This is a guest post by BroadbandGenie, a free, simple to use, and independent comparison service that will help you save money on home broadband, mobile broadband, mobile, tablets, and TV.
What Speed Do I Need?
Get started by working out what speed the property needs. Next, consider the number of bedrooms, along with what they will use the internet. It is unlikely, for example, that nine 20-year-olds will rent a two-bedroom property for a gaming night.
More likely, a family or business colleague will occupy your two-bedroom property. You may expect some video streaming in the evening and occasional internet access during the day.
Much larger holiday lets will require faster broadband to accommodate the demands of multiple users. However, even some guests may not be using broadband for activities that require very high speeds. The sheer number of devices that connect at the same time could quickly overcome a slower broadband service.
Assessing the needs of the typical guests and comparing this with the size of the property is an important step.
How Can I Reduce the Cost of My Airbnb WiFi/Broadband Contract?
No doubt the cost of broadband is a concern. However, if the property already has a broadband package, and you want to reduce the monthly bill, you have two options. Either switch immediately to a cheaper provider (some will buy out the existing contract) or wait until the contract ends.
But what sort of broadband internet package should you choose? Start by using a broadband comparison tool to find out what speeds are available. Anything with a reliable 35Mbps speed (achievable with most entry-level fiber optic packages) should be enough for general use, including streaming Netflix and similar services.
Be sure to choose a package with unlimited data, as you may face extra fees and disgruntled guests if they exceed the usage cap.
Will your guests require TV or inclusive calls? If not, avoid paying for unnecessary extras, as these can potentially double your expenses. To reduce costs further, look for deals with cashback offers or even gifts.
Broadband/WiFi Fees and Cancellations
You should also find out about cancellations. Long periods without guests means paying for broadband that goes unused. That said, contracts that can be paused or exited without a contract termination fee allow you to save money. Broadband Genie have a guide where you can compare cheap broadband deals.
There are other options here, however.
Short-term or no-contract broadband packages are available but come with higher setup costs and only make sense with seasonal properties when you are certain there will be no visitors for specific times of the year. These will need to be reactivated each time it is required, which will mean paying a setup fee.
A mobile broadband hotspot with PAYG (pay-as-you-go) is another option, although these don’t typically offer much data and running costs could be quite high.
If you do want to use mobile broadband instead of a fixed-line home broadband package, look for unlimited data contracts. These are available from Three and Vodafone and can be an excellent option as setup costs are minimal and there is no requirement to have a landline or wait for an engineer visit to install it. However, you will need to ensure the property has access to a strong mobile network signal to ensure adequate performance.
In many cases, it is easiest to simply accept that there will be times when the property is unused and factor that into your overheads. It may work out cheaper to simply pay a monthly bill than spend time trying to cancel and renegotiate.
How to Avoid Broadband Dead Spots in Your Vacation Rental Property
Most properties have corners or even rooms with slow or dead spots. These cannot be reached by the wireless network, resulting in slow or non-existent connectivity. Bathrooms, basements, and attics can be especially problematic.
To avoid this, you can set up the router in the most central position possible. This should be on the ground floor, or the floor where the property will be occupied. Before fixing the router to a wall, find the best signal within the data and power cables range.
Some broadband providers (such as Virgin Media) offer a mobile app to help you measure broadband signal strength in each room. This is a handy way to help you determine the best position for the router. But it doesn’t always work out that way, which is when WiFi boosters/extenders and powerline adapters come in useful.
Airbnb WiFi boosters are inexpensive and easy to use, enabling you to extend the wireless network’s reach around the property with very little technical know-how required.
Powerline adapters – which use the property’s electrical wiring to increase network range – can also be used. Modern devices ship with wireless capability, as well as ports for Ethernet cables. Ensure the guests know how to power cycle powerline adapters if used, however, to guarantee performance as they can be somewhat unreliable.
Setting Up Your Airbnb WiFi Router
Some time is needed to ensure your router working properly. First, make sure the guests have easy access to the Airbnb WiFi password. This might be printed in your visitor guide or provided as a QR code which guests can scan with their mobile phone.
For properties where you’re also a resident, you should use the router’s guest network feature to share broadband with guests. This ensures your own wireless network and any connected devices are inaccessible to visitors using the guest network.
For further security, it’s wise to lock the router away to avoid any risk of accidental damage or deliberate tampering, as this can weaken the wireless signal. Be sure to make it easy to power off at the wall in case guests need to reset the device.
With the router physically secured, take the time to change the default administrator login details to prevent unauthorized access. Default admin passwords on routers are a major risk with many devices, particularly those provided by ISPs. They are often the same for every router.
While making this adjustment, you can also enable remote administration to allow you to manage and monitor the Airbnb WiFi router without having to visit the property.