Airport & Hotel Wi-Fi Test: Part One

Date September 5, 2014 Author Comments Leave your thoughts

Mauritius WiFi

I’ve definitely got that Friday feeling; not only is it the weekend but on Sunday I shall be jetting-off to the paradisiacal island of Mauritius.

I know, I know – lucky me! But, aside from all the sun, sea and snorkelling, I have been thinking that my trip could make for a useful experiment…

Here at Ensign, we are always debating the latest trends in Wi-Fi and wireless technology; how they continue to make our lives easier and how businesses can utilise them to foster improved employee and customer relationships.

Thinking about the benefits of Wi-Fi in this way is no more prevalent than within the retail and hospitality industries, where customer/consumer/guest Wi-Fi has become something of a necessity in recent times.

Our work in both of these highly demanding and ever-evolving sectors has empirically shown this to be true and as we all become increasingly attached to mobile connectivity there are certainly still a great many advancements to be made.

Consumer & Guest Wi-Fi Test Opportunities

So how many times on a typical foreign holiday might we expect to encounter some form of either free or paid Wi-Fi?

Leaving aside the countless bars and restaurants one might (I will) enthusiastically frequent during a boozy, gourmandizing trip abroad, there are two scenarios – within the parameters of my trip at least – where free Wi-Fi provision might be particularly desirable.

Airport Wi-Fi

Airports are fun, right? Call me mad, but I love them! I still get that child-like feeling of dizzy excitement every time I am faced with the prospect of getting on an aeroplane, and that is manifested in the entire airport experience!…with the exception of long check-in queues, last minute gate changes and couples in matching shell-suites (hand-on-heart, I have witnessed this) of course.

These days, airports are much more than places to simply catch a flight. I am departing from Gatwick Airport, which offers enough shops, bars and restaurants to rival many of the country’s plentiful shopping malls.

For frequent flyers and business travellers, time spent loitering around in airport shops and lounges could become understandably tiresome. Free or paid Wi-Fi services can – and do – provide a welcomed distraction whilst helping to make good-use of what might otherwise be regarded as ‘dead time’.

The shops, too, can make Wi-Fi provision work for them; firing out offers and incentives to what is effectively a captive, and often very bored, audience.

According to the Gatwick Airport website, “[guests] can get 45 minutes free Wi-Fi at the airport – Simply open your browser and connect to Gatwick FREE Wi-Fi.”, after this, the Wi-Fi is managed by Boingo Wi-Fi and is priced according to your usage requirements.

Barring any major delays in getting from Bournemouth to Gatwick – please, God, no! – I’m sure I will have ample time to test its performance. Look out for my verdict in part two.

Hotel Wi-Fi

A quick browse of my hotel’s amenities and it’s all looking quite promising; ‘Free High Speed Internet’ is clearly stated – not only is it free, although I’d be a bit perturbed if it wasn’t, but they are not afraid to make bold performance claims to boot; let’s see how its copes when I download all five seasons of Breaking Bad!

A KDS survey, the most recent in a long line of similar studies, found that whether planning a holiday, business trip or short hotel stay, the availability of Wi-Fi was decisive in the selection process. However, the major stumbling block for hotels is not in the mere provision of wireless connectivity to guests but ultimately in its quality and performance – poor performing Wi-Fi has got to be more damaging than offering no Wi-Fi at all, right?

Now, I am not the kind of person who is lost without a Wi-Fi connection, especially when in holiday mode – iPhones and jet-skis don’t make a great combination after all! However, in the pursuit of research I shall do my best to put the hotel Wi-Fi through its paces and report back in part two.

Adieu, Adios, Arrivederci

Bye for now…

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Author Gregg Meade

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