WiFi is WiFi. Right? Wrong! In theory, although anyone can buy Access Points (APs), perform a DIY installation by spacing them out, powering them up – hey presto – you’ve got a WiFi network. But the problem is that without having the technical knowledge and experience of deploying WiFi networks in resorts, you will find that internet speeds and connectivity won’t be very good. Even if the network performs for low guest numbers, as soon as those numbers increase, the network begins to degrade below an acceptable standard. The result? Unhappy guests.
In fact, 45% of guests surveyed in the 2023 Holiday Park WiFi report were clear – a negative WiFi review can be a deal-breaker for potential bookings.
DIY WiFi solutions are rarely more than a plaster on a connectivity problem. No one understands this better than Wifinity engineers, who spend their lives on sites, and see this regularly.
Trusted by The UK’s Leading Holiday Park Operators: from Haven and Butlins to Parkdean Resorts, Wifinity has achieved 550,000 account registrations and over 1 million devices using Cambium Networks’ fixed wireless infrastructure with Parkdean Resorts. Wifinity designed, installed and operates a network that connects guest caravans in 66 of their holiday parks across the UK.
The Importance of Good Site Surveying
When it comes to connectivity solutions for holiday parks, site-specific surveying is always the first step in a successful internet infrastructure overhaul.
A full site survey, conducted in advance of laying the first cable, uncovers the unique characteristics of your park—be it physical obstructions like buildings, caravans (metal boxes, not great for WiFi!) or trees; or the specific WiFi requirements that your unique guests demand.
The survey involves using specialist equipment. Wifinity use Ekahau kit, following industry best practice, giving our engineers a comprehensive view of signal strength and speed in the form of a heat map, highlighting areas where coverage could be problematic and guest internet speed poor.
Getting The Network Architecture Design Right
Survey done, you’ll have a deep understanding of the potential dead zones on your holiday park, and the full lay of the land. This allows us to create a unique network design for each holiday park.
Access point (AP) location significantly impacts network performance.
But getting this right is more difficult than you might think. Adding more access points might not be the right answer, as it can lead to channel interference and radio frequency (RF) congestion, the overcrowding of radio frequencies by multiple Wi-Fi devices and networks. Signal strength levels, and the way signals are absorbed by or bounce off surfaces, all have an impact. It’s a bit like conducting an orchestra – too many violins, and you can’t hear the harp. And if the flutes all have the flu, the melody will be lost.
All this complexity can cause slower data speeds and unstable connections.
A less-considered aspect of network design considers what happens when a single access point fails or loses power as can happen for example during routine site maintenance. A well-designed network allows for a “graceful failover” – essentially, a good design enables surrounding APs to fill the gap while the problem is fixed, rather than having a zero-signal patch appear.
Holiday Park WiFi: Up and Running – and Staying that Way!
Great network design is one thing. But the installation, ongoing service and monitoring of your park’s connectivity are just as important.
Even with a great design, poor execution leads to poor service. Seamless network operation relies on meticulous installation, including phased testing and rigorous acceptance criteria, to harmonise multiple APs, distribution nodes, and switches.
At every stage the connectivity needs to be tested, and sometimes the design modified to makes sure the on-the-ground experience optimised. Once live, active monitoring and management ensure that the system remains up to date; keeps up with guest demands for additional functionality and speed; and ensures the network remains secure.
In our experience, over time parks innovate, build new facilities, or simply re-arrange their caravans around the site, which can seriously impact the WiFi experience around the site.
Wifinty’s Network Operations Centre pro-actively monitors our solution 24 /7, with automatic issue alerting and capacity management.
So, we’ll usually spot a problem before you or your guests do, typically resolving issues even before anyone on site is affected.
A Well-planned Wi-Fi Network – Not a Luxury, a Necessity
No two parks are the same, and for this reason, consistent Wi-Fi comes from a design that is tailor-made to suit the specific needs of each location. Poor Wi-Fi can be a deal-breaker. In fact, 44% of people surveyed, simply would not return to a holiday park with bad Wi-Fi. If they also post a poor WiFi review, the impact could be huge.
If growing your parks’ reputation, attracting more guests, and driving up reviews is important to you, don’t settle for a solution that doesn’t make the grade.
For a deeper dive into Wifinity’s tailored approach to WiFi, contact us for a consultation with an expert.