A third of small and medium sized hospitality and leisure venues have struggled to introduce an effective wireless network due to poor network reliability and concerns about data breaches, according to a new study by global networking company NETGEAR, Inc.
This is particularly worrying since the study of 150 hospitality and leisure firms with between one and 250 staff also reveals that 70 per cent believe a wireless network has become essential to the running of their business.
Over half of those surveyed (58 per cent) believe allowing employees to move freely around the venue while staying connected to colleagues and customers improves productivity and 85 per cent believe it improves customer service. Significantly, 82 per cent say it is how they remain competitive, and 51 per cent say wireless networks help staff connect to the business via a range of employee and company-owned mobile devices.
However, realising these benefits has proved challenging for a third of respondents as they have found it hard to implement an effective and secure wireless service.
A third (35 per cent) had considered abandoning all plans after a bad experience with poor network quality and reliability, while 23 per cent feared a possible data security risk. One in five (20 per cent) were unsure about how to introduce wireless into their existing IT infrastructure.
‘With the need to stay competitive and address customer demand high on the list of priorities for small and medium sized hospitality and leisure venues, providing both staff and customers with the means to communicate, access and share information is of vital importance,’ said Jonathan Hallatt, regional director UK, Ireland & South Africa for NETGEAR. ‘A resilient wireless network is a key part of this, allowing staff to respond to guests and colleagues, and take bookings or orders in a timely, secure fashion. Failure to provide wireless connectivity for visitors may mean they will spend less money while they are with you, shorten their visit and never return.’
NETGEAR advises venues to opt for an easy-to-implement, cost effective solution that does not require advanced IT skills, can be installed quickly using existing infrastructure and that delivers consistent and secure wireless access across the workplace with WPA and WPA2 support. For example, venues can deploy wireless access points that provide fast and reliable downloads speeds, using a wireless controller to manage them all centrally and protect against intruders via advanced wireless rogue AP detection algorithms. This provides a single view of performance so the business can react quickly to any changes and better protect the network against malicious intrusions. Guest and corporate access can be segmented with multiple SSIDs and standard based VLAN configurations and software updates and configuration changes can be pushed across all access points at the same time, to simplify management and improve the user experience.
NETGEAR’s white paper entitled ‘The power of wireless in hospitality’ provides insight and practical advice for small to mid-sized venues and can be found here:http://www.netgear.co.uk/images/pdf/NETGEAR_Hospitality_Power_Whitepaper.pdf
Information on the solutions that are available can be found by visiting: www.netgear.co.uk/business/products/wireless.