Guest WiFi – Does Speed Matter?

Guest WiFi can be something of a tricky proposition for many businesses.

Everyone knows they need it, but implementing it properly? That’s another issue entirely. Off-the-shelf consumer grade technology simply isn’t suited to the demands of commercially operated guest WiFi and the systems used to manage them don’t offer the flexibility required to keep these systems operational day-after-day.

It’s meant that, more and more, businesses are waking up to the reality that a professional-grade guest WiFi solution is the only real response to pervasive WiFi issues.

However, that doesn’t mean that all guest WiFi solutions are created equally, especially when it comes to key issues like downtime, coverage and, perhaps most importantly of all, speed.

But is speed really all that important when it comes to guest WiFi? We think the answer is yes. Here’s why?

Customer demands are changing

Key to understanding why raw speed is vital for the modern internet user is to look at the way internet usage has changed. Once the preserve of text and image-only websites, the internet is increasingly a portal for high-quality video and audio streaming services which travel with individuals from location to location.

For businesses in the hospitality sector, it’s meant that in-room standards like DVD players have fallen by the wayside as streaming sticks and smart-TVs become ever-present in hotel rooms.

That media consumption puts significant demands on guest WiFi networks as dozens of customers attempt to stream TV and movies in full-HD simultaneously. Without fast internet, it’s simply not possible for these services to function effectively.

WiFi is a utility

Guest WiFi is no longer a luxury that only the finest establishments offer. It’s a utility, similar to water, heating and electricity.

As such, if it doesn’t function as it’s supposed to do, you can expect to see customers lodge complaints and, often, simply not return for a second time. It’s a huge issue for any business looking to turn first-time customers into repeat business, and simply can’t be ignored if customer satisfaction is anywhere near your priorities.

Overall internet speeds are increasing

Across the world, average internet speeds are increasing year on year. In the UK, for example, average home broadband download speeds between April 2017 and May 2018 increased 27.62% to hit 46.2Mbps. It’s a dramatic leap, however, it built on a further 25.26% jump between March 2016 and April 2017 to 36.2Mbps.

It’s a pattern observed around the world as average download speeds climb year on year, and mirrored in average mobile download speeds, improved by the expansion of 4G wireless networks.

These speeds are no longer exceptional, they’re the minimal acceptable standard for many people. For vast swathes of the population, internet access is today marked by its ease of access, high speeds and consistent quality.

Falling below those standards is a recipe for quick customer dissatisfaction as they face up against slower-than-expected downloads in a world where smartphones, tablets and laptops are used for much of the everyday entertainment and communication which was once handled by telephones and televisions.

So, does speed matter when it comes to guest WiFi? Absolutely.

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