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Why Wi-Fi for Hotels Can Be a Major Headache

Guests often complain about hotel Wi-Fi because of slow connections or poor signals. Here are four of the most common problems for hotels and how to resolve them.

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Wi-Fi has notoriously been a challenge for hotels. Guests may complain about having to deal with the captive portal or having spotty service in certain rooms and locations throughout a hotel. Hotels are very large spaces, often with hundreds of people trying to connect to the internet at a given moment, all with different types of devices.

But by identifying the biggest challenges hotels face, we can start to understand the best solutions. This guide will walk through why seamless Wi-Fi for hotels is important, four common problems for hotel Wi-Fi, and how to improve. 

Why seamless Wi-Fi is a must for hotels

It’s an understatement to say that people want hotel Wi-Fi. Without it, hotels will lose business and lower guest satisfaction significantly. In fact, many travelers simply won’t stay at a hotel that doesn’t have Wi-Fi. 

One report found that 89% of travelers say free internet access is important to them when selecting a hotel for a leisure trip. And, 90% of today’s business travelers want in-room Wi-Fi, with a third reporting that no Wi-Fi is a deal breaker.

Aside from simply having Wi-Fi, hotels need to ensure that it’s a seamless experience. It won’t do much good to have wireless internet if people can’t access it or it never works. Travelers, both vacation and business, now demand connectivity wherever they are, and they get frustrated when it doesn’t work properly. They may be trying to manage their travel plans or work emails from their mobile devices, and poor Wi-Fi gets in the way of their ability to do so. When that happens, customer sentiment declines.

Four common problems in Wi-Fi for hotels and solutions to address them

So, why is Wi-Fi at hotels so hard to manage? Here are four common hotel Wi-Fi problems, how they cause issues for guests, and how to address them to create the best Wi-Fi for hotels:

1. Not enough bandwidth

Hotels need a lot of bandwidth to support the number of people who use the Wi-Fi, as well as the devices and applications they use. Without enough bandwidth, guests will experience slow and poor service when they’re trying to do any task on their devices.

Hotels should ensure they accurately plan for:

  • The number of people who will need guest Wi-Fi at a given time
  • The types of spaces they need to cover outside of guests’ rooms, like in-hotel facilities or restaurants
  • The average number of devices people have on them
  • The types of applications and activities people use the Wi-Fi for

2. Access point mistakes

The number and placement of access points (APs) can make or break hotel Wi-Fi. Many hotels may want to reduce how many they deploy since APs can be costly. But doing so can mean very poor Wi-Fi for guests. They’ll experience gaps in coverage throughout the hotel, losing service as they travel through the spaces.

Network managers should conduct a site survey that accounts for the number of APs needed to adequately cover all areas of the hotel, in addition to factors like physical barriers and materials that get in the way of signals. They should identify where lots of people will be using devices at the same time, like the lobby, and plan for additional APs as necessary. Some hotels decide to deploy APs in each room for optimal connectivity for guests, instead of only placing them in hallways.

3. Having only one network

Some hotel network planners may think that one wireless network is enough for both staff and guests. However, this choice may lead to a really slow connection, since more people are trying to connect to the same network, and staff may be trying to do more bandwidth-heavy tasks, like uploads and downloads or VoIP calls.

It’s simple to create two different networks: one that’s closed and password-protected for hotel workers, and another that’s either open or closed for guests. Closed networks, even for guests, are a good idea for hotels so that only guests are using the Wi-Fi with a password they receive upon check-in.

4. Lots of interference

Guests may experience Wi-Fi at hotels that drops or breaks up because of interference. Interference happens when there are other Wi-Fi signals present, fighting for connectivity. And, when channels have too many users in them, people will experience drops in service or slow connections. 

A 2.4 GHz band gets pretty congested because it’s used by all kinds of smart devices found in hotels, like Bluetooth devices, smartphones, and even microwaves. Sometimes a simple shift to 5 GHz will boost guest access to better Wi-Fi. Enabling band steering technology can also help, since the APs (and not client devices) will choose which band to connect to – 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz – based on what the device can support. This means devices that can connect to 5 GHz will do so automatically, freeing up more space on the 2.4 GHz band.

How 7SIGNAL solves lack of visibility for hotels

Sometimes problems continue to happen simply from not having any way to track data and analyze performance. It’s impossible to resolve Wi-Fi issues at their core without understanding the root cause of issues. 

Hotels should implement a solution like Wireless Experience Monitoring from 7SIGNAL, which continuously monitors and tests your Wi-Fi. Network engineers are able to stay proactive against problems but also uncover an issue before the end-user notices and complains. 

This is managed with sensors like Mobile Eye® and Sapphire Eye®. These devices are deployed to monitor devices within the network, so you always know how users are experiencing the Wi-Fi at a given moment. With this kind of visibility, Wi-Fi connectivity stays strong and consistent, meeting the needs of hotel guests.

Learn more about the benefits of our platform by contacting the 7SIGNAL team.

7SIGNAL® is the leader in wireless experience monitoring, providing insight into wireless networks and control over Wi-Fi performance so businesses and organizations can thrive. Our cloud-based wireless network monitoring platform continually tests and measures Wi-Fi performance at the edges of the network, enabling fast solutions to digital experience issues and stronger connections for mission-critical users, devices, and applications. Learn more at www.7signal.com.