Can you finally say goodbye to Foxtel subscriptions?

Accom Management Guide Winter 2019

Foxtel has become one the largest monthly expenses for accommodation providers; however, it seems to be being used less and less by guests.
From conversations I’ve had with accommodation providers, sport appears to be the main reason most are still supplying Foxtel in their complexes as so many sporting codes were unavailable under any other streaming service.

Until now. We’ve recently come across Kayo which is Australia’s first subscription video service dedicated to sports: rugby league, rugby union, Aussie rules, cricket, soccer, and more. Kayo is powered by Foxtel and has more sport to share than any other streaming video service around that we’ve been able to find. There are over 50 different sports and multiple international leagues; live matches and replays.

From what I can see, Kayo does not have Sky so horse racing is not available, but if the guest has a TAB account they can stream on their own devices.

This is a game changer for accommodation providers.

Guests can bring their own Kayo, Netflix, Stan and other subscriptions and use your wifi to watch everything they want as they do at home.

Most subscriptions have a trial period or a short period to join up for so the guest can cancel their subscriptions at any time. They can sign up when they arrive at your site and create an account and once they’ve left , if they don’t want to keep the service they don’t have to.
Guests are already bringing their own video on demand subscriptions and Foxtel Now boxes can also be brought to complexes by guests and plugged in to watch Foxtel in their unit.

You must provide unlimited data be able to give them the ability to cast, stream and watch their content.

Casting – One of the top three sought-after features a guest wants is wireless casting. It is a core feature that must be included in your guest wifi system. If you have casting ability on your guest wifi , guests are going to want to cast their own content to your Smart TV or plug in their Google Chromecast and watch it on the big screen.

With Netflix identified as the number one most commonly used application by guests, wireless casting must be a top priority for your guest wifi system. Guests want to bring their own devices and content and cast, stream and watch on your wifi . Securely.

They want to use their own subscriptions to cast and not enter their username and passwords into an app on the television. Security is the main reason for this.

Online streaming is the first choice for in-room entertainment among guests and the three key elements for a successful guest experience for casting, streaming and viewing. are:

  1. You need an in-room guest wifi system – where every unit/room has its own wireless modem or access point to connect to. Good strong signal.
  2. You need a guest wifi system that allows for an “at home” experience, whereby every unit has a secure network within it. Login once with a device and you are online – just as you would at home. This allows for the easy and secure connectivity of Smart TVs, casting devices, gaming devices, home assistants. They don’t have to keep going through a login screen to access the internet.
  3. You need a fast and reliable internet connection or connections – you may need multiple NBN connections or a fibre connection depending on your complexes size. You need to offer unlimited data to your guests – it is suggested to give a minimum of 12Mbps per unit (equivalent to three Standard Definition Netflix streams occurring in that unit at the one time). This should go up depending on the size of the unit eg: a three bedroom may need more speed for more people and devices. The demographic is important too and younger people may require more speed with YouTube being a favoured site and heavy in usage – it can deliver high definition video streams.
    If you have more bandwidth, give them more.

    Casting is going to get more and more popular and you need to ensure you have a secure and safe network in the unit/room for your guest to be able to safely do so.

    Foxtel, Kayo, Netflix and Stan can all be brought to the site by the guest, covering sports through to movies, so why provide it anymore?

    Put those funds toward a better wifi system or faster connections and give the guests what they are asking for. ■

5G – What does it mean for wifi?

Accom Management Guide Autumn 2019

5G is the next evolution in mobile network technology. As with 4G before it, 5G is focused on mobile data. 5G will offer faster speeds with the capability of download speeds as fast as 20Gbps.

The vast improvement will be in mobile video streaming which, given its massive growth, will keep many people happy. Realistically, individual users should see a minimum of 100Mbps download depending on the network and number of devices on the network at any particular time.

With the faster 5G speeds you can burn through your data quicker with the ability to stream at up to 8K resolution. You will be doing more on your phone, therefore requiring a larger plan (possibly more expensive).

5G will succeed 4G, but it will not replace it. 4G and 5G networks will exist simultaneously, and Australian telcos intend to keep 3G networks around until at least 2020. 5G phone plans don’t appear to have any significant price increases (at this stage) and will be part of your current plan when 5G goes live. In fact, plans may become cheaper.

Some telcos will off er unlimited monthly data on mobile plans and a promise of speeds of 50Mbps at a minimum. There is talk of these plans becoming more of an NBN alternative to users than a wifi alternative.

To get the benefit of 5G services you will need to purchase new 5G phones.

It appears that major capital cities and some regional areas may have access throughout 2019 but that doesn’t mean you will immediately have access to 5G. There is a lot of work involved in rolling out new technologies
with new transmission equipment required and it will probably be limited to places such as city centres and large metro areas. It will take a few years to rollout 5G networks and that may not be to everywhere.

So why do you still need to offer wifi to your guests at your complex if this superfast new technology will be available to everyone?

As the frequency used for 5G signal is higher, which means signal range shortens from kilometres to hundreds of metres, transmission towers will need to be closer together to get sufficient external coverage. To get sufficient coverage, towers may need to be as close as 500 metres apart depending on the density of buildings in the area. The higher frequencies used in 5G applications have difficulty penetrating solid objects such as buildings, walls and windows. 5G will be more dependent on line of sight between the transmission towers and your device than 4G. 5G signal is more easily blocked by obstacles.

Without transmission towers close together the signal penetration into buildings will be poor, often requiring receivers on the outside of buildings
cabled to access points inside the buildings and on every floor or every unit, particularly if your doors and walls are fire rated.

As an example, if I want to replace my NBN connection at home with a 5G connection, to ensure that I get the speed and signal to penetrate inside my house I may have to pay for extra receivers and access points on top of my monthly 5G plan; similarly to how you distribute your wifi around larger
houses and complexes now.

There are many areas around Australia that are not going to allow these transmission towers on the tops of buildings every 500 metres. There may need to be small 5G transmitter cells on nearly every lamp post.

What about 4G? Telcos are still developing 4G and in 2017 Telstra revealed it planned to support 1 gigabit per second downloads over its 4G network.
It appears there will be a lot of new features coming for 4G. Its future is promising right into the mid 2020s and it will still be the backbone of most networks.

In summary, 5G could be an NBN alternative but is unlikely to replace other broadband plans and options. It will offer faster speeds for mobile phones,
tablets and other devices such as Internet of Things (IOT) devices. Although it may off er faster speeds than NBN, the coverage will be limited in
comparison due to network infrastructure required.

4G will still be available until at least the mid 2020s.

Wifi to guests is as important as ever. 5G could be an NBN alternative for your internet connection to your complex; however, you still need the wifi
equipment inside the complex and a management system to offer secure, unlimited data with the best signal coverage and fastest speeds available to your guests.

Wifi isn’t going anywhere.

These technologies can and will all work together. ■


Guests expect a perfect guest wifi service and experience

Accom Management Guide Summer 2018/2019

Guest wifi is no longer considered an amenity, it is an expected service. It is a utility and as important as running water, electricity and a comfortable bed.

Guests not only want wifi to be free, they want it to be unlimited data, fast, secure, reliable and everywhere!

Today’s travellers want the conveniences they have at home and they now expect accommodation providers to deliver on these same conveniences.

They want to connect and forget. They want to relax in their unit watching their own Netflix account, exactly where it leG off when they departed home. They want to be able to cast content securely, bring their Google Assistant and Foxtel Now box and be ‘at home’.

When internet service providers talk about guest wifi with accommodation providers, there are numerous areas they need to discuss with you and each area is as important as the next.

Data and speed/bandwidth
Unlimited data is a must for all guests and most internet service providers’ plans have unlimited monthly data. The speed you offer your guests in their unit is going to be dependent on the speed you can get at your complex.

You may need multiple internet connections depending on how many units you want covered and the speed you are able to get from a provider. Your guest wifi provider will help guide you with this, however a minimum of 8-12 Mbps per unit is recommended to start with. If you have more speed to give, definitely give them more. 8-12 Mbps will get one unit 2-3 Standard Definition Netflix streams at the same time in that unit.

When guest wifi providers set up your system, they liaise with you regarding the bandwidth availability and ensure that they configure the controller accordingly to allow for adequate speeds to be available throughout the resort, including your office.

Signal strength, connectivity and reliability
In-room guest wifi systems are a must. Every unit or hotel room needs its own wireless access point or modem to ensure that the signal is close enough and strong enough for connectivity and transmission. Some units may need more than one device if they are a large space and we determine this during a site survey.
External or hallway guest wifi systems or only having a wireless device installed in every second room or unit will give you black spots and not allow for reliable connectivity of devices, particularly Smart TVs. It will not give the guest a secure individual network in their room unit as they have at home.
There are many different ways of delivering an in-room guest wifi solution and a site survey will determine the best possible and most cost-effective solution.

Security
You need to ensure that each room or unit has its own password.
When your guests use a casting device you must ensure that your guest wifi system can isolate that device on the network to each specific unit so only guests in that unit can cast to the TV. This is very important as you do not want someone in another unit being able to cast unwanted/undesirable shows onto your guest’s TV in a different unit.

Marketing your guest wifi
“Guest wifi with unlimited data. Bring Your Own content and devices – ChromeCasts, gaming devices, AppleTVs, Foxtel Now, Google Assistant, etc and use our wifi to stream and play!
Easy connectivity in a secure in room network. Cast and stream and live the dream!”

Does your current wifi system allow you to market this way?

Choosing the right guest wifi supplier is essential. Ask for references. Read their testimonials. Talk to their customers. Ask about their customer service and support. You want to ensure what is going to be delivered is not going to be redundant in a year’s time.

The cheapest solution is not always the best solution and you must compare apples to apples.

Ask your guest wifi supplier to explain how everything works in layman’s terms if you don’t understand what they are trying to provide you. You may have to sell the solution to your owners, the committee or body corporate
and understanding what you want them to pay for is crucial.

Your supplier should provide you with a professional and comprehensive proposal that outlines exactly what they will require for the installation, what they are installing and what the outcome will be for you. ■

Unlimited data and easy and secure casting it’s what your guests are asking for!

Accom Management Guide Spring 2018

The average household in Australia is going through on average 200Gb of data per month and this figure is set to rise dramatically.

The growth is coming from the ability to stream everything – Netflix, Stan, Foxtel, and YouTube. You name it, we are streaming it. Even free-to-air TV can be streamed and all the freeto- air sites have on-demand channels now to download and watch shows later.

Adam Turner from Brisbane Times Technology wrote on the September 5 2018, that house-hold fixed data usage grew 40 percent in the last 12 months to July 2018 which is a steady year on year growth for the last five years, according to the latest Telstra figures.

The data demand is being fed by the NBN roll out, with monthly households leaping by 50 percent once on the NBN; however, households on ADSL are still managing to download 23 percent more data in the last year too. The average Telstra household now consumes 196GB per month, breaking down to 210GB for homes on the NBN and 153GB for those still on ADSL.

So now that we Aussies have the hunger for streaming at home, we want to be able to do it whenever we go on holidays. We expect to be able to do it whenever we go on holidays and overseas visitors have expected it for some time.

As an accommodation provider, you need to provide the correct environment for them to watch their own content at your site:
Three key elements for a successful guest experience.

  1. You need an in-room guest wifi system – where every unit has its own wireless modem or access point to connect to connect to. Good strong signal.
  2. You need a guest wifi system that allows for an ‘at home’ experience, whereby every unit has a secure network within it. Login once with a device and you are online – just as you would at home.
    This allows for the easy and secure connectivity of SmartTVs, casting devices, gaming devices, home assistants. They don’t have to keep going through a login screen to access the internet. Without this
    set up, devices need to be MAC Authenticated which the guest generally cannot do themselves and will require support from your wifi provider.
  3. You need a fast and reliable internet connection or connections – you may need multiple NBN connections or a fibre connection depending on your complexes size. You need to offer unlimited data to your guests – it is suggested to give a minimum of 12Mbps per unit (equivalent to three standard definition Netflix streams occurring in that unit at the one time). This should go up depending on the size of the unit, e.g a three bedroom may need more speed for more people and devices. The demographic is important too and younger people may require more speed with YouTube being a favoured site and heavy in usage – it can deliver high definition video streams. If you have more bandwidth, give them more.

We understand that guests have their own subscriptions to Foxtel, Netflix, Stan etc and can take them wherever they go. How they watch them is where you come in.

So how do you offer this to your guests?
Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as having a SmartTV connected to your guest wifi in each unit.

Supplying a SmartTV in each unit – every SmartTV is different and has their own capabilities and features. Some have a casting application within them which means that the guest can bring their own subscription e.g Netflix and cast it on to the SmartTV from their device (smartphone, pad device, laptop) and continue watching their own content. None of their personal information or login details are stored or accidentally stored on the SmartTV, only on their device.

Your SmartTV may have all the apps for Netflix, Stan, Hulu, etc on it which will show as icons on the screen. However, you will need to ensure that you keep those apps updated at all times to the latest versions. Newer SmartTVs will update automatically. Some older SmartTVs can’t be updated to the latest apps. If you do have the latest streaming apps on the TV, the guest can login on the SmartTV app with their own subscription login details and continue to watch their own content. They must remember to delete their history once finished and departing your site otherwise the next guest will have access to their account and see their viewing history.

You may want to provide a Netflix account for your guests on the SmartTV. The problem with this can be privacy as the next guest can see what the previous guest has watched. Netflix hasn’t yet in Australia released a commercial product suited to the accommodation industry.

What are all these devices guests are bringing with them and wanting to connect through your guest wifi? What do they do?
We feel one of the easiest ways to allow guests to watch their own content at your site is for the guest to be able to bring their own devices to connect to your guest wifi and TV to view their own content. Alternatively, you can supply the device or hire the device to them. You need an “at home” guest wifi system as most of these devices do not have a browser to allow login details to be entered to access the guest wifi. Casting devices generally won’t work securely unless you have a separate secure network for each apartment.

Some examples are: Google Chromecast and Apple TVs – they plug into the HDMI port of the television (does not have to be a SmartTV) and turns the TV into a SmartTV so the guest can cast their own content securely. They don’t have to remember to delete anything from the TV aIerwards. Just unplug the device from the TV. Some other examples of the devices guests are bringing are Telstra TVs, Amazon Fire TV, X Box and PlayStation gaming devices and home assistants such as Google Home, just to name a few.

The biggest mover and shaker we have seen of late is the Foxtel Now device that allows guests to bring their own Foxtel subscriptions with them. They are a cheap device to purchase (approx $99) and you choose the subscriptions you want that you can turn on and off as you need them (check Foxtel’s terms and conditions for all the information).

Investing in the correct guest wifi system is important so that you are future proofing you site. Fast, easy and secure connectivity so guests can bring their own content is something you need to start considering now.

‘IS YOUR GUEST WIFI STOPPING YOU FROM GETTING A 5 OUT OF 5 REVIEW?’

Accom Management Guide Winter 2018

IS YOUR GUEST WIFI STOPPING YOU FROM GETTING A 5 OUT OF 5 REVIEW?

We all know you can’t keep everybody happy and there are some guests that always find something to complain about regardless of the facilities you have on offer.  These reviews can be damaging and be the reason that a booking isn’t made at your complex.

In a recent article by Carolyn Murphy from Revinate.com it states, “internet-related reviews have lower average scores (3.8 vs 4.0) than reviews that don’t mention Internet services, suggesting that when the Internet is mentioned in a review, it is normally seen as a drawback to the hotel experience.  A deeper look into the data reveals that internet-related reviews seem to most negatively affect the occurrence of 5 star reviews. From our investigation, we can infer that there are fewer five star reviews that mention Internet because people expect perfect Internet service.  Since it’s expected, they don’t think to write about it when it’s flawless. But when they don’t have a good Internet experience, they can’t award a hotel five stars.”

US company, Hotel Internet Services, conducted a search on Trip Advisor where they typed the term “WiFi” and discovered four important factors of wifi and travellers of today.

  1. Mediocre to Bad WiFi in an otherwise great hotel might have kept them from a 5 out of 5 rating.
  2. Hotel Guests also complained and gave bad reviews for not having Free WiFi. Reviewers felt the resort fees should cover that amenity.
  3. The search returned over 66K results. Some of these Hotel properties have hundreds to thousands of guests commenting on the WiFi Services in their room and within the Hotel whether good or bad.
  4. Spotty connections and poor connection speeds are amongst the highest complaints.

Although this report is US centric, I think we can all agree that it pretty well hits the nail on the head about wifi expectations of guests.

Guest wifi is no longer considered an amenity, it is an expected service.  It is a utility and important as running water, electricity and a comfortable bed.

Guests not only want wifi to be free, they want it to be unlimited data, fast, secure and reliable.

A 2015 Trip Advisor study found that 74% of travellers and 78% of millennials say Guest Wifi is THE MOST IMPORTANT hotel amenity.  Some guests consider free Guest Wifi more important than privacy when choosing a destination.

A survey conducted by Roomzzz found that 65% of guests connect and log on to a property’s guest wifi within seven minutes of stepping into their room.

Today’s travellers are bringing with them more and more Wifi demanding devices and it is not just about Wifi access or free Wifi hotspot.  They want easy connectivity and to have a strong connection with all their devices.  They want to sit by the pool and listen to their Pandora or Spotify music and read a book on their Ereader or relax in their room catching up on their favourite show on one of their streaming TV Apps on their Laptop, Tablet or phone. These are the conveniences they have at home and they now expect accommodation providers to deliver on these same conveniences.

Not to mention business travellers.  Their needs for a strong, secure and reliable connection is even more vital and when these travellers experience connectivity issues they get very upset and they get very vocal!   Not only are they posting on rating sites and social media but they are talking to friends and family about their experiences.

Some important areas to consider with your guest wifi:

Speed/Bandwidth – Guests want to check emails, browse the web and stream a movie or music and chat with family and friends via Skype. You will need the fastest connection you can get.  You may need multiple connections depending on where your site is located and what internet technology is available.

Signal Strength and Reliability: In room guest wifi systems are a must.  Each unit or hotel rooms needs its own wireless access point or modem to ensure that the signal is close enough and strong enough for devices with small antennas such as mobile phones.  External or hallway guest wifi systems will not allow for reliable connectivity of devices, particularly Smart TV’s.

Security: You need to ensure that each room or unit has its own password.  When your guests use a casting device you must ensure that your guest wifi system can isolate that device on the network to each specific unit so only guests in that unit can cast to the TV.    This is very important as you do not want someone in another unit being able to cast unwanted/undesirable shows onto your guests TV in a different unit.

Easy Connectivity:  Guest no longer want to have to go through a login screen (unless in a public or common area) and continually login throughout the day.  They want an In Room “At Home” TV Experience.  Sign on once and devices automatically connect when in range of the units signal.  Just as it is set up at home.

Streaming Devices:  You need to give the ability for guests to easily connect their Apple TV’s, Telstra TV’s, Chrome Casts and streaming devices without having to contact the manager or support to get the device MAC authenticated onto the guest wifi system as these devices do not have a browser to be able to log them on.

Data: Guests want unlimited data.  Gone are the days guest want to pay for more data or a faster connection. Our suggestion is to throttle each unit to 8 – 12Mbps (more if you have the bandwidth available).  You still have to share the bandwidth around and ensure everyone has enough to do what they want.

Start ticking off all the key areas above and give your guests what they want.  You wouldn’t skimp on electricity or hot water, don’t skimp on guest wifi.

  Judy Senn Director, Time Out Internet

‘Guest Entertainment – Bring Your Own Content (BYOC)’

Accom Management Guide Summer 2018

GUEST ENTERTAINMENT – EVERYTHING A GUEST NEEDS TO ENTERTAIN THEM IS IN THE PALM OF THEIR HAND BUT THEY NEED YOUR GUEST WIFI.

There is been a huge move for accommodation providers to start looking at Guest Entertainment.  BYOC – Bring your own content- everyone’s doing it!  Guests have access to absolutely anything they want by connecting to the internet on their devices through your guest wifi.

For some time now, guests have been able to access their own entertainment subscriptions and purchase videos on demand from every site imaginable online and watch it on their device.  But the times are changing.  They want to watch it on a larger screen – the TV in their hotel room.   We have been getting calls for guests wanting to hook up their AppleTV that they have brought on holidays with them and we easily connect it for them.  The AppleTV enables them to turn your TV into a SmartTV so they can access and stream their own content.  Other portable devices guests are starting to bring are Telstra TV’s, Roku’s, Google Chrome cast’s and Amazon is soon to release their Amazon Fire TV in Australia.

The whole family generally has subscriptions for services on the devices and their favourite shows are saved exactly where they left off watching them at home.  Guests can simply sign into their streaming services for customised programming during their stay with you and carry on their binge watching.  This is how they now want to watch television.

We can’t predict what’s coming up in technology in the next few years and how that will affect you and your guests.  But be wary of being locked into a lengthy contract on video on demand services for in room entertainment.  The guest is not going to pay for something they can bring with them and already pay for and quite often cheaper than your pay per view prices.  If they won’t pay, you are going to have to and honour your contract.

Gimmicks get old fast and focusing on giving your guests fast reliable wifi connections so they can do what they want at your site is important.  Enhance the guest experience.

What guests do in their house they want to do in the hotel room and investment into wifi and bandwidth is crucial.

Unlimited data is a must for any type of guest entertainment therefore a fast and reliable internet connection is imperative and an in room guest wifi system is a must – a wireless access point or wireless modem in each unit to ensure the signal is strong enough for streaming and to supply the bandwidth required for streaming.

A lot of accommodation providers are getting rid of Foxtel and PABX’s and using those funds to update their guest wifi and internet connections.  Guests can bring their Foxtel subscriptions with them and “nearly” everyone has a mobile phone.

When investing in an In Room Guest Wifi System and an Internet Management System, some key areas to consider:

  • Can you/your guest easily connect SmartTV’s, gaming and casting devices for streaming?  Guests, particularly millennials really do want to stream and view their own content on the hotel room TV.
  • When your guests use a casting device eg: Chromecast ensure that your guest wifi system can isolate it on the network to each specific unit so only guests in that unit can cast to the TV.    This is very important as you do not want someone in another unit being able to cast unwanted/undesirable shows onto your guests TV in a different unit.
  • How often does the guest have to login through a portal?
  • Can the wifi be set up the same as a home network – each device logs in once while they are at the site and receives unlimited data?   Guests want a home-like TV experience in their hotel room.
  • Can you throttle the speed of the connection by room to ensure you are sharing your bandwidth around fairly (remember one Ultra High Definition Stream can take 25Mbps of your bandwidth)?
  • Can numerous devices be connected in each hotel room as they are at home? Families are now travelling with on average 3 devices per person that they want to connect to your wifi.

Your guests will start demanding this connectivity and service soon if they have not done so already.

Invest in the technology and infrastructure and get your site Guest Entertainment ready!

Judy Senn Director, Time Out Internet

‘Golden Chain and Time Out Internet Profile’

Accom Management Guide Spring 2017

TIME OUT INTERNET OFFERS GUEST WIFI AND INTERNET MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS THAT ARE EASY TO IMPLEMENT, MANAGE AND USE WITH SEVEN-DAY SUPPORT TO CUSTOMERS AND THEIR GUESTS.

Judy Senn, from Time Out Internet, told us: “We have 165 sites Australia-wide from an Aboriginal community in the Kimberley, Norfolk Island to Cradle Mountain. We are a recognised industry leader in guest wifi and internet management systems.”

“Our system delivers NBN speeds to guests and allows for streaming of data, SmartTV connectivity and casting of content by guests. We have a new feature for customers on Satellite NBN (Skymuster). We can manage their on and off-peak data.”

With reliable connectivity of SmartTV’s for streaming Netflix and all other streaming and casting services, guest entertainment is a giant industry trend and is hugely important for accommodation providers such as Golden Chain to have consistent and reliable wifi and internet services and support, which Time Out Internet offers.

Is the NBN coming to you soon?

Accom Management Guide Winter 2017

NBN IS COMING SOON TO YOU.  HOW WILL IT BE DELIVERED TO YOUR COMPLEX?  FTTP, FTTN, FTTdp…WHAT DOES IT ALL EVEN MEAN?

There has been a bevy of activity on the streets of Australia lately with the ramp up of the rollout of the NBN with NBN Co and Telstra vans working away to install the infrastructure required to roll it out.

I now know we are to be connected to the NBN via FTTN – Fibre to the node technology.  Our area on the Sunshine Coast has seen “nodes” installed around town.  I know this because there is a node around the corner and whilst being installed we lost our telephone line and internet connection for four days.  I shudder whenever I see work in the pits, pillars and nodes around town, worried about our service being disconnected again and also our customer’s services which some have been affected also.

But what does FTTN – Fibre to the node even mean and what will it give us?  Researching this article took me straight to the NBN Co’s website where I was advised that “The nbn™ network is one of the most advanced technology projects in Australian history – but understanding how it gets to you is easy.”

Awesome, I thought.  Easy, they say.  So here is my best attempt to unravel the terminology behind the NBN technology and how it may be delivered to your complex.

Speed – NBN Co offer the following internet connection speeds (up to) nbn 12, 25, nbn 50, nbn 100 – this is Megabits per second (Mbps).

Service Providers – Service Providers will have access to these speeds for your area, however they may not offer them as available plans.  They may not offer unlimited monthly data either.  You need to shop around and get the fastest speed and the most data per month you can, particularly if you use the connection for your guest wifi system.   Unlimited monthly data is a must.  Once the NBN infrastructure is completed in your area, the Service Provider will manage the final connection to your complex.

You don’t have to stay with your current Service Provider (unless contracted).  If you’re under contract see if it can be upgraded to an NBN plan.  We’re hearing stories of providers scaring managers into signing up with them to the NBN as they’re being told their ADSL service will be turned off soon and they’ll lose their telephone number.  ADSL and PSTN services will be turned off approximately 18 months after the NBN is available in your area and you should be given plenty of notice.  Ensure you’re ready and plan for this.

Technology – How you receive the NBN will depend on your location.  NBN Co uses a variety of different technologies.

FTTN –Fibre to the node.  Fibre to the node is where fibre is run to a newly built street cabinet or “node”.  It allows the NBN network signal to travel over optic fibre from the exchange to the node and connect with the existing copper network to reach your premises.

FTTP – Fibre to the premises.  Fibre to the premises is where a fibre optic line will be run from the nearest available node, to your premises.  FTTP also requires an NBN network device to be installed inside your complex and requires power to operate and only installable by an approved NBN Installer or service provider.

FTTB – Fibre to the building.  Fibre to the building is generally used when connecting an apartment block or similar type of building to the NBN network.  A fibre optic line is run to the buildings communications room and existing technology in the building is used to connect apartments.  The fibre node in the building communications room is usually a secure cabinet.

HFC – Hybrid Fibre Coaxial.  Hybrid Fibre Coaxial is used where the existing ‘pay TV’ or cable network can be used to reach the premises.  A HFC line will be run from the nearest available fibre node to your premises and an NBN network device will need to be installed at the point where the HFC line enters your premises and requires power to operate and only installable by an approved NBN Installer or service provider.

FTTdp –Fibre to the distribution point – Fibre to the distribution point sits somewhere between FTTN and FTTP in speed, cost and complexity.  It’s a new technology that may feature heavily in the future NBN roll out.  It alludes to being cheaper than FTTP, faster than FTTN and quick to roll out.  FTTdp brings the fibre almost to complexes doorsteps, with the distribution point referring to the individual junction box in the telecommunications pit in the street outside each property.  With fibre running to within metres of the property means near-gigabit network speeds can be achieved over the very short run of copper between premises and pit and an upgrade to full fibre to the premises is easily possible in the future.  In 2018, Fibre to the Curb FTTC will replace the term Fibre to the Distribution-Point FTTdp.

Fixed Wireless connections and Sky Muster services – These types of connections are used mostly in regional, rural and remote areas, where premises are spread out geographically over many square kilometres.

Fixed Wireless – Fixed Wireless is a form of connection where data is sent from a transmission tower located as much as 14kms away and travels wirelessly to an antenna on the roof of the complex.  It requires an NBN network device to be installed at the point where the cable from the roof antenna enters your complex and requires power to operate and only installable by an approved NBN Installer or service provider.

SkyMuster – The connection of some remote and rural locations services can be delivered via the Sky Muster satellite.  A satellite dish is installed on the premises and receives the NBN network signal from the Sky Muster satellite.  Sky Muster connections also require an NBN network device to be installed at the point where the cable from the roof satellite dish enters your complex and requires power to operate and only installable by an approved NBN Installer or service provider.

I hope I’ve cleared up a few things.  That was easy, wasn’t it?

My recommendation is to put your address in the NBN Co’s website and it should tell you when your address has NBN available and the technology that will be used to deliver it.  However, with so many different technologies being used to roll out the NBN and some of them being replaced, the information may vary.

 

Don’t settle for the first Service Providers quote.  Shop around and get what is best for your business and guest wifi system.  Be prepared for the changeover.  Here’s hoping the NBN is the panacea we have all been waiting for.

Judy Senn Director, Time Out Internet

‘2016 The Year of the data explosion’

Accom Management Guide Summer 2017

2016 THE YEAR OF THE DATA EXPLOSION

It has been an interesting year in regards to the massive amounts of data people are downloading and uploading.  Internet connections are being put under immense strain from streaming video downloads and uploading of data.  More and more people are uploading – posting on social media, uploading video files, video conferencing and Skype calls and synchronising numerous devices together.

Australians’ requirements for data exploded in the last year as online streaming video on demand (SVOD) took Australia by storm.  It is estimated approximately 2.7 million Australians watch Netflix.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics June 2016 Internet Usage Report says that the total volume of data downloaded in the three months ending 30 June 2016 was 2.1 million Terabytes (or 2.1 Exabytes).  This is a 22.3% increase in data downloads when compared with the three months ending 31 December 2015.   From June 2015 to June 2016, the volume of data downloaded by fixed line broadband showed a 51.8% increase.  Upload statistics were unavailable.

Unfortunately our upload speeds in Australia are a disgrace and need to improve and increase dramatically.

Your internet connection over the Christmas holiday period would have been put under the pump.  With advances in online technology and streaming of television means your guests are using and wanting more data and bandwidth on a daily basis.

Increasing your bandwidth with an Internet Service Provider is crucial to ensure that your wifi is delivering the speeds to your guests.

To give you an idea of some of the data requirements for different online technology services I have taken some figures from WhistleOut’s Broadband Usage Guide – 29th Sept 2016.  Please remember that these figures change daily and differ from person to person.

  • The average Australian spends around 48 hours browsing the web per month or about 7GB per month per person in a household.
  • Netflix and other streaming TV services – Standard Definition (SD) viewing expect around 700MB data usage per hour. For High Definition (HD) streaming expect around 3GB per hour data usage. Streaming is the number one data hog.  Netflix automatically chooses the best resolution stream based on the speed of the connection.
  • A standard length movie on iTunes requires 4GB for a HD file and about 1.5GB for a SD copy. TV shows about 1.5GB for HD and 800MB for SD.
  • Facebook & social media – approximately 2Mb per minute (minimum) depending on what is being done – if there are videos watched or embedded and numerous photos viewed, these figures spike dramatically. Videos are embedded in nearly everything now.
  • For every hour of 720p (resolution) video footage on YouTube you’re using up around 2.2GB of data.
  • In 2012, the average YouTube viewer watched 6 hours of video per month. YouTube has since stopped publishing this statistic, but does claim that the number of hours watched by users goes up by 60% each year.
  • Renting movies and TV shows through services like iTunes, BigPond Movies and Xbox Movies can require a large download. Normally the size of the file is in the product description.  Video streaming uses up as much data as downloading the video –you use the same amount of data every time you watch it.
  • Purchasing games through online stores and downloading the game files – it can be more than 50Gb per game. Then there are patches and updates that can be Gigabytes in size.
  • Skype or Video calls use more and it varies largely depending on the quality of the image being sent. It’s very close to YouTube and other video streaming services in this respect, around 40MB every 5 minutes, or half a GB per hour.

So how did your internet bandwidth cope this Christmas holiday period gone?  Are you able to give more free data to your guests or will this cripple your internet connection?

My suggestion is to look into getting unlimited monthly data on a mid-band plan (SHDSL) or the NBN (if available in your area) or at the least a second ADSL2 connection.

Data and bandwidth requirements are only going to grow more and more every year.  With the NBN, streaming of video and Foxtel looking to stream their services in the very near future you need to start thinking about how are you going to deliver this to your guests and/or allow them to successfully watch what they bring with them.

Judy Senn Director, Time Out Internet

 

‘Delivering wifi signal to guests: how to choose the correct method’

Accom Management Guide Summer 2016

DELIVERING THE WIFI SIGNAL TO YOUR GUESTS – HOW TO CHOOSE THE CORRECT METHOD FOR YOU AND YOUR GUESTS.

In my last article, Spring 2015 edition, I went into detail about how to choose a guest wifi system and a supplier.  The article offered you advice on choosing the system to best suit your business and guests requirements and focused on choosing a supplier and the features and functions delivered by their Internet Management System.

This article is going to focus on how to get the wifi signal to your guest in a manner that is going to suit your requirements now and into the future by a reputable and accredited supplier, using accredited equipment.

Devices are getting smaller and smaller and there has been a saturation of wireless signals into the spectrum that were not there a year, two or three years ago.

Because most wifi devices work on 2.4 Ghz range and this frequency is the unlicensed spectrum so any manufacturer can use it for any device that can have a wireless signal attached to it, including remote controls, mice, keyboards, etc.  The frequency is only going to get more saturated as more devices become wirelessly accessible.

There are all these signals out in the air competing against each other for their piece of the spectrum.  What this does is drown your wifi signal the more signals that are out there.

Your external wifi system (hitting your building with wifi from the outside) may have been working extremely well 2 years ago, but you may be finding that the signal strength is degrading and connectivity and transmission from the access point to the device trying to use the wifi, has depleted.  There are more wifi signals now between the access point and the device trying to connect – hence depleting and degrading the signal and transmit ability.  It is only going to get worse as more and more equipment is being introduced with wireless capability.

So how do you overcome this?  You have to bring the access point(s) closer to the devices trying to connect – closer to your guest and you can’t get much closer than in their motel room or holiday unit.  By having a device per motel room or unit/apartment you are giving them their own signal to connect to with very little interference from other wireless devices.

The experience for the guest will be better with less drop outs and if you do have a fast internet connection (NBN) the data will flow faster.

You may not be slated for the NBN for another two to three years but still require a better wifi delivery.  By starting to look at going in room now or even moving in room soon, will future proof you for the NBN.  The suppliers you speak to should be asking you about the NBN and when you are getting it and advising you of what you can do now and in the future.

There are different ways to deliver the in-room experience.  If your building has Cat 5 data cabling for your telephones, these can be used.  Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a building with Cat 5 data cabling – Cat 3 telephone lines can be utilised if you have an analog PABX system and will still allow your telephones to work.  These solutions need to be scoped accordingly and there are certain requirements needed at the site – your wifi vendor/supplier should be asking you these questions and looking at the most cost effective solution for you depending on what you have for them to work with.

There has been some significant changes in technology this year and the availability of equipment and devices from overseas, particularly China has seen technology now in reach of wifi vendors/suppliers and being able to on sell to you at non-exorbitant prices.

This is VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW.  Ensure that the wifi vendor/supplier you choose is using equipment that is C Ticked/A Ticked/Compliance Marked for Australian use.  .  If you have equipment installed that has not been approved to be used in Australia, the fines are hefty – thousands and thousands of dollars to you and the wifi vendor/supplier.

Even data cable has to have a C Tick/A Tick/Compliance Approval – this is how strict the enforcement is by ACMA.

Always ensure that the wifi vendor is an accredited data cabler – data cabling is a regulated industry in Australia and again the fines are huge if you are found to have “illegally” laid data cabling.  The person doing any data cabling must provide you with a TCA1 form for any new cabling laid.  If they do not willingly hand this to you, ask them to give you one and check their accreditation.  They should be carrying a credit card sized card with them with their credentials.

Before making any decisions, ensure you compare different solutions.

  • Ask if all the equipment being used for your site has a C Tick/A Tick/Compliance Mark (including the data cable)
  • Ask the wifi supplier if they are an accredited data cabler and ask for their credentials.
  • Call their existing customers and find out how their wifi system is going and was the installation completed professionally.
  • Ask them has it met their business needs?
  • Ask them how is the support for them and their guests?
  • Would they recommend the wifi supplier?

Sometimes the cheaper option is too good to be true.  There is always a catch and you need to be aware of your rights.  Ask the questions and be informed.

 Judy Senn Director, Time Out Internet