Category: Travel-related issues

Hyatt offers free Wi-Fi at all of its hotels

ArticleHyatt House - press photo courtesy of Hyatt

Wi-Fi officially free at Hyatt-branded hotels | Hotel Management

From the horse’s mouth

Hyatt

Press Release

Product Page

My Comments

Increasingly hotel users are demanding access to Wi-Fi Internet service but a lot of big-name American hotel chains favoured by business travellers weren’t providing this for free. This was typically provided by independent operators or some European, Australian or other hotel chains. If you did want Wi-Fi without paying extra, you had to “look further” such as booking directly with whoever you were staying with.

Hyatt House suite living room - press photo courtesy of Hyatt

Home away from home – Internet acces free at Hyatt

This same amenity may be provided by some hotels as part of a frequent-lodger program usually if you were at one of the “elite” tiers in that program. Or it may be integrated in to one or more business-focused “bed-and-breakfast” or “half-board” package deals or available to people who rent a club or concierge-level room. Increasingly hotels are offering free Wi-Fi “across the board” to guests who stay there but this has been limited to one device per room which doesn’t cater for the reality that most of us will maintain two or three devices such as a laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Hyatt have become the first of the big-name American hotel chains to offer free Wi-Fi service to an unlimited number of devices per room on an “across-the-board” basis. This is available in the Hyatt and Andaz brands along with the various Hyatt-derivative brands like Park Hyatt and Grand Hyatt; and is to be available around the world from February 14 2015.

They are offering it independently of the booking path you use to book your room there or whether you participate in their Gold Passport frequent-lodger program. For those of you who are on this plan and are at either the Diamond or Platinum elite levels, Hyatt are replacing the free Internet access that was the “elite advantage” with access to the premium-grade Internet service. Regular users will still be able to purchase that same premium-grade Internet service which will most likely offer a higher bandwidth.

Guests can use this Wi-Fi internet service “upstairs” and “downstairs” i.e. their rooms or the social spaces like the lounges, bars and lobbies. This has been driven by guest demand for Internet service not to be treated as a luxury but to be like what the are used to at home or work.

Personally, I would like to see the premium Wi-Fi service more in the form of something that can play nicely with devices of the Chromecast  Apple TV, and Sonos ilk. where there is the feasibility to operate them in your room as if you are running the equivalent of a home network with a room-specific ESSID. This could play in with the basic-tier offering public-access Wi-Fi “around the place” using a facility-wide ESSID and, preferably, Wi-Fi Passpoint authentication. The premium Wi-Fi service could be offered as “standard faire” for long-term stays or to those of us who rent certain suites.

At least Hyatt is breaking the mould associated with American hotel chains where they nickel-and-dime their guests for essential public Internet access or place onerous limitations on this service for most of us who carry along two or three gadgets. It could be a chance for the rest of them to answer Hyatt by offering similar-standard baseline Internet access.

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More action to link guests’ own content to the hotel-room TV

Article

Guestroom TVs invite new content streaming options for guests | HotelManagement.net

My Comments

In-room AV connection panel

In-room AV connection panel at Rydges Hotel Melbourne – HDMI connection

The hotel industry is having to face a strong reality with guests “bringing their own content” on their own devices when they use their room as a “home away from home”. This is not just due to content stored on a smartphone, tablet or laptop but access to audio-on-demand and video-on-demand streaming services like Spotify or Netflix.

Some further action is taking place to bridge the guests’ own content to the hotel-room TV. Initially this was achieved through us connecting our smartphones, tablets or laptop computers to these TVs via an AV connection panel or box or, in some cases, directly to the TV. This has been because these connections have been seen as more “surefire” and likely to work.

But another firm have implemented a smartphone dock that links the TV to the mobile device and its content collection.through the use of a Bluetooth signal, but may be implementing MHL as its device connection for the phone. There is an increased likelihood that this would work with the “open-frame” mobile devices that operate on Android or Windows Phone 8. As well, they are trying to push the smart TV concept beyond the home TV towards the hotel room which I would see as a logical extension for this class of product.

Personally, I would like to see the hotel industry court technologies that are based on established wireless-link standards like Bluetooth A2DP for audio content or Miracast / Wi-Fi Direct for audio-video content. Even ideas like using AirPlay and DLNA with a room-specific Wi-Fi local network could be implemented in a similar vein to what has worked for a lot of the wireless speakers.

I would like to see companies involved in hotel guestroom AV technology look at what is going on at the Consumer Electronics Show or Internationaler Funkaustellung to see the trends that are affecting consumer audio-visual technology so they know how they can make the hotel room or serviced apartment that “home away from home”.

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Product Review–ZCan Plus scanner mouse

Introduction

I have been given a chance to review an advance sample of the ZCan+ scanner mouse. This is a USB-connected mouse that works also as a convenience scanner using an integrated digital camera and supplied software.

There is a variant of the ZCan mouse that is coming soon and will implement Wi-Fi Direct connectivity and software for smartphones and tablets that run the mobile operating environments.

ZCan+ USB scanner mouse

The ZCan+ Mouse itself

The Zcan+ Mouse works properly as a USB-connected plug-and-play three-button scroll mouse using the standard operating-system drivers and configuration options.

Where the scanning takes place in the ZCan+ scanner mouse

Where the scanning takes place in the ZCan+ scanner mouse

But as a scanner, this works in a manner that is totally different to early-generation handheld scanners which worked on a “line-by-line” basis. You have to install a special program on your Windows or Macintosh computer from a supplied DVD or download the program from the manufacturer’s Website listed in the instruction manual if your computer doesn’t have an optical drive. This software is important because when you scan with this mouse, it “stitches” the images taken with the mouse’s camera together in a similar vein to the software you may use to create “panorama” photos with your digital camera.

You have to connect the ZCan+ mouse directly to your computer’s USB ports rather than via a bus-powered USB hub or a keyboard that has USB sockets especially if you want to use the scanner functionality. This is because the scanner functionality demands more power than if the device is just working as a mouse.

ZCan application screenshot - scanning

Screen-grab during my scanning of a business card

To start scanning, you press the illuminated blue button on the mouse and drag it over the item you want to scan in a zig-zag motion. When you press that illuminated blue button, the software will start and show the object on the screen. It will also highlight areas you need to re-scan if you missed parts of them. Once you stop scanning, you have the ability to crop the area you scanned and it makes it easier to identify the area to crop. The resultant images are shown as high-resolution images which would please anyone who is doing desktop publishing, wants to print the images or work with them on high-resolution displays.

You can save what you scanned as a JPEG, PNG or PDF image file or use the software to “read the text” to save as a Word document, text document or Excel spreadsheet.

ZCan application with scanned business card

ZCan application with scanned business card

It works well with scanning small areas like newspaper articles, snapshot photos, till receipts and the like and can even scan actual object surfaces very well. But I wouldn’t ask it to work a complete A4 or Letter page because you can find you end up with a messy scanning result as I have tried for myself after scanning a magazine page.

The OCR function only works with images you have created with the ZCan+ scanner and works properly when you have the document held still such as having it in the “scanner mat”. As well, the software has the ability to use Google Translate to allow you to translate printed text to another language. The software also supports direct “in-place” sharing to Facebook, Dropbox, Evernote and Flickr along with the ability to “read” QR codes. This function is so useful if you use a regular desktop or laptop computer and want to “delve in to” that link in a newspaper or magazine that is represented as a QR code using that computer.

Where do I see this scanner mouse fit in?

I see the scanner mouse work as a “convenience” scanner for whenever you are targeting small items. For example, I would use it for scanning business cards so I can get the contact details in to Outlook, scan till receipts as PDF files for expense-claim purposes, scan snapshots to JPEG image files to send to someone or share using Dropbox or Facebook, or transcribe newspaper and magazine articles. People who dabble with various hobbies or crafts may find the ZCan+ useful for scanning a pattern from clothing, soft-furnishings or similar items that they like to save as a JPEG image for “taking further” in the digital space.

It wouldn’t really replace the regular A4 desktop scanner or the multifunction printer’s scanning function for scanning most business documents or newspaper articles that cover an A4 or similar-sized sheet.

Point of improvement

The  ZCan+ scanner mouse could implement a setup method that I have seen with some USB 3G modems or with some HP printers that I have reviewed in order to make it easier to install on computers that neither have an optical drive nor access to an Internet connection. This is where the device contains the necessary software on memory integrated in the device and exposed to the computer as if it is a USB memory stick.

Similarly, it could use a TWAIN or WIA scanning application interface so it can work as a scanner for third-party applications like a lot of graphics and image-management packages.

Conclusion – Is the ZCan+ a tool or a toy?

I would call the ZCan+ scanner mouse a tool for supplementary or convenience scanning needs when handling small documents.

This device will strongly appeal to the traveller with a Windows or Macintosh-based laptop or tablet who is scanning business cards, receipts, images, etc; business or home computing applications where you want to quickly scan small objects and documents but find the regular scanner in “all-in-one” unwieldy or unsuitable for the job, and people who are involved with genealogy and want to scan family snapshot photos or small documents for archival purposes.

The “two-in-one” ability of a convenience scanner and a mouse would strongly appeal to laptop users who like the regular mouse over the touch-pad as their pointing device, along with the highlighted convenience scanning feature.

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Hotels are now being rated for Wi-Fi service according to a new league table

Articles

Ranking Hotels by Whether the Wi-Fi Actually Works | Mashable

Hotel WiFi Test Ranks Hotels By Wi-Fi Speed And Quality | Lifehacker

HotelWiFiTest Site Begins Predicting WiFi Speeds At Most Major Hotels | ISPReview.co.uk

Web Site

Hotel WiFi Test

My Comments

Rydges Melbourne Delux Queen hotel room

Now it is easier to know how the hotel Wi-Fi network performs

I had touched on the issue of the Wi-Fi public-access Internet service that is offered by hotels and similar accommodation businesses. This covered the issue of how you can be sure of complementary Internet access when you book by doing some extra research as well as the issue of these networks having to satisfy the expectations of the connected traveler who streams or downloads multimedia content.

Now a Website is running a “league table” of how well different the Wi-Fi setups at the different hotels work. This shows whether the service is a paid-access one as well as performance based on maximum, expected and minimum throughputs. The maximum speed would be achievable at night or, more likely, when the property isn’t being occupied fully. The expected speed is based on what you would achieve at a random time of the day while the minimum is based on the lowest speed the hotel’s Wi-Fi has achieved.

The data is based on crowdsourced measurements with algorithms to verify that you are measuring the hotel’s Wi-Fi network and are staying there. As well, a good practice is to take the multiple measurements over a long time to factor in equipment upgrades, capital works or different occupancy levels.

This can be of benefit to both the guests and the hoteliers including the big chains. Potential guests can use Wi-Fi as a decider for whether they book a room at a particular place or not, or know whether the Wi-Fi network at where they are staying is really “cutting it or not” for their tasks. The hotelier can also use this data to justify the value of improving their Wi-Fi guest-access network or is able to know if that network is working below market expectation. This could subsequently attract more custom with a network that hits the mark.

There is even the ability to assess aggregate data for a particular city or country and they even use the press releases to show whether different hotel chains are performing against each other.

At least this is a way for the accommodation industry to be encouraged to cater to the connected traveler who is likely to “bring their own content” from Websites or make heavy use of cloud-based storage and computing services.

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The French campground and caravan park scene is now switched on in new ways

Article (French language / Langue Française)

La fibre optique et la domotique débarquent dans les campings | DegroupNews

My Comments

Travelling is now becoming more of a connected affair with Internet connectivity being considered a valuable amenity wherever you stay. Even the humble campground or caravan park now offers a level of Wi-Fi-based Internet connectivity as a value-added service.

But the French have taken this further with the use of fibre-optic broadband to assure the people who lodge at these facilities have proper high-speed Internet access everywhere. They are typically in a position to do this because that country is fast becoming the poster child for a highly-competitive highly-affordable Internet service. This is in contrast to the typical cost-effective setup with one or a few Wi-Fi access points to cover the campground with Wi-Fi wireless Internet.

Yelloh Village have worked with Covage to achieve this goal and also provide an IPTV service with access to international TV channels.They have also implemented the “smart-home” concept in the bungalows or cabins that are becoming part of what the typical campground or caravan park offers. For example, when a guest leaves their bungalow, the electrical installation and hot water heater shuts down like as expected in a lot of newer hotels.

Some people may think that the idea of using a campground or caravan park for their holidaying needs is a chance to seek a humble cheap holiday but as more of these places equip themselves in a manner similar to a resort, it may become that camping in the wilderness may be the way to have that humble holiday.

Similarly, the goal to see proper rural Internet service can play in to a campground owner’s hands as a way of seeking to provide high-calibre public-access Internet to holidaymakers who are wanting to camp the “connected way”.

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Solwise offers a two-part Wi-Fi repeater for caravans and similar applications

Article

Great gadgets: Solwise antenna and wifi hotspot | John Norman’s Blog

From the horse’s mouth

Solwise

Wireless 11n USB CPE with built-in 12dBi antenna GBP£41.08

Solwise Wireless USB repeater GBP£47.75

System total GBP£88.83 VAT and delivery to UK included

My Comments

There are those of you who use a caravan, motorhome or other similar recreational vehicle as the mobile holiday home and are likely to spend time at caravan parks or campgrounds rather than set up somewhere like at the beachfront or the bush. Increasingly these places are offering a public-access Internet service with Wi-Fi either as part of the package or for an extra charge, in order to make themselves relevant to the “switched-on” traveller.

But the problem with gaining access to these Wi-Fi services from your caravan is that your site may not be in a position where you can gain reliable reception of that service. Similarly, the vehicle’s metalwork will also play a part in attenuating the Wi-Fi signal that gets in to the van.

You may think that the typical Wi-Fi range extender may cure this problem but most of these devices have integrated antennas which may not be all that “crash-hot” when it comes to picking up the Wi-Fi network’s signal properly. But the clever people at Solwise have partnered a pair of devices that can bring the Wi-Fi network in to the caravan wherever you are.

The first device is a USB Wi-Fi network adaptor with a 12dBi panel aerial. This single-stream 802.11g/n device can be mounted outside the vehicle or building and connected to a regular computer via its USB socket using a 3 metre USB cable. The second device is a dual-WAN 802.11g/n wireless router with a choice of Ethernet or USB serving a wireless-broadband modem for its WAN / Internet service. But it also is able to work with the abovementioned USB Wi-Fi network adaptor effectively as a router.

On the LAN side of this router, you have a separate Ethernet connection along with the Wi-Fi network offered by the device. This earns its keep not just with smartphones and tablets but also with devices like network-attached-storage units, printers or DLNA-capable media devices because this means that you are not dealing with having to log on to the venue’s public-access Wi-Fi network to run these devices or share their resources through that network.

Being a two-part setup, you you can locate the network adaptor outside the vehicle and plug this in to the router’s USB port to effectively “bring in” the Wi-Fi service. It is also designed to support the “quick set-up quick tear-down” requirements that these kind of travellers would need and there are accessories available through Solwise to provide a semi-permanent mount for the USB network adaptor.

According to the screen shots in the manual, there is apparently a “bridge” mode to allow the router to be an extension access point that plugs in to your Ethernet or HomePlug AV(2) wired backbone. This could come in handy at home for extending that wireless network but I am not sure how this is implemented fully, something which could be written up on further.

It sounds like Solwise are fielding another device which would have some utility value when it comes to having that small network how you like it.

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The AV connection panels in hotel rooms–a very useful amenity for the connected user

In-room AV connection panel

In-room AV connection panel at Rydges Hotel Melbourne

A feature that is starting to appear in an increasing number of hotel rooms is the AV connection panel. Sometimes known as a “jack pack”, ”media panel”,  “aux panel” or something similar, these are wall-mounted connection panels or connection boxes located near the TV which provide a simplified way to allow you to connect your portable computing equipment to the TV and make use of it as a display and amplified speakers.

Here, these panels are a way to provide a “walk-up” method for guests to connect their technology to the TVs while the TVs remain anchored in place on the wall or in the cabinet. It also avoids the need for guests to grope around the back of the set to find the appropriate connections and risk unplugging existing equipment or plugging something in the wrong hole, which can cause an unnecessary maintenance request. This is in response to guests “bringing their own content” with them and wanting to view it from their gadgets on the large-screen TV in the room rather than watching regular TV or pay-per-view movies.

I have used one of these when staying overnight at Rydges Melbourne to connect my Galaxy Note II smartphone to the TV’s speakers to play music that is held on the smartphone. Here, this is a wall-mount panel that is equipped with RCA and S-Video sockets for stereo audio and analogue video, a VGA input and a 3.5mm audio input for computers alongside an HDMI input for most of the recent crop of laptops and other video equipment. There is also a USB “plug ’n’ charge” socket where you can connect your smartphone or other gadget to charge it. As I had previously mentioned, you can use the 3.5mm audio-in jack to connect your smartphone or other personal-audio device to amplify it through the TV’s speakers.

This particular setup has you selecting the different inputs as though they are “virtual channels” where you enter a particular channel number to select that input, similar to how some TVs and video recorders had you select a particular channel number to use the video inputs. Here, these “virtual channels” are listed on a reference card that is usually kept on the desk near the media panel.

If you are playing an audio device, you will find that the TV will show the blue screen and a reference to that channel as a way of showing that the selected input is working.

Who would benefit from these setups?

Laptop / notebook computer users

HP Envy 4 Touchsmart Ultrabook at Intercontinental Melbourne On Rialto

An Ultrabook that can easily benefit from these AV connection panels

Connecting your laptop or notebook computer to the TV via the media panel’s HDMI input or, for older laptops, the VGA input for display and 3.5mm audio input for the sound, can open up increased functionality for these computers.

If you use the Internet service provided by the hotel, you can take this further by playing online media services like “catch-up TV” / video-on-demand services through the big screen. You also have the same benefit when you play video files that exist on your computer’s hard disk or use an integrated or USB-connected optical drive to play DVDs and Blu-Ray discs.

Those of you who like to play games on the laptop as a form of relaxation can benefit from the hotel room’s TV serving as a large screen for that game. It would be something that could impress business associates who do like to see these games as a way to rest between delivering those presentations.

Speaking of which, the large screen can come in handy for reviewing that presentation you have to give so you can be sure the graphics are in the right place and that each slide doesn’t look too overcrowded or dull. You are also at a better position for seeing the presentation from how your audience would see it. It is also a good chance to “dry-run” that multimedia presentation that you are running on your laptop so you are sure it is going to go to plan without things going wrong.

Similarly, the large screen will earn its keep with videoconferencing applications like Skype and Lync. Here, you can see your correspondent’s face on the large screen and hear your correspondent’s voice through the better-sounding speakers which may make their voice easier to understand.

Tablet and smartphone users

Toshiba AT300 10" Android tablet computer

Toshiba AT300 10″ Android tablet computer – can benefit from the large screen when you are watching online video

If your tablet or smartphone has an HDMI or composite video output, you can benefit from the TV being a large screen for these devices when it comes to gaming or playing online or stored video content. Here these devices will most likely use an MHL jack which works with these panels if you use an MHL-HDMI active patch cable. Older smartphones may also use the 3.5mm headset connector as a video / audio output and you would need to use a 3.5mm – 3xRCA breakout cable to play composite video from these smartphones.

As well the TV can simply serve as amplified speakers for these devices simply by you connecting the 3.5mm audio-input jack on the panel to your smartphone’s or tablet’s headphone jack using one of those 3.5mm plug-3.5mm plug cables..

Digital still and video cameras

You can preview your still images or footage you have taken on that large screen if your camera or camcorder has an HDMI or composite video output. Most of the recent digital cameras will implement a “mini HDMI” connector and/or composite video output via a 3.5mm multi-conductor jack due to their low-profile design.

The benefit you have with this is that it makes it easier to have “many eyes” looking for imperfections in the images and footage you have taken or have the benefit of a large screen to review those images or footage more easily. Even the speakers built in to these TV sets would do rings around the cameras’ integrated monitor speakers

Other personal audio and video players

Those of you who use portable DVD players or portable media players can have these devices play through that large screen in your room as an alternative to what is available on the pay-per-view movie service.

Similarly, your iPod Classic, MP3 payer, Discman or other legacy-media personal player (think cassette or MiniDisc) can benefit from being able to be played through the TV’s speakers with a louder sound. If you are using a handheld “note-taker” recorder, whether tape-based or digital, the TV speakers may allow you to hear the recording of that meeting that you made more clearly compared to the small integrated speakers that these recorders have. This could allow you to hear the muffled or soft voices, the voices with hard-to-understand accents or the distinctly-important background sounds more clearly.

Tips to get the most out of these connection panels

  • Keeping a supply of cables handy
    A good practice to gain advantage from these media panels is to keep a supply of cables with you when you travel. These should allow you to connect your gadgets either to 3.5mm stereo jacks or RCA jacks for audio or HDMI, S—Video or RCA composite video for video applications. A good starting point when it comes to smartphones is my article on “essential smartphone accessories” where I mentioned about making sure you are equipped with a 3.5mm-2.5mm stereo patch cord along with a 3.5mm – 2xRCA patch cord for your smartphone’s audio needs.
  • What sound playback device is this
    The HDMI input's audio function serves as its own soundcard

    The HDMI input’s audio function serves as its own soundcard

    Laptop users who use the HDMI connections on these media panels will find that the HDMI audio connection is enumerated as a separate sound device. Here, they may have to use the Sound Devices option in their operating system or application to direct the sound through the TV’s speakers with this connection.

  • Avoiding distorted sound through the TV speakers
    To avoid distorted sound from these setups especially if using the RCA or 3.5mm connections, adjust the sound volume at your device to 75%-90% volume level and turn off any equalisation or sound-processing on the device if the device or software has this kind of adjustment. Here, you could get by with turning your device up to maximum volume and backing the device’s volume adjustment off slightly to set the input volume. Then you adjust the sound volume to your taste or programme content using the TV’s remote control. Some mobile devices implement a “Line-out” mode which bypasses all tone controls and sets the device’s output level to a nominal level so it works with external amplification.
  • Setting up effective wireless operation
    Pure Jongo A2 network media adaptor

    A Bluetooth audio adaptor can allow you to wirelessly play the music on your smartphone or tablet from your bed or armchair

    You can set up a level of wireless operation with these media panels using an A2DP-compliant Bluetooth audio adaptor for music from your Bluetooth-capable laptop, smartphone or tablet; or a Wi-Fi-Direct-based Miracast adaptor for audio and video with Miracast-compliant laptops and Android devices.

  • What are the channels to select for your equipment when you stay at that hotel?
    If you are a regular guest at a particular hotel, it is a good idea to make note of the “virtual channels” used for particular device connections in your travel notes. This is more so as you bring particular gadgets, especially newer gadgets, on to the scene when you travel.
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Internet away from home having to satisfy new expectations

Article

How Fast Is Your Hotel Internet Connection? || HotelChatter

My Comments

The bandwidth available in the Wi-Fi service provided at these hotels may have to meet new realities

The bandwidth available in the Wi-Fi service provided at these hotels may have to meet new realities

A reality that is starting to face travellers is a requirement for increased bandwidth while one is on the road. This is more so as we see the increased availability and cost-effectiveness of portable computing equipment that we don’t want to be without.

Here the hotel industry is having to adapt to this as more guests check in with at least two or three Wi-Fi capable gadgets per room and have these gadgets work with the Wi-Fi public-access network.

This HotelChatter article has raised the issue not just of the cost of the Internet service but also the kind of bandwidth that is provided. Typically, these places have a huge demand placed on their Internet connection by both the guests and the staff. This reality will become more intense as the quality for digital images and online video increases, along with the increased popularity of online video services.

Larger city business hotels may typically use what is expected for a big business’s head office with the high-bandwidth connections whereas smaller outer-urban and rural properties may use broadband of a grade similar to small-business or “enthusiast” residential setups. As well, Wi-Fi wireless setups may have access points shared by multiple rooms, thus you might find that the quality-of-service may not be there at times such as whenever someone is downloading or uploading a large quantity of data such as some video content. In some cases a multiple-SSID access point ends up “divvying up” bandwidth between devices on the “public-guest” SSID associated with the Wi-Fi service, a similar “event” SSID for a Wi-Fi service associated with people renting out conference facilities along with the staff / business SSIDs relating to the hotel’s line-of-business Wi-Fi segment.

According to an infographic that was in the article I am referencing. they reckoned that 1 Mbps would work well for email, Web surfing or audio content (Internet radio, Spotify and the like) with reasonable quality of service. Then they reckoned that 2-5Mbps would work well for Skype, Facetime and similar videocalls; along with video content with reasonable quality of service. More than this could see quick VPN activity, quick Dropbox transfers and excellent multimedia quality-of-service for Skype or streaming audio and video.

Of course, there are situations where the bandwidth available across a hotel can be “maxed out” at peak occupancy and usage times such as 8pm to 9pm most nights as I learnt from someone who lived in a rural area but effectively “lived out of” one of the larger downtown hotels when he was in town. Here, this is when most of the younger guests would be concurrently streaming video content from various video-on-demand services which they subscribe to or uploading a quantity of photos to one or more online services like Facebook, Instagram, Google+ or Dropbox.

The article was asking guests and staff in these places to speed-test the public Internet connection available to the guests and assess the bandwidth that these services provided. They were reckoning that apps like the SpeedTest app for Android and iOS would work as a benchmark tool for this situation.

Here, I would look at a bandwidth goal of preferably 2-5Mbps per room plus a similar capacity or more for public areas like the bar and lounge areas. Similarly, I would pay attention to any login environments that simplify the setup and login experience that clients have to encounter. Here, improvements like use of Wi-Fi PassPoint would benefit the user experience.

I also have raised the issue of the availability of Wi-Fi-based gadgets like wireless speakers, Chromecast modules and digital cameras that don’t work well with browser-based login routines that these public-access networks implement. Here, guests are likely to end up wanting to use these gadgets to the full potential while they travel the “switched-on” way and the industry will have to look at ways to support these “gadget clusters” especially in the guest’s own “domain” which is their room while keeping the data on these “clusters” private to that “cluster”. This also includes support for technologies like Wi-Fi Passpoint and other so-called “Hotspot 2.0” technologies that allow automated or “browser-free” login to these guest-access networks.

For that matter, when I review hotels, I would provide some commentary on the guest-access Internet service. This would encompass not just the cost of the service as well as the bandwidth and quality-of-service that the network provides as well as the login experience.

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