The importance of today’s communications

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In today’s world, we need to be connected. We need to be able to communicate. This holds true whether we’re at home, in the office, or on the road. There are those who will argue that being connected and available all the time is a bad thing, and that we as human beings need “real” time away from work and other responsibilities, in order to unwind. I’m not sure I completely agree with that, but in any case, there is a certain expectation these days that we’re always connected and always available. That’s all fine and dandy, but we also need to make sure that the infrastructure is in place to accommodate it.

As you know, my company provides 3rd party IT support services to clients. This week, one of those services is deploying a new WiFi network for a hotel in a city away from me (1 and a half hours by plane). This contract is extremely important to the hotel in question. Now this hotel is quite nice. The rooms are clean, nightly rates are very fair, free airport transfers, the restaurant makes good food, etc. But one key component was missing: the WiFi sucked. Long story short, a residential WiFi router (a Linksys to be specific) was being used to deliver wireless internet to all the guests. Needless to say, this solution was too small, and the WiFi was being overloaded and the system couldn’t handle all the users and traffic. Not to mention, some users were abusing the network and torrenting, so they were ‘hogging the bandwidth pipe’ both in terms of the WiFi and internet connection (the max speed you can get for internet in this city is 5 mbps).

Anyways, to get to the point, the WiFi was at a point where the hotel’s business was suffering. This is something to really keep in mind. Good clean hotel, good nightly rates, good restaurant, free airport shuttle, but the WiFi is kind of sketchy, and that is causing business to drop. The priorities of guests have obviously changed over the years. People will choose to stay in a crappier hotel that costs more nightly, just in order to get better WiFi service (I know, because I’ve done the exact same thing in this same city). Even when I go on holidays (which is usually somewhere in the USA), I often use VBRO.com (Vacation Rentals By Owner) to rent a house or condo. I do this because it’s a lot easier with the family, and we don’t have to worry about space or noise in a hotel. When I’m selecting a place to stay, if it doesn’t have WiFi, I won’t even bother looking at it. I need WiFi in order to stay connected, simply because things like roaming rates on my smartphone are absolutely atrocious (the best travel package I can buy for the USA gives me 50 mb of data for $99).

The overall point here is that communications infrastructure is so important in today’s world. It’s become so expected and entrenched that people will actually look elsewhere if it’s not available. As technologists, we need to ensure that we’re deploying sound solutions that fit the needs of businesses and organizations so that communications aren’t an issue or worry. Remember, something as simple as a bad WiFi network can destroy a company.

Author

Martin Lehner

Martin Lehner is an technology professional working for an IT services firm in Whitehorse, Yukon (Canada). He has been working in the technology field for over a decade. With a degree in Business Admin and numerous industry certifications, Martin leads a team of IT professionals that provide third party support for clients. Originally starting a company to offer web development services, Martin quickly realized that clients wanted the entire spectrum of technology services. When Martin is not at work (which is not often, since his company offers 24/7 support), he is busy at home spending time with his family.

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