area network (WAN) offers a scalable network that can be centrally managed.
#4. Place access points optimally
Sporadic Wi-Fi coverage is one of the most common complaints among hotel guests. If people can’t get reliable internet in their rooms, as well as any communal areas of the hotel, your reputation will suffer. Unfortunately, wireless routers rarely have anything near the range they’re advertised to have, particularly when you factor in heavily insulated walls and devices that might cause interference. To combat these problems, you’ll need multiple, strategically placed access points. Rather than range boosters, consider using power-line networking to carry signals across the building’s electrical infrastructure, as this will decrease interference.
#5. Measure performance regularly
Hotels are popular targets for disruptive cyberattacks, such as cryptojacking, worms, and DDoS attacks. These attacks can consume bandwidth and slow your internet connection down to a crawl. If you have an open network, you may also end up with outsiders leeching off your available bandwidth. To keep a close eye on the health of your network, you should always monitor bandwidth usage and blacklist offending IP addresses. To ensure everyone receives sufficiently fast and reliable service, you should also consider allocating bandwidth per device or room.
Netcom Solutions provides all-inclusive network cabling and support for organizations in the hospitality sector. Call us today to enhance the guest experience and increase staff efficiency.
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