Wi-Fi in the hospitality industry needs to be fast, stream all media and support all devices.
The deployment of the network also needs to be fast and efficient. Teresa Huysamen, Business Unit Manager for Cambium solutions at Duxbury Networking, said that there are three key Wi-Fi features that hotel guests look for in a Wi-Fi system:
- High-speed internet connection
- One-click access
- Seamless connection throughout the entire property, whatever the facility.
“Today’s guests want to be online from the moment they reach the property, and to stay connected everywhere – in their room, the restaurant, the swimming pool, the rooftop, the fitness centre, and the conference centre – regardless of whether their stay is for business or pleasure,” said Huysamen.
There are two critical considerations when planning hospitality Wi-Fi networks:
- Choose the right access points (APs): They have to be future-proof while still enabling backwards compatibility. The choice between corridor APs or wall plate APs will be crucial, Corridor installations provide the internet signal from the corridor to the room. Wall plates direct connections within each room across a short distance to offer higher uplink output to post videos, pictures and for faster interaction on the Internet. These plates also offer the ability to connect wired services, such as smart TV, a set top box, and an automatic minibar, to the Internet. With limited numbers of IP sockets in the room and increasing demand for connected devices in hotel rooms, this is the optimum solution.
- Invest in the network: Besides the capital investment, the operating expenses attached to network management and usage all factor in. Therefore, evaluating total cost of ownership (TCO) is more important than the initial hardware investment. Cambium’s cnPilot range is supported by the cnMaestro management platform with full network visibility and zero touch provisioning. This saves costs with deployment, troubleshooting and managing networks in real time.
Huysamen says that prior to installing a hospitality Wi-Fi network, it is important to perform a heat map survey using the proper tools (for example, Ekahau) to assess the number and type of access points, the ideal installation locations for them, and to generate a bill of materials based on the unique parameters of the unique coverage area.
“Use a modern, scalable management platform that provides a single pane of glass and integrated help desk tools across the enterprise Wi-Fi network and Ethernet distribution in the property. Cambium’s cnMaestro cloud-based management provides all the essential features required, with no recurring or licence fees. It supports the cnPilot hospitality enterprise Wi-Fi portfolio and cnMatrix Ethernet. cnMaestro Pro provides additional features such as deep analytics and multi-tenancy to allow managed service providers (MSPs) to extend control and accessibility to their hotel guests,” said Huysamen.
Huysamen said that all eventualities can be catered for. “In instances where a hotel is an older building with thick stone walls, signal penetration may be hampered. In this case a combination of access point types can be used – with cnPilot wall plates for in-room connectivity and other high-capacity indoor access points such as the Cambium e600 providing connectivity in the common areas and outdoor units for outside areas. By consulting with our technical team at the start of a project, we can recommend best fit for each specific installation.”
This article was published in partnership with Duxbury Networking.