Tablets influencing public WiFi offerings
Businesses that offer free public WiFi access are responding to the rapid growth of tablet computers and other mobile devices, but patrons of coffee shops, hotels and bookstores may not like the direction they're going.
According to a study from hospitality industry systems provider iBAHN, tablet computers are putting a strain on public WiFi connections, causing them to slow drastically. This leads to frustration among customers, who have come to expect fast connection speeds.
This trend is also bothersome for businesses, which will need to invest in more bandwidth to improve internet speeds. As a result, many of these companies are questioning whether they will continue offering internet to customers at current levels.
One solution is limiting the amount of time a customer can use free WiFi. For example, after an hour of free WiFi, the customer would either have to disconnect for a given amount of time or pay to continue using the service. Companies could also start charging for premium internet access, where they would still offer free WiFi but at slower speeds.
This may also become a concern for airports, as a study from WiFi services provider Boingo Wireless estimates that tablets and smartphones account for 60 percent of airport WiFi connections. If such strain continues to be put on public WiFi connections, businesses may have to adjust the way they approach their offerings.