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Old 07-08-2013, 11:54 PM   #1
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RV Resorts; When will you get it right?

Hi, when will the camp grounds / RV Resorts get it right? It's not just me, but almost everyone. Why can't we have a working WIFI system in these camp grounds? Why do I have to sit in their office or laundry room for it to work? Why do we have to hear all the BS excuses as to why it doesn't work in your RV, or location? Why do we have to hear that Betty who works here, gets great WIFI and you, parked next to Betty can't get it at all? I know that some people on this forum work at or own camp grounds and would like to hear what they have to say too. Where I'm at now admits it's not a good system and Tengo-net is part of the problem. We as campers who have been told that we will get free WIFI, should get it as it is surely included in the price. [not free]
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:31 AM   #2
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It's a frustrating problem. My guess is that, by now, the campgrounds that will get it right already have.
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Old 07-09-2013, 06:03 AM   #3
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We often have issues with campground wifi, too. It's pretty frustrating.

But in some locations, I think there's not much the campground can do. For example, at Camp Hatteras on the Outer Banks, their wifi signal strength is good but the connection speed is often fairly slow. I wouldn't be surprised to find they already have the fastest connection available to them, being that they are located on a barrier island. Other campgrounds are out away from cities and are probably lucky to have any kind of high speed connection at all.

(That said, they could be using ISDN lines or something, but aren't those still ridiculously expensive, if they're even still available?)
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:14 AM   #4
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It is not that "hard".

It can cost about $3000 to set up a decent WAP system.

The parks can have this fixed with cash investments.

There can be great resource but poor use of the technology. You need someone who can spend time "tuning"... Which can be a gravy train for the "tuner".
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:27 AM   #5
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My real job is running a large college campus network including the wifi system. It's not easy, and it's expensive! You don't buy a $99 router from Walmart and place them around the campground and say you have wifi service. You have to spend real money and buy a system that not only works outdoors but can handle the users and load. As you have found out most campgrounds just provide the same wifi system as you have in your home, and that doesn't cut it when you have 100+ users and several acres of ground to cover.

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Old 07-09-2013, 07:38 AM   #6
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limited access by distance keeps the bandwidth usage down. i don't think any campground wants 200 folks downloading movies every night.
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:47 AM   #7
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doesn't the metal skin on an AS cause problems for WIFI reception? Plastic trailers with metal cage frames have their own issues as well.

I've had good luck with carrying my own Mifi on Verizon thru Millenicom. $70 a month for 20 GB. Lots of places I get LTE which is much faster than I've seen at any campground wifi.
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:34 AM   #8
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Living in rural areas does limit possibilities. Up here, for example, the highest available is 1.5 mg at our location. And when the town is full of tourists -- our population goes from around a thousand to over 10 thousand -- the available system just grinds down to a near halt. (We cannot wait until we finally get fiber optic service here, but that'll probably still be another year from the way things look.)

That said, I know some campground owners who really object to having to provide the service: It is the least robust of all of the systems that the campground runs, and among the most expensive. Short of raising rates, it's really a losing proposition.


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Old 07-09-2013, 08:39 AM   #9
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Lots of issues with WiFi. In my past job I supported wireless and there are lots of things to consider. First your speed is contingent upon your distance from the WiFi antenna. The further you are away the slower it gets. The number of users on that access point has a big effect, and unless you have a business class access point, your service will bog down. The next issue is interference, although this may not be a big an issue unless the campground owner didn't engineer the wireless correctly. There are 3 clear (1-6-11) 2.4 GHz wireless channels available. Which means if you have multiple antennas, the signals from those antennas can overlap. The problem comes if you have overlapping signals from the same or adjacent channels. If that happens, the radio in your pc gets lost as to what antenna it is talking to. The result is frequent disconnects or lack of or slow response time. Add to that the unfriendliness of your Airstream to wireless signals and you have prime ingredients for crappy service.

I carry a Verizon Mifi device to provide me wireless service. The newer devices are pretty robust and can now push a signal up to 100' from their position and dependent upon obstacles. Older units had about a 30' maximum range. These units in themselves along with WiFi hotspot service coming from cell phones can cause a great deal of interference with existing fixed services at a locale since they are competing in the same 2.4GHz bandwidth as the campground services.

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Old 07-09-2013, 08:50 AM   #10
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You know, one of the things I looked into on outdoor systems was their robustness in the face of low temps. Sure, the outdoor systems have to be waterproof; that's not very difficult to manage. However, the ones I looked at couldn't manage at temperatures well below freezing. Like the standard -30F that we hit every winter, some 60 degrees below freezing. (I can't manage well at that temperature, either, and do like to spend more time at the computer and less time outdoors when it's really cold outdoors.)


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Old 07-09-2013, 08:50 AM   #11
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I don't understand all the whining. In maybe one out of five campgrounds I have to walk over to the office to get a connection. Big deal. I've got my IPhone set up as a hot spot but rarely use it. My Macbook Pro does just fine.
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:07 AM   #12
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One campground we visited last year openly answered the issue and proposed a solution to their customers. They asked "Do you want free, bad internet or good, pay-per-day service". The answer was pay per day.

The cost I think was about $4/day. The installed system cost the campground about 50K. If I remember right, it was down a lot! :0
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:46 AM   #13
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Do you get what you pay for???

Quote:
Originally Posted by eubank View Post
Living in rural areas does limit possibilities. Up here, for example, the highest available is 1.5 mg at our location. And when the town is full of tourists -- our population goes from around a thousand to over 10 thousand -- the available system just grinds down to a near halt. (We cannot wait until we finally get fiber optic service here, but that'll probably still be another year from the way things look.)

That said, I know some campground owners who really object to having to provide the service: It is the least robust of all of the systems that the campground runs, and among the most expensive. Short of raising rates, it's really a losing proposition.


Lynn
Given that you are in the Campground bidness I appreciate and respect your reply. And your closing sentence really says it all.

But, as was pointed out by the OP, if WiFi is advertised as being available in a campground that creates and expectation for the delivery of a service, be it an additional charge or all inclusive.

And that expectation of a service to be provided is the real issue in every discussion I have had/listened to/read about WiFi in campgrounds.

If you as a business who provides a service advertises that a service is available it is incumbent on you to provide the service. If you cannot or, more importantly, don't want to have to deal with the ramifications that the providing of the service creates for you then it is best that you simply do not offer the service.

I personally avoid places that do not offer WiFi. Provide WiFi such that it is usable and I will be a repeat customer and I will tell others that we had a positive experience. Provide a less than lustrous WiFi experience and not only will I not be a repeat customer I will tell others to avoid your campground because you do not deliver the services that you advertise being on offer.

I see no difference between advertising a laundromat and then having many of the washers/dryers out of service and advertising WiFi and not providing a system that is sufficiently robust to offer an acceptable level of service for everyone in the campground who would like to use the service.

Frankly I don't think this is asking a lot. I doubt very much that you react any differently when you are out and about dealing with businesses that you use.

So, from my perspective the issue rests solely on the campground owner. It is incumbent on them to provide the services they advertise as being available on site. If the service is something they cannot support why on earth should they offer it? The ill will that is created by advertising something which in itself creates expectations which when are not perceived by the purchaser of the service as being acceptable does much more harm that good.

If I was involved in a campground owners associated this would be one of the things that I would be on the proverbial "band wagon" about. The campground industry is loosing lots of credibility because it refuses to admit that it does not want to provide WiFi services due to the cost - not just for hardware to create a sufficiently robust system but for the resources to maintain it.

And yes, outfits like Tengo do more harm than good because they do nothing but offer a reactive service; meaning they don't have a clue as to what is going on anywhere in their network until a disgruntled customer calls them. If a customer has to make a complaint call to get a service to function properly the harm is already done - the service which was contracted was not delivered per the contract.

So, from my perspective any campground owner/operator who does not want to spend the money to provide a WiFi service at their campground that will work for every camper is better off not offering the service at all.

Yes, this will cost you business. It will also cost you business if you advertise the service and do not provide it in a sufficiently robust manner that all campers are able to utilize it.

Frankly I find this entire debate about WiFi by campground owners/operators to be tedious. Complaining to your customers about how much it costs to operate your business is not putting forth a very professional manner. If your operating a business it is your job to do it in a professional manner that will provide a positive experience for your customers or you will not have many, if any, customers.

The fact that this conversation about p-poor WiFi service in campgrounds just goes on and on and on and on and on speaks volumes about the campground industry owners and operators.

Kind of reminds me of a somewhat humorous event I saw in a restaurant of a mom telling her tantrum throwing child, "Just pull up your big girl panties and deal with it".

Jim, who still gets to pick and choose who he gives his money to for services rendered...
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanB View Post
One campground we visited last year openly answered the issue and proposed a solution to their customers. They asked "Do you want free, bad internet or good, pay-per-day service". The answer was pay per day.

The cost I think was about $4/day. The installed system cost the campground about 50K. If I remember right, it was down a lot! :0
$120/month for internet service? And that's the solution they WANTED? Anyone else remember the days of $10/day upcharge for air conditioners?

eubank's comment reminds me of a Wifi installation in a campground I was looking at one time. Wires everywhere, and not routed in a logical manner as far as I could tell. I was afraid to even look at the setup too long for fear something would die and I'd never get it working again. I'm glad I wasn't the one that had to support that setup.
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