Businesses today have more choices in implementing networks and WiFi than ever before. In fact, unlike years past, an operation doesn't even necessarily have to do any administration of its own network. Outsourced providers can theoretically manage all aspects of your hotel wireless network.
For a busy hotel or other hospitality operation, this makes an attractive proposition. After all, your job is running a hotel and keeping your guests pampered – why should an employee have to waste their time messing with the network when someone else can handle it?
That said, there are of course trade offs to be made, and this may not be the best networking path for every hotel. Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons.
1 – Fewer Employees
The biggest and most obvious benefit of outsourcing your WiFi ops is that it means you don't have to have any technical staff on-site. Both your own tech needs, and those of your guests, could be handled entirely by the outside provider. These services cost far less than even one full-time networking administrator.
2 – True Expertise
The companies providing outsourced WiFi management have years, and sometimes decades, of experience in networking. They're going to have more relevant experience than anyone who's likely to walk in your door looking for a job. This will ultimately translate to a more reliable and resilient network.
3 – Contracted Upgrades
While not universal, in many cases a partnership with an outsourced WiFi management service will bring automatic software and hardware upgrades. In a leasing arrangement, it can simply become standard for your WiFi manager to install new hardware as needed, with a minimum of interruption or extra costs.
4 – Simplified Billing
When you turn over your network ops to an outside provider, it takes a variable ongoing cost and turns it into a rock-solid, predictable, recurring monthly service fee. This can greatly simplify your yearly budgeting, as well as reducing or eliminating the budgetary ups-and-downs of hardware upgrades.
1 – Loss Of Control
Outsourced providers mean that if anything unexpected happens, you're getting on the phone and hoping your provider can sort it out. You won't have the ability to do local management for any but the most simple operations, so you're still trusting the provider will actually be there at 3AM when you need them.
2 – Price Creep
Many WiFi service vendors tend to follow the cell phone model of having low introductory rates that go up, sometimes steeply, after a year or two. Obviously, not all providers do this, but it's vitally important to read the contract carefully and consider what the prices will look like after a couple years. A good deal today could turn into a money sink surprising quickly.
3 – Locked-In Services
Most (but not all) WiFi providers are tied heavily to one brand, and if it ceases to meet your needs later on, switching providers could become a very costly proposition. We suggest partnering with groups who use a range of hardware, so you'll always have more options in upgrades.
There's another option worth considering, and that's a WiFi setup which is so simple that you just don't need outside management. That's why we often recommend the ADTRAN BlueSocket line to hotels, schools, and other high-capacity operations who need reliable WiFi with a minimum of administration.
BlueSocket systems effectively manage themselves, and auto-configure their own hardware to maximize usage of it. Administration is handled through a dead-simple Windows GUI which allows anyone with minimal computer skills to oversee the network. In most cases, the onboard software handles everything itself.
Or, if you'd like a personalized evaluation of your operations and recommendations on the best upgrades to suit your business needs today and in future years, just contact Hummingbird Networks for a free WiFi evaluation!