Hospitality wifi for your guests – are you safe?

I have a guest house, hotel or hospitality business and offer free wifi to my guests, is that not a good thing?

Yes, it is a good thing! One big factor for people nowadays when choosing their holiday accomodation is the quality of their internet access in that is it reliable and of a consistent speed. Likewise, if you have somewhere such as a coffee shop or bar then a good wifi connection for your customers can attract visitors too who may want to meet work colleagues for a coffee or such.

When customers leave reviews for your business, one of the most common things that they will mention is the quality of the wifi if it is not up to scratch.

I already have a router from my internet provider and I just share my password with my guests, is that not ok?

This is very common practice, and the cost of this is very low given the fact no extra equipment is required and you as the owner are paying for the internet connection that you need anyway, however the risks and legal implications of this can be very high….

  • Guests who are logged on the the same router as your with the same credentials are therefore on the same network as you and therefore there is the potentional that they can see and access your devices such as computers and printers and any unsecure data on them.
  • Anyone tech savvy could possibly cause malicious problems by altering settings of the network and cause major problems.
  • Without a form of client isolation on the network, guests can see other guests and devices on the network too.
  • If any illegal activity is carried out such as downloading then without proof or logs of who has been using your wifi at what times, then it could be considered that you are liable for such actions being carried out.

There is also the physical limitations such as:

  • In the majority of premises, a single router will not provide coverage throughout the whole of the building, if it does then in some of the furthest and weakest areas the signal is likely to be degraded and therefore a slower and more inconsistent internet speed.
  • If all the devices in the building are connect to the same one router then that can lead to a slower all round connection for all.
  • Routers provided by ISPs rarely have the coverage of a good dedicated third party system and often lack features such as guest network capability, client isolation and restricting certain users where required.

But my ISP will offer me a system with extenders to reach blackspots within my property?

Many ISPs such as BT will provide extenders such as within the Whole Home wifi system to extend coverage however in a commercial environment where you are managing guests they are very limited as to the features they provide. Although they often do have a guest network feature it is little more than that, they do not have the same network management features as a more dedicated system.

A further physical limitation is that each device usually relies on being able to pick up an existing wifi signal which it then repeats and so therefore if you have an area of your property at a distance and which struggles for wireless then you may well need several of these devices to repeat the signal to reach that device in that area. Furthermore, any degradation in the wireless signal may have weakened significantly by the time it reach the blackspot using this method.

Furthermore, a large property may well require more devices than what the ISP is willing to provide within your package and so therefore may charge you a set fee for the extra devices each month.

But would an alternative system not cost a fortune to run?

  • In a word, no!
  • The cost of an improved wifi installation depends on the size of your premises and your requirements, however in most cases it can be quite low and requires very little physical maintenance after that.
  • In most cases, there are no further subscriptions to pay, even when using a solution where you can manage the wifi yourself.

The cost of installation can be much cheaper than you think, however every premises is different and therefore depends on the type of infrastructure required to provide you with that coverage.

Advantages of an improved wifi infrastructure?

There are manay advantages to having an improved infrastructure for your premises and guests including:

  • A reputation for having a good wifi connection brings positive reviews, helps retain customers and attract new ones
  • Faster and stronger wifi coverage in all the required areas throughout the building
  • Your clients can have their own seperate network name
  • Better security for your own devices and greater protection for your guests and and their devices with features such as guest networks and client isolation
  • Easy self management of your network including managing download speeds, client authentication, restriction of certain sites and clients and the ability to market your business further through your wifi portal
  • Better compliance with all legal aspects of sharing your internet connection

What is the best wifi solution for my hotel/guest house/hospitality venue?

As mentioned previously, every venue is different in size and structure and has different requirements. Some venues may benefit from an infrastructure of hardwiring of devices such as access points whilst others may be able to use a mesh system. In most cases, management can be done remotely to help maximise the monitoring and efficiency of the network.

If you would like us to visit your premises to look at your current setup and see what infrastructure we can provide for you please contact us.