- Require Authentication. Properties with open access often experience neighboring users consuming their bandwidth. Requiring a username and password, access code, or PMS authentication will cut down the amount of users stealing bandwidth from your guests.
- Network Redundancy. This idea is growing in popularity as technology improves and costs come down. A network running on a single circuit it at the mercy of that provider. When an outage occurs, your site is down until the issue is resolved. With link load balancers, multiple circuits can be utilized at once. If there is an outage on one circuit, your users won't be affected. The key is having circuits with different providers.
- Updated Infrastructure. It is imperative to have a gateway that can handle the proper amount of usage for your property. Other key pieces to consider are switches and access points. Make the move to dual band 802.11n access points for higher throughput, improved reliability, and increased range. If you go with 802.11n access points you should also install gigabit switches.
- Bandwidth Rate Limiting. Put a bandwidth cap on all users. Limiting the amount of bandwidth for a single user will prevent one guest from consuming all of the bandwidth.
- Bandwidth Up-Sell. Offer a free plan for users which provides them basic bandwidth, an example would be 512K down and 256K up. Also provide users to purchase bandwidth upgrades to allow access to double and triple their bandwidth. Your site must have network redundancy and enough available bandwidth to make this work.
- Load Balancing. Provide an appliance at the front of the network that actively manages traffic to keep usage balanced over multiple circuits. Be sure the product offers active link load balancing. Be careful when selecting a link load balancer, as some products only allow a secondary circuit to be utilized when the primary circuit fails. If you are paying for multiple circuits, be sure you have the capability of using each of them to the highest extent.
- Bring the Home Experience to your site. Data obtained between 7/10/11-8/8/11 from netindex.com, states the average download speed in the United States is 11.35Mbps. Being able to offer that bandwidth to each user would be expensive, but far too many hotels have a single T1 (1.5Mbps) to share between all of their guests. While T1 circuits are very reliable they just don't offer enough bandwidth for the price. In most locations you can get a 20+ Mbps cable and a 10+ Mbps DSL circuit for less than half the price of a 1.5Mbps T1. Other solid alternatives to a T1 include Fiber and Metro Ethernet. If you need a T1 for your phone system needs, get a dynamic voice and data T1. This will give you your voice channels when they are needed and more bandwidth when they are not. Combining this with a link load balancer and cable circuit and you have just given yourself much more bandwidth, decreased your monthly bills, provided redundancy and INCREASED YOUR GUEST SCORES!!
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