updated 04:50 pm EDT, Tue October 25, 2011
Problems could bring tiered bandwidth options
Hotel guests who have encountered problems with Wi-Fi service may want to place blame on the iPad, according to hospitality technology provider iBAHN. The company suggests Apple's tablet has brought a significant jump in average bandwidth usage per guest, overwhelming hotel Wi-Fi networks that provided sufficient bandwidth just two years ago.
“The iPad is the fastest-selling device in consumer electronics history, and because of it the demand placed on any public place Wi-Fi system has gone up exponentially in the last year and a half,” said iBAHN CEO David Garrison, as quoted by The New York Times.
The executive claims bandwidth usage for video streaming and downloading "increased thirtyfold" on the company's network in the span of just one year. He points to a survey that suggests nearly two-thirds of business travelers would "not return to a hotel where they had a poor technology experience."
Garrison argues that hotels will need to implement tiered options for Wi-Fi service, charging guests different amounts based on their individual bandwidth needs. The approach is claimed to provide extra revenue for hotels to establish faster connections, while also leaving the possibility of a free tier that is only fast enough for simple browsing or checking e-mail.
Some hotels already offer tiered Wi-Fi service, however the iBAHN study found such options to be limited to less than 15 percent of hotels in the US.