A new whitepaper published today by iBAHN offers a roadmap out of the hotel free WiFi dilemma, as more devices and bandwidth consumption per user threaten guest satisfaction in hospitality.
iBAHN, a global leader in IP platform-based systems and broadband technologies for the hospitality industry identifies intense pressure points on hotel internet connectivity services, which cannot be eased through free provision.
The iBAHN whitepaper: Bandwidth Management: how hotels can meet guest WiFi needs without losing money shows that the mean average data transferred per day on the iBAHN network by hotel guests, per room in 2011 was 280MB.
However, the data further reveals some users transferring 200GB and it is users like this who are contributing to the pattern of data usage per session doubling every 12 months. This doubling factor was first identified by iBAHN in 2010 and has now been seen to be valid for over three years – and looks likely to continue.
The data shows that business travellers are traditionally the heaviest bandwidth users – 40% connect two devices such as smartphones, laptops or tablets, to a hotel’s WiFi network and 25% connect three or more devices. An important point is that uploads can at times be more bandwidth-intensive than downloads, depending on the type of web engagement being used, for example peer-to-peer (P2P) networking and multiple video uploads to the Cloud.
The rise of the iPad as the first truly video-centric device has had an extraordinary impact on hotel networks. iBAHN estimates that about 50% of the devices on its network are now Apple devices such as iPads and this figure is set to rise.
At the same time, more and more hotel guests expect a reliable WiFi service but don’t want to pay for it and the whitepaper recommends how hotels should meet their needs without losing money.
The whitepaper shows that not all guests have the same connectivity requirements, and asks why all guests should receive the same service. It explains how dynamic bandwidth management, which adjusts the service to user numbers and bandwidth needs, is a way for hotels to tailor the connectivity service, and whether or not variable costs are applied, to suit the full spectrum of guest needs.
As Graeme Powell, MD iBAHN EMEA says: “The fact that 95% of business travellers care whether they can get connected at their hotel means that these properties are working to find a commercially viable way to meet their connectivity needs and at the same time be sensitive to the increased demand for free-of-charge access.”
Download Bandwidth Management: how hotels can meet guest WiFi needs without losing money here