How to buy a Wi-Fi network and know it will work!

There are so many different companies out there with different opinions when it comes to WiFi. Some are right, some are wrong but how do you know? You’re an expert at running your business and you don’t have time to learn the difference between 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, let alone figure out what you need for your property. So where do you start?

The first thing you want to do is look up reputable companies. Naturally you will go online and use your favorite search engine, but remember, you’re dealing with tech people so a poor website is not a good start. One major red flag appears when the company doesn’t have a 1800 number to live 24/7/365 technical support team. This means they might not be available when you need them most, they are very small and could be gone tomorrow or they just don’t want to deal with technical questions. Either way, it’s a red flag that will lead to bigger headaches down the road. You might be thinking “if the company knows what they are doing, then I shouldn’t need tech support”, and you’re not wrong. However, when you have guests coming and going, unplugging things, electrical surges, power outage or ISP failures, you need an expert to help get your guests back online as quick as possible to avoid those angry front desk calls. Having a 1800 number available 24/7/365 for guests to call will let you sleep at 3 am when they can’t finish Game of Thrones and wants to know what happens next. It also gives your property a very professional and technologically advanced appeal as though you have your very own technical support team. Guests can simply call the number, talk to a real live person, get connected and carry on. It’s that simple.

Secondly, before you buy, ensure you have a proper “WiFi Site Survey” done. There are two ways a proper site survey can be done: The most efficient, effective and affordable way to have this done is by a company that uses a “WiFi planning” program like “Ekahau”. You can actually send in the architecture floor plan of your property, provide details around the structure (Ex. brick walls, concrete floors) and the engineers can input pretty much any type of WiFi equipment on the market and physically show you that the network they design will work in a professional report. This takes the guess work out of the process! This sounds amazing right? If you think it also sounds expensive. Amazingly, no! There are other companies out there, who will do a “WiFi Site Survey” with architectural drawings for FREE. The second, option is for a technician to visit your property and physically take readings from a temporary access point they place in different areas of your property and build a picture of what your network would look like. This is much more time consuming and expensive as you will be charged a minimum of $1,000 per day. This is still worth it if you decide to purchase a network from the company who did the “WiFi Site Survey”, and that $1,000 is deducted from the overall price of the network. You’ll still be paying the same price for the WiFi network, however, you’ll know it will work ahead of time. Major headache saver.

Thirdly, does the most expensive mean the best? Absolutely not! There’s a large gap in pricing between companies and equipment and you shouldn’t be drawn to one company because they are expensive, nor should you shy away from another company because they are cheaper. As long as you have covered your bases with the top two steps, then this step should be straight and simple. Use the company you feel most comfortable with and that you can afford. A great WiFi network doesn’t have to break the bank.

Lastly, make sure you know what your brand standards or market norms are. If you’re still charging for WiFi and everyone else is giving it away for free, where do you think your guests will go? WiFi is the number one amenity in today’s hospitality world. You want to make sure that the network you put in your property will make your guests enjoy their stay and come back again. If you follow these three steps, your guests with write positive reviews and come back for more!

Reputable company + 24/7/365 Tech support + “WiFi Site Survey” + affordable cost = SUCCESS!

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Jeff R. Owner
With 15 years of experience in the Wireless industry and a focus and passion in the hospitality space. Jeff Rhode has run his own team that creates and manages enterprise grade wireless networks. With properties that are as small as 10 room hotels to 5000 room resorts.