What Impact Will 5G Have on The Hotel Industry?
Hotel Wi-Fi has become an essential part of the guest experience and can have an impact on the overall guest satisfaction. Guests are traveling with multiple devices, such as phones, tablets, laptops, wearable devices and speakers. They have the expectation of safely connecting to a fast and reliable network. As a result of the pandemic, there has also been an increase in the use of contactless hotel technology, such as mobile check-in and mobile key, as well as guest room control that allow guests to control the in-room entertainment, the temperature and the lighting with the use of their mobile devices. Guests who are working from hotels also rely on a strong hotel network to support video conferencing and one that allows them to connect virtually to their coworkers. What can hotels do to meet the increasing demands of instant connectivity?
What is 5G?
5G is the fifth generation of mobile broadband intended to replace the current 4G technology. 5G is not widely available but availability is expected to become widespread in the near future. 5G is designed to minimize latency, to offer larger channels that allow for large file transfers at increased speeds. 5G will also allow multiple devices to be connected to the network at once.
5G operates in 3 frequencies, low-band, mid-band and high-band. Low-band 5G operates in frequencies below 2GHz and are the oldest cellular and TV frequencies. Low-band offers a lot of coverage and can go great distances, but there aren’t very wide channels available, as most are being used by 4G. Therefore low-band 5G is comparable to the speed of 4G.
Mid-band 5G operates in frequencies of 2–10GHz and enables coverage of most cellular and Wi-Fi frequencies, as well as frequencies slightly above those. These networks have adequate range from their towers and carries the majority of the 5G traffic.
High-band 5G operates in frequencies of 20-100GHz range. High-band frequencies have a very short range and can go to about 800-foot distances from towers, but there is the potential for very fast speeds of up to 800MHz at a time. High band comes with its limitations, its range of frequency is limited but installing antennae in more locations can enable adequate high-band service.
What Impact Will 5G Have on Hotels?
5G will enable lightning-fast data transmission speeds that minimizes latency and that will significantly increase bandwidth. To upgrade to 5G, hotels will need to install antennae throughout the hotel that are 5G compliant, which will allow hotels to add not only more technology but also various types of hotel technology.
Guests have high expectations when it comes to their hotel Wi-Fi, they want access to Wi-Fi not only in guestrooms but also in the lobby, in restaurants and in pool areas and 5G will allow hotels to better meet those expectations. Guests will also be traveling with multiple devices, such as phones, tablets and laptops and have the expectation of connecting to the hotel’s network. Guests also want access to popular streaming services such Netflix and Amazon. 5G has the potential to meet these demands by connecting multiple devices to the network, while offering very fast and reliable service.
5G will contribute to a better overall hotel guest experience, as guests will be able to connect to the hotel’s network without experiencing network delays. COVID-19 has had an impact on the way people conduct business and as a result there has been an increase in the use of video conferencing, 5G will eliminate the issues of delays or freezing during meetings. The implementation of 5G will also allow hotels to streamline operations with fast communication between different systems.
Corning Cellular Solutions for 5G Connections
There are solutions on the market that are available to help hotels prepare for the upgrade to 5G.
Corning Inc. launched its new cellular solutions designed to help network operators bring reliable 5G connection indoors. The solutions utilize small-cell radio nodes that are easily installed and cost-effective to operate.
To enable 5G service, hotels will need to bring the service indoors as some 5G frequencies and even 4G/LTE frequencies do not penetrate barriers, such as walls. There is a need for increased bandwidth and network operators will require reliable systems that bring 5G indoors.
Corning’s Everon™ mmWave indoor small-cell systems are designed to deliver 5G-ready coverage in high-density environments, such as hotels, office buildings, hospitals and classrooms. The systems are designed for environments where large amounts of data must be managed and transmitted. These systems are designed to operate at commonly used frequencies, including 28 GHz and 39 GHz, for carrier networks and enterprise network operators who are looking to bring reliable 5G connectivity indoors.
5G Failover for Mission Critical Applications
A failure in the hotel’s internet connectivity could be crippling for hotels, the implementation of a 5G failover solution gives hotels the ability to maintain internet connection in the event of a connectivity failure. 5G failover is essential for “mission critical applications” like PBX (phone system/service) and front-of-house systems like the Point-of-Sale, as well as front desk computers that must operate continuously. When installed 5G failover provides a secondary internet link that turns on as soon as the primary internet circuit dies or encounters any issues.
If hotels were to lose its internet connection during a credit card transaction 5G failover would take over to ensure there are no interruptions in service. Losing internet connectivity could also affect incoming booking calls that are lost due to VoIP phone service that rely on the internet. Hilton and all major hotel brands strongly recommend the installation of 5G failover for hotels using a VoIP phone service. Internet failure is a common issue affecting all businesses including hotels and failure in the internet connectivity could result in loss of revenue and a negative guest experience.
Guests Want Fast and Reliable Wi-Fi
5G will allow for bigger channels to speed up data, lower latency to be more responsive and the ability to connect multiple devices at once. Hotel Internet Services conducted a Hospitality Wi-Fi study that gathered responses from 670 guests and 200 hoteliers. The survey discovered that 85% of guests reported that the quality of the hotel’s Wi-Fi affected their decision to book a specific hotel location or brand. The survey also found that 76% of guests traveled with multiple devices with the expectation of connecting them to the hotel’s Wi-Fi network. 43% of guests surveyed felt that hotels did not have sufficient bandwidth to meet their expectations. The implementation of 5G will allow hotels to cater to guests’ expectation of instant connectivity and will ensure that there is sufficient bandwidth to meet the demand.