What to consider when choosing a public WiFi supplier

 

Publicly available WiFi is a key component for any modern city experience; with visitors and residents alike expecting access to the web whilst on the move. With WiFi playing such an integral role in the growth of any smart city, deciding which supplier is the most suitable is an important decision that can make or break any wireless network ambitions. There are a lot of factors to take note of. What should you consider when choosing a public WiFi supplier? We’ve answered with some of the key considerations below.

A fast and functional public WiFi network can revolutionise a city centre, offering new revenue and experience opportunities across the board. From visitors uploading snaps of their latest trip, to local entrepreneurs running private businesses built on the back of a stable connection – the possibilities stretch across all sectors of city life.

So, what do you need to consider when choosing a public WiFi supplier?

Reliable Hardware

Any hardware is going to need to be robust and reliable. Exposure to the elements is a likely scenario considering many, if not all, of your network’s access points (APs) will be installed outside. Whilst attached to public buildings and council-owned assets, each AP will be subject to the fluctuations of seasonal British weather and the ability to safely withstand temperature changes, rain, and the wind is essential.

Alongside overall resilience to the elements, it’s important to consider the appearance of any installed APs. In tourism-centric cities, the ability to conceal and carefully disguise each AP is an important aspect to deliberate on in relation to the overall aesthetic of the area. For example, in Edinburgh’s UNESCO protected Old and New Town districts, IntechnologyWiFi made sure to customise the appearance of each individual AP, to ensure it did not detract from the architectural beauty of these historic areas.

Data & Analysis

A smart city is built on data. A legion of sensors collates all manner of data streams on the day-to-day running of the local area, which can then be analysed and acted upon to improve and enhance services and systems, and as a result: the lives of the people that live and work within a city remit.

A public WiFi system offers similar incentives, from tracking footfall data on busy high streets, to monitoring the flow of visitors around key landmarks. Such data can prove useful to both public and private sector parties, with the potential there to create better services and improve city management. Finding a public WiFi supplier who can collect and supply varying data feeds gathered from a wireless mesh network should be high up the list of requirements for any authority considering WiFi investment.  

Scalability & Speeds

It’s all well and good installing a series of APs across a city centre zone, but can the network handle the number of people connecting to it without affecting service?

Traffic can typically climb to thousands of daily registrations for a midsize city. With such heavy volumes of data being transferred over the network, ensuring speeds remain healthy will lessen the chance of negative feedback and poor user experience.

Of course, as your WiFi network becomes more popular, planning with scalability in mind should be a consideration when choosing a WiFi supplier.  

Support & Service

As with any long-term business partnership, you’re going to want to know that should anything go wrong with your WiFi network, you’re going to receive fast and effective support from the supplier to remedy the situation. There is nothing worse than a dropout of connectivity, both for you and your users. Be sure to note how the relationship between supplier and supplied will evolve over the course of the installation contract.

The best WiFi installations will face few problems during the course of their life, but it should come with the piece of mind to know that the best suppliers have the right people on hand to fix any issues that may occur.

Marketing & Advertising Opportunities  

Marketing and advertising opportunities that arise from your WiFi installation go hand-in-hand with a robust and thorough data collection platform. With so much data being collected, it presents a wonderful opportunity to better market your city and the services and businesses within. Learning about where your city’s residents and visitors are going, and what they are spending their time doing can be a useful tool when planning marketing campaigns for popular tourist attractions.

Furthermore, local businesses can take advantage of such ‘always-on’ connectivity, letting users know about upcoming deals, discounts and advertising opportunities in real-time via displays on a network’s portal, or even push marketing and AI opportunities presented by the developing world of digital connectivity technology.  

Choosing a public WiFi supplier

Ensuring you choose the best WiFi supplier is tantamount to the success of any wireless network installation. There is plenty to keep in mind when analysing and researching the market. 

With the presence of public WiFi within a city centre becoming ever more essential and expected, choosing the right long-term partnership has never been more important. 

At IntechnologyWiFi, we value long-term commitment to our local authority partners, not just in the WiFi sector but across the full range of smart city possibilities. Get in touch below for further information on turning your town or city into a fully-functioning WiFi zone. 

Get In Touch

Whether you’re a local authority looking to provide public WiFi or seeking a connectivity solution for Smart Cities, the IoT or 5G / Small Cells in your town or city, or if you are interested in partnering with us around the Connected City Platform in any of our forthcoming town and city roll-outs, we’d love to explain more about who we are and what we do.

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