- Director of Connectivity
Outdoor Facilities - Understanding WiFi Solution Budgets and Expectations
Updated: Nov 7, 2019
As the growth of connectivity expectations continues to evolve by leaps and bounds, users of portable devices continue to raise the bar for where they would like to ensure connectivity is present. And in many cases with the younger generations, these expectations come at a price to businesses and facility owners as "free wifi" is the growing desire of this user demographic. The upside of this trend is that this same user base is also extremely active in the social media arena, so if providing free wifi at such locations as campgrounds, trailer & RV parks, or marinas, you may benefit from some free marketing if your smart in encouraging sharing of your wifi capabilities at your site using these channels to reach potential new customers.
The more complex part of the "free WiFi" equation for the Ontario area campground, marina, or trailer & RV park is to understand more about the technical demands that are present with offering such a service. These range from the increasing use of wireless networks and dependancy to maintain connectivity regardless of one's location. While many of these such locations have dabbled into the ability to provide these services, they haven't always understood what demands would be present on the network. This applies primarily to understand capacity and the potential user device quotient and bandwidth that will affect network speeds and performance. It's one thing to advertise and promote that your facility provides free WiFi to it's patrons and visitors. It's another to provide by using off the shelf, non commercial hardware that will result in more complaints than endorsements at facilities of this nature where the number of users may be quite high. We highly caution against making any decisions as to what hardware will work in an outdoor environment without getting some professional guidance. Factors that will influence system performance need to be verified, hence we recommend having a proper wireless site survey completed.
With a proper wireless site survey, an accurate determination of potential needs can be addressed ensuring that capable equipment (we recommend Ruckus Wireless) is included in a design that will capture the needs for the number of users, devices used, and bandwidth requirements for your network. As an addendum to this, we will also be in a position to provide a accurate solution cost for your site. If you're not in a position to justify the site survey costs initially, we also can recommend to do a site requirements analysis. This process may be preferred as it's typically quite accurate (although budgetary costs will be subject to a site survey) and will enable budgeting for upcoming quarters or years to allocate funding accordingly. This is a process that we suggest completing 4-6 months ahead of a potential deployment, as it may eliminate the potential "sticker shock" of what an optimized, well performing, outdoor wireless network actually costs.
It's been our experience that one of two situations is common for the marina, campground, RV & trailer park location in the Ontario. Either a potential customer has not been educated as to potential network equipment requirements and has a non-commercial grade solution that isn't performing well, or they are in the investigative process of assessing the potential need for wifi and costs associated with it. Being it's becoming an expectation, our recommendation is to build some of the solution costs into the customer fees to use your facilities. While this may not seem feasible, we find that many potential users have suggested they don't mind paying a little bit more than they are for additional services inclusive of wireless connectivity. This is done by bumping service fees for slips, accommodation costs, or other areas where we can assist with determining your recovery on the WiFi investment.
As the fall season is hear and winter isn't far off, we encourage beginning the investigation now to be ready for spring if outdoor WiFi for your customers is important to your service offering next year. Simply contact us at 647-926-2673 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about your potential needs as well as be a step ahead of your competitors. As well as empowering your business to allocate the necessary funding for a project that if you don't do it now, you will at some point in time in the near future. We look forward to hearing from you if you are managing a marina, campground, RV and trailer resort, or other similar outdoor venue in the province of Ontario.
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