Veterans of the hospitality industry have witnessed a noticeable shift in the types of feedback received from their guests. Younger travelers come with high-tech expectations like USB charging ports, extra outlets for multiple devices, and, of course, fast and reliable wireless internet. Just a quick scan through review sites illuminates how prominent both complaints and praise are in regards to a hotel’s Wi-Fi. In fact, independent surveys by Forbes, TravelPulse, and eHotelier all point to Internet issues as one of the most common guest complaints. In many cases, arriving guests ask for the Wi-Fi password at check-in and attempt to connect in the lobby, meaning a hotel’s wireless network quality may be the first real impression a guest forms about their stay.
Ruckus Wireless understands that hotels come with a host of unique issues that make planning an effective wireless strategy a challenge. Hotels are large, often with multiple wings and floors, making for a lot of ground to cover. Each room comes with four walls, a ceiling, thick doors, and plenty of other barriers constructed of building materials that block or weaken signal strength. On an average night, a hotel’s wireless network needs to serve up high-performance connections to hundreds of guests. And all this doesn’t even take into consideration additional outdoor facilities such as pools, parking lots, terraces, and shuttle areas where guests arriving or departing the hotel still expect to connect.
Below, we’ll explore some of the most hospitality-friendly solutions Ruckus Wireless offers for hotels looking to boost Wi-Fi guest ratings.
Ruckus Wall Plate Access Points
Many hotels choose to deploy wireless access points throughout their hallways in standard ceiling mounts. While this may seem practical (allowing a single access point to make the most of its effective range by reaching a cluster of surrounding rooms), this also means putting the most obstructions between guests and APs. Certain areas of a room may receive weaker signal strength than others. Some parts of the room may receive no signal at all. By putting walls in the way and making in-room guests surf the fringes of an AP’s range, hotels with ceiling-mounted access points are choosing a utilitarian but flawed solution.
Wall plate access points like the Ruckus ZoneFlex C110, Ruckus Unleashed R510, or Fortinet’s FortiAP-C24JE are designed to use existing wall data cables to provide low-profile in-room signal sources. This means guests receive the most direct Wi-Fi signal possible at a distance that makes the most of the appliance’s range.
Beam Flex Technology
Most APs are either “omnidirectional,” radiating signal in all directions like light bulbs, or “directional,” sending signals on a single vector like a flashlight. Both omnidirectional and directional APs ask clients to find exactly where to stand for the best results. Many modern vendors now make use of “beamforming” to establish targeted connections. Beamforming is a process that allows an AP to focus a WiFi signal to a specific target. Most vendors make use of beamforming by manipulating the signal processing built into their access points’ chip, also known as “transmit beamforming” or TxBF. However, a majority of devices do not support the TxBF protocol. TxBF transmitters also cannot make use of other techniques like spatial multiplexing when beamforming.
Ruckus Wireless takes signal forming to the next level with their patented BeamFlex Adaptive Antenna technology. BeamFlex uses smart, compact antenna systems containing multiple elements that manipulate antenna properties, forming personalized antenna patterns for the individual devices with which they communicate. This means Ruckus Wireless access points establish the strongest connections possible, automatically.
To stick with the lamp metaphor, where omnidirectional APs are lightbulbs and directional APs are flashlights, you can think of a Ruckus BeamFlex access point like a plasma ball. The AP will find you and reach out to initiate an optimal connection.
Wireless Heat Mapping
Custom Wi-Fi heat maps allow you to pre-plan the layout of access point deployments to find and fix wireless dead zones before installation. Ruckus’s ZonePlanner Wi-Fi RF Simulation tool lets you place and compare access points on a real, customized map of your facilities. It also takes into account variables like building materials, wall thickness, and other environmental factors. You can swap different access point models in and out to find which hardware makes the most sense for you.
Properly size new deployments for any location and predict network performance before you buy by previewing your network by channel or SSID. You can even seek out and minimize signal bleed to keep guest Wi-Fi out of sensitive areas.
Pre-planning your wireless network saves you money by preventing overspending on unnecessary access points. Firewalls.com will save you even more by mapping out your office using Ruckus ZonePlanner at no additional cost when you purchase a Ruckus access point. You send us a map of your building with as much detail as possible and we’ll send back a detailed wireless heat map showing how a variety of different Ruckus access points would fit your needs. Call us at 866-957-2975 to request a free wireless heat map report.