Designing wifi systems for some tends to feel like one of those black arts where it takes a wizard to bless your system. Well, wizards aside, there are some good hard and fast rules of thumb and guidelines to make your system perform well for your guests.
We at Kharma have put together a short list of guidelines and must have features you will want for your bed & breakfast wifi system.
1. Good Signal Coverage – Obviously you will want to good, consistent coverage throughout your Inn. As a rule of thumb, plan on having one wireless access point for every 500 to 1000 square feet of space you want to cover. If you have a floor plan, we can simulate your coverage and where they should be placed. Remember you want the least amount of obstructions between the access point and your guest. In the case of using a repeater, only have a maximum of two walls between the repeater and the base station it connect to.
Also, don’t put wireless access points at the very end of a hall. Access points broadcast the signal in all directions and if it is at the end of the hall, half the signal is going outside.
2. Buy Good Commercial Equipment. When buying new equipment, don’t buy yesterdays standard. Look for access points with Wifi 6 capability (as of today). I know Wifi 6e is out, but we always stay one behind and let the manufacturers work out the bugs with somebody else’s customers.
Also purchase equipment made for commercial use no residential. you don’t have to buy $800 access points, but make sure to buy ones made for commercial use such as Ubiquiti Unifi that we like.
3. Make sure to protect your local network from your guests. If they are using the same signal as you do, they will have access to you back office equipment. We recommend a private signal for the Inn and a separate signal that is fire-walled to keep guests out of your office and away from each other.
Our networks not only block the guests from your back office, it also blocks the guests from each other.
4. Make a policy to check for software and security upgrades for the equipment at regular intervals. Manufacturers regularly put out these updates to fix performance issues as well as security issues. These updates can not only enhance the security of your network, but often contain bug fixes and performance improvements.
Most security breaches are from a known software issue that was never updated!
5. Make it easy for them to connect. Although most hotels are required to have a splash page, we recommend ditching that and then use a QR code that the guest can scan to automatically connect them to the guest network.
If all this has your head spinning, use a service provider like us here at Kharma. Once the system is up and running, we take care of all the issues including answering your guests phone call 24/7. Kharma has hundreds of active hotels and Inns under contract with happy guests!