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OPLIN 4Cast #255: WiFi woes

Posted in 4cast

If you’ve stayed at a hotel recently – say for the Ohio Library Council Convention – you may have experienced wireless Internet service that was…well, less than outstanding. In fact, chances are good that you have experienced poor WiFi service because many hotels are struggling these days to keep up with demand. There’s not that much difference between hotel WiFi and library WiFi; are your library patrons getting good wireless Internet service, or is it time to make some improvements?

  • IPads change economics, and speed, of hotel Wi-Fi (New York Times/Joe Sharkey)  “Studies conducted for iBAHN indicate that while free Internet service remains a big factor in choosing a hotel, nearly two-thirds of business travelers say they have encountered slow Internet downloading in the last 12 months. Over two-thirds said they would ‘not return to a hotel where they had a poor technology experience,’ iBAHN said.”
  • Don’t blame the iPad for poor hotel Wi-Fi service (T-GAAP/Karl Johnson)  “One thing is for certain, this is not about the iPad, it’s about internet usage. Blaming a product that efficiently uses services hotels claim they do very well at providing is just silly. Internet use will accelerate with or without the iPad. In fact, it is easier to get on the Internet with the iPad than a laptop because of the iPad’s 3G connection. iPads with 3G may in fact be helping the hotel situation rather than hurting it.”
  • Wi-Fi to overtake wired network traffic by 2015 (GigaOM/Janko Roettgers)  “The iPad and its newer Android competitors have introduced a new class of mobile devices that make cellular connectivity optional. Studies have shown that iPad users mostly access the device within reach of their home’s Wi-Fi hotspot, and a recent poll by GigaOM’s Mobilize showed that three out of four consumers prefer a WiFi-only tablet.”
  • Why or why not WiFi? (Lodging/Kevin DiLallo, Marc Lindsey, and David Rohde)  “For example, WiFi offload increases usage of a hotel’s existing WiFi infrastructure, which in turn may increase WiFi support costs (e.g., more calls to the support desk) and impair the performance and availability of the Internet access for the hotel’s paying guests unless additional bandwidth, switches, and access points are added to handle the increased load.”

Library WiFi fact:
At last count, 654 (over 90%) of the public library buildings in Ohio offer free wireless Internet to library visitors.