Is It Ok To Charge For Wifi

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by drmcleod, Jul 18, 2008.

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Campground WiFi should:

  1. be Free to entice more campers to the c/g

    7 vote(s)
    58.3%
  2. be Free in the more "deluxe" sites

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. be charged for on a per usage basis (recieve an access code at check in if paid for)

    1 vote(s)
    8.3%
  4. be Charged for by an outside agency when loggin on

    2 vote(s)
    16.7%
  5. not be a part of the camping experience (leave your technology at home)

    2 vote(s)
    16.7%
  1. DXSMac

    DXSMac
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    QUOTE(Lindsay Richards @ Sep 6 2008, 09:53 AM) [snapback]13096[/snapback]

    Actually. my wife's credit card was stolen last Christmas, but I haven't turned it in yet as the theif is spending a lot's less than she had been spending.


    Well, you are only responsible for the first $50 (but most CC companies waive that $50), so turn it in!!!!

    JJ
     
  2. Florida Native

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    QUOTE(DXSMac @ Sep 6 2008, 12:56 PM) [snapback]13097[/snapback]

    Well, you are only responsible for the first $50 (but most CC companies waive that $50), so turn it in!!!!

    JJ




    I was trying to be funny there.
     
  3. DXSMac

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    QUOTE(Lindsay Richards @ Sep 8 2008, 06:57 AM) [snapback]13121[/snapback]

    I was trying to be funny there.



    SORRY! I guess I was in a weird mood and didn't catch your humor.

    JJ :)
     
  4. doraville

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    I think that WiFi has become as important as power, water, and sewage. We have fresh water tanks, grey water tanks, and even batteries and generators. We can get by for short stays without any hook-ups, but no internet hook-up is a major inconvenience.

    During a recent 8 week trip out west, my observation was that 99% of the private campgrounds offer free WiFi. Only about 10% had adequate equipment to provide a reliable signal at each site. The WiFi usually does work near the office, but this requires you to go hang around the office in your Winnie the Pooh pajamas.

    I finally got fed up and bought a high gain directional antenna and amplifier. This requires extra set-up at each stop, but improved my ability to connect from my camper to about 80% of the time.

    The best way to encourage the campgrounds to upgrade their equipment is to mention how good their WiFi service was (or wasn't) in your reviews on this site. I try to mention it on all my reviews.
     
  5. westernrvparkowner

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    I own a medium sized RV park and include wifi access in my site fee. That being said, it is not free. My rates were adjusted to include my extra expenses. Some posters have suggested that "hanging a router in the window" will cover all a parks wifi needs. That is simply not true. Parks that take this approach are the parks that you can only connect near the office, or have a signal that comes and goes randomly. My equipment cost me several thousand dollars, not including installation and maintance. By far my biggest expense is the man hours spent on helping guests access the system. I am amazed how many people cannot operate their computers at all. I have had guests who did not understand you had to have a wireless card or modem for wifi to work. Customers have turned off the wireless modem on their machine and appeared at my door at 2 AM demanding I make the WiFi work. My equipment was recently had a security upgrade and is not compatible with Microsoft Vista unless the customer's computer has been upgraded with "Microsoft Service Pack 1" This upgrade has been out for over 6 months, but many people have not upgraded even though Microsoft considers it a "Critical Upgrade". I really don't believe I am responsible for a customer failing to keep their computers current. Also, many guests have not configured their computers to use wireless connections since all they have done is unplugged the computer from their home and lugged it onto the road. still other customers have set their security setting to allow only connection to their business LAN or have other custom security settings that prevent their system from connecting. We want our customers to be able to enjoy our wifi, but we are very leery about changing a customer's computer settings, there could be some large liability issues. Our park literally spends a minimum of an hour a day providing technical support for customer's computers. This takes us away from our work that can benefit all our guests and has us spend that time on a single guest. WiFi may be a necessity for today's RVers, but it is a NECESSARY EVIL to this campground owner.
     
  6. DXSMac

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    QUOTE(Doraville @ Sep 16 2008, 05:03 AM) [snapback]13216[/snapback]


    The best way to encourage the campgrounds to upgrade their equipment is to mention how good their WiFi service was (or wasn't) in your reviews on this site. I try to mention it on all my reviews.



    Ok, but what can you do about park managers/owners who don't seem to be concerned about "open" access (the fact that people not staying in the park can access the signal, thus weighing it down and the park customers can't get in....)? The park I'm at now doesn't seem to care that non-park customers can access the signal. They can keep it free, yet lock, it down with a password.

    JJ
     
  7. bikemanb

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    I have no problem with a $1 per day fee, many campers don't use wifi, why should they subsidize my use? Wifi isn't "free", it is hiding in the site rates of those campgrounds that don't "charge" for it.

    As mentioned a truly functional park wide wifi system is expensive to the park owner and then they have to deal with user connection issues.
     
  8. DXSMac

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    QUOTE(bikemanb @ Sep 21 2008, 08:01 PM) [snapback]13264[/snapback]

    I have no problem with a $1 per day fee, many campers don't use wifi, why should they subsidize my use? Wifi isn't "free", it is hiding in the site rates of those campgrounds that don't "charge" for it.

    As mentioned a truly functional park wide wifi system is expensive to the park owner and then they have to deal with user connection issues.



    I would be willing to pay up to $2 for wifi, or for an "instant" phone connection so I can use dial up if I have to. More than that, to me, is a ripoff.

    I'm at an RV park now, have been gone since Sep 3, I'm going home tomorrow. I don't WANT to go home! I wanna keep RV'ing!!!! WAAAHHHH!!!!! But I suppose I had better go home so I can be available when teachers start bailing..... (I substitute teach...), it helps pay for my RV'ing habit.....

    JJ
     
  9. FosterImposters

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    QUOTE(westernrvparkowner @ Sep 16 2008, 10:28 AM) [snapback]13217[/snapback]

    ... Our park literally spends a minimum of an hour a day providing technical support for customer's computers.


    Got a real eye-opener on this topic when helping a Northwest US Park Owner this summer as our first 'workcamping' experience. Personally use an 'aircard' to access the internet...therefore we forgo all the WiFi hassles at every stop in the road.

    Was like trying to start a fire with sticks again...helping folks get their computers to work with WiFi. And the stories they shared...! Good grief.
    Felt like I was a sales rep for Verizon Air-Card at the end of the day... :rolleyes:
     
  10. westernrvparkowner

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    QUOTE(FosterImposters @ Oct 2 2008, 12:19 PM) [snapback]13351[/snapback]



    Got a real eye-opener on this topic when helping a Northwest US Park Owner this summer as our first 'workcamping' experience. Personally use an 'aircard' to access the internet...therefore we forgo all the WiFi hassles at every stop in the road.

    Was like trying to start a fire with sticks again...helping folks get their computers to work with WiFi. And the stories they shared...! Good grief.
    Felt like I was a sales rep for Verizon Air-Card at the end of the day... :rolleyes:




    Thanks for the confirmation that I am not alone. Bet the campground left "computer technical support" off the job description when you hired on. Hope your work camping experience was rewarding and if it was, may all your future assignments be great.
     
  11. RV Camper1

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    westernrvparkowner,

    Thanks for posting your experience. As one who travels with satellite internet, I cold tell you about a few also since people now frequently recognize the dish and are quite bold about asking to use my signal, and some even demand to do so. Your point is well made and some time back I started a real firestorm on this thread by having the audacity to say that I see nothing wrong with passing the cost along to those who use it by charging a fee. I would think it quite reasonable to pass on a charge for assistance beyond the very basic service, say 10 minutes at most.

    Our son is a computer professional and I assure you that technical support beyond the basics is very often charged for in other industries and there is no reason why you should not be allowed to do so as well. :D
     
  12. DXSMac

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    Kirk, asking to use YOUR satellite signal is just plain..... RUDE AND OBNOXIOUS. You are the one paying for it. I can't believe people have been bold to do that!

    JJ
     
  13. pianotuna

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    Hi JJ,

    I might offer to pay for bandwidth--but I'd certainly never "demand" that it be shared.

    I leave my wifi router in my stick house "open" so that anyone can use it--but none of my neighbors do the same. I don't understand that because I don't pay for bandwidth--just for the service, and none of them pay for bandwidth either.

    Perhaps that may explain why folks think Kirk should be willing to "share". They may not be aware he has to pay for ever extra "byte" over his allotment.

    QUOTE(DXSMac @ Oct 2 2008, 07:09 PM) [snapback]13361[/snapback]

    Kirk, asking to use YOUR satellite signal is just plain..... RUDE AND OBNOXIOUS. You are the one paying for it. I can't believe people have been bold to do that!

    JJ
     
  14. Just Jack

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  15. pianotuna

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    Hi Just Jack,

    Welcome to the forum--it is very valuable to hear from the other side of the RV street!

    >Another issue that has just come up is bandwidth. With a satallite we do have limited badwidth >and even though we charge for wifi, guests think it is unlimited. I don't know what they must be >downloading, movies, music, porn??? But they can download gigs of material within a hour, >which then shuts down the system for every one. How do I control that??

    Limit your wifi connection to wireless B for starters. That will decrease the bandwidth that anyone can use by a factor of about five. I'm sure someone else with more technical expertize can suggest other ways to "control" abuse of the system.

    In the mean time add a notice to your campground etiquette sheet that spells out the limitations of the system. Something like:

    "Please be aware that our wifi system is a satellite feed with limited bandwidth. Help us provide wifi to every guest by not downloading large files or using streaming audio or video. After the daily satellite bandwidth limit is reached all of us are cut off from the internet."
     
  16. taj4256

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    Clearly there is expense to the campground to provide this so they need to be paid--either directly by those using or by everyone through the camping fee. I think the direct charge approach is more equitable BUT--if they charge, the signal better be strong and dependable at all campsites. I have had too many experiences where the service was so undependable it wasn't worth "free" much less $x per day.

    QUOTE(drmcleod @ Jul 18 2008, 04:18 PM) [snapback]12323[/snapback]

    Should Campgrounds charge for Internet access?

    I would like to get other opinions on this.

    My opinion is no! I have two reasons for this.

    First, as a consumer. Having free internet access is actually one of the things I look for in a campground. It's a 'perk' if you will. If I have the choice between two, somewhat comparable, c/g's then I will choose the one with free WiFi. Heck, I'll even choose the one with free WiFi over one that is slightly nicer with fee for service.

    Second, as a business owner (of which I am one). It does not cost more to allow the whole campground access to your broadband service. The only additional expense is the addition of the hardware. In some cases this might be more expensive if additional antennas are required and installation requires an expert. Also, a higher than basic internet subscription is needed. However, if the c/g is going to charge for its WiFi service, then all of this has to be done anyway. Therefore, consider it a marketing expense to drive more people to your c/g. Why do you think that places like Panera Bread and even McDonald's are offering free WiFi? I know I choose to eat there when I need a place to surf while I eat. In my case, I want more people to come to my place of business, so I make my wireless service available to all. It costs me no more, but brings more people to me.

    What do you think?
     
  17. kcmoedoe

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    Hi Pianotuna, Just a couple of thoughts. I would enable my home wifi security ASAP. Leaving your router unsecured opens your system up to anyone who wants to traffic over it. Even if your computer is shut down or with you in the RV the modem is up and functioning. Now it won't happen, unless you win the unlucky lottery, but what if a neighbor or just someone transiting the area finds your system is open and proceeds to download a couple of hundred gigabytes of child porn or uses your system to plan the next terrorist attack. You could find yourself the subject of a pretty embarrassing and scary investigation from law enforcement. It is very easy for law enforcement to trace traffic back to a router. It would be very inconvenient to have your home, RV and all personal possessions searched for a computer you do not own. Put a password on the system and stop 99.9% of all problems. If your computer is connected and turned on, your problems could multiply. A good hacker could attack your system and possibly steal valuable information. The modem is a substantial firewall and you defeat some of the security by leaving it open anyone. Downgrading a modem to wireless B will work to balance out bandwidth, but it will slow performance for all the guests. Things will not download as fast, so guests will have to wait longer for things like photos and videos to download. Since files cannot download as fast on "B" overall traffic on the network my actually increase since guests would be unable to download wanted files as quickly and then get off the network. It is my experience that on big files, many people just start the download and then walk away. I really like your other suggestion of just asking the guests to monitor and limit their high bandwidth traffic. I just hope it is not like asking a leopard to change his spots.
     
  18. pianotuna

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    Hi kcmoedoe,

    Having had an "almost" son in law who is a Phd in internet security and seen him cut through both a hardware firewall and software one in less than five minutes I'll take my chances and leave my wifi connection open. I only wish everyone would do the same. Any decent hacker can "crack" the type of security features I could afford to pay for.

    Better not go across the road at a cross walk when the light is green--a car might run through a red light and kill you.

    I know of no one who has had a hacker "invade" their personal computer. I've had one computer virus since 1993 when I was first on the net. My freeware virus checker made short work of that infection.

    As to the wireless B--yes that was the whole point. Slow down the system for everyone so that the Satellite will take longer to use up it's daily "allotment" of bandwidth. Those who are using it for huge files won't care because they will not be around "watching" and those that are doing things like email or searching for a review will see little difference. Wireless B will give more folks a fairer share of the bandwidth pie. I believe the range is better too.

    QUOTE(kcmoedoe @ Oct 5 2008, 12:14 PM) [snapback]13389[/snapback]

    Hi Pianotuna, Just a couple of thoughts. I would enable my home wifi security ASAP. Leaving your router unsecured opens your system up to anyone who wants to traffic over it. Even if your computer is shut down or with you in the RV the modem is up and functioning. Now it won't happen, unless you win the unlucky lottery, but what if a neighbor or just someone transiting the area finds your system is open and proceeds to download a couple of hundred gigabytes of child porn or uses your system to plan the next terrorist attack. You could find yourself the subject of a pretty embarrassing and scary investigation from law enforcement. It is very easy for law enforcement to trace traffic back to a router. It would be very inconvenient to have your home, RV and all personal possessions searched for a computer you do not own. Put a password on the system and stop 99.9% of all problems. If your computer is connected and turned on, your problems could multiply. A good hacker could attack your system and possibly steal valuable information. The modem is a substantial firewall and you defeat some of the security by leaving it open anyone. Downgrading a modem to wireless B will work to balance out bandwidth, but it will slow performance for all the guests. Things will not download as fast, so guests will have to wait longer for things like photos and videos to download. Since files cannot download as fast on "B" overall traffic on the network my actually increase since guests would be unable to download wanted files as quickly and then get off the network. It is my experience that on big files, many people just start the download and then walk away. I really like your other suggestion of just asking the guests to monitor and limit their high bandwidth traffic. I just hope it is not like asking a leopard to change his spots.
     
  19. lbacon

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    We believe that wifi should be FREE. We also are doing something about it...

    We use the Sprint Novatel S720 broadband card (EVDO) and a Linksys wrt54g3g-st wireless mobile router since we have 2 notebook PC's that need access the Internet. The Sprint service is $59.95 per month for all you do. There are no limits to bandwidth or any extra fees. The Sprint service has worked pretty much wherever we have been and at download speeds of up to 1.6mbps. We are currently in the Corpus Christie area and have a connection of 1.25mbps.

    We also have a 2nd Linksys wrt54g wireless router that we have set up (connected by wire/cable to the the broadband router) with an external 6db gain antenna (attached to the RV ladder) and the Sveasoft Hotspot firmware (http://www.sveasoft.com). We provide all of our neighbors in the park with FREE wireless connections. If you are in a park and see a wireless connection listed as "rvpctronics.com", connect to it... it's us... and it's free.

    Some of the parks that charge for it don't like our free site, but we really don't care.
     
  20. Florida Native

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    QUOTE
    with an external 6db gain antenna (attached to the RV ladder)


    How do you handle getting the cable from the external antenna into the coach. I run it through the window and put a little stick to prevent it from crimping the cord, but am not satisfied with this system. My antenna has a 20 foot cord and then I use an extension USB cable. The connection is not water proof. I have bee consider ring other possibilities but haven’t come up with a good system yet. I am sold on having a good external antenna

    QUOTE
    If you are in a park and see a wireless connection listed as "rvpctronics.com", connect to it... it's us... and it's free.


    You might consider using a name that it would be more condusive to having people know it’s free. I laugh at some of the networks that have names like “Don’t even think about hooking on.” as an example. The reverse would sure work. I have hooked up to a network entitled “Free Public WiFi’.
     

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