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# 173247 16-May-2015 13:55
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ZENBU

I have had the misfortune to use wireless zenbu in our hotel in New Zealand for the last month. It is the worst service that my wife and I have experienced on our travels. We've travelled in Germany, Canada, USA and New Zealand. It is also the FIRST that we have had to pay for!!!

All the other countries there was NO charge for the Internet and most had ethernet ports (much, much faster) as well.


Friends of ours actually booked New Zealand hotels on the basis of FREE internet access and tried to avoid Zenbu. They only found Zenbu tolerable IF it was free.


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  # 1306338 16-May-2015 15:51
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Yeah, The datacaps are something from the 1990s on zenbu.




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  # 1306376 16-May-2015 18:25
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I'm in motels 7 weeks out of 8. There is one place I stay where she will give me a little 50mb voucher...
On the whole 4G on my tablet tends to be faster and I cannot be bothered faffing about with wifi. I guess it may be different if you were in a place for a few days. I'm only ever staying somewhere for one night.

But I'm not sure why they aren't all on unlimited and use a simple password. Cost I suppose.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1306380 16-May-2015 18:46
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I don't even bother with hotel Internet anymore; I have rollover 4G data so I just tether my phone. Simple. I'm amazed at how many places still charge exorbitant rates.

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  # 1306399 16-May-2015 19:32
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I won't want to make any comments on Zenbu, but do want to make some specific comments about free WiFi, and as a disclaimer by day job involves the installation of hotel WiFi systems (not Zenbu).

It's pretty much a myth that WiFi is free at hotels everywhere - that's coming from me who spent over 50 night in hotels last year in a number of countries around the world. In the US where WiFi is "free", it's typically free in lobbies, not rooms. Major chains such as Hilton offer free WiFi in room if you're Hhonors Gold or above. You'll also typically find it's lower cost chains that offer it, not mid to high end chains or brands. As I type this in Hawaii I'm staying at hotel with free WiFi throughout, and it's a system I'd be ashamed to be responsible for due to the poor quality and performance.

Many people are expecting free WiFi in the same way they don't expect to pay extra to watch TV - but the cost of delivering a quality WiFi experience to a hotel does not come cheaply, and as data usage and end user expectations grow, building a business case to upgrade such a system when end user data use and expectations is increasing is very difficult.

As somebody who deploy systems I've curious as to exactly what your expectations are. I've got hotels where it's not uncommon to see users pulling over 50GB in a night where usage is free, something that does impact other users. Do you consider this sort of usage to be fair? Should "free" WiFi be limited to certain areas or have limits imposed? Should the use of streaming video services be blocked or restricted? It's not uncommon to see this now occurring in the US because of the massive increases in data use that are occurring.

At the end of the day there is no such thing as a free lunch - even somewhere that has "free" WiFi is building that into their costs in the same way they build in cleaning rooms. Much like the quality of hotel rooms there will be some hotels that have great systems (and I'd like to think everything I've deployed falls into that basket) and systems that will be terrible.



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  # 1306459 17-May-2015 00:24
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Zenbu data caps are straight up ridiculous.

Knowing that you can set up a motel for well under $500 which includes labour and equipment for a motel to manage data allocations themselves annoys me when some spots choose to use Zenbu.

The big hotels have limitations imposed on them by their chains (crowne Plaza comes to mind) which they will never get around but for a joe blogs motel I don't get why they don't role their own.



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  # 1306476 17-May-2015 08:47

We're off on a road trip today so this will be just a quick response. The main problem is the flakiness of ZENBU connections and having your coupon run out in the middle of your work. I don't mind a little slow but do mind lack of reliability. I aslo suspect that ZENBU is either using your bandwidth for their own end or they have been hacked. How else to explain 150MB to send two text emails? You know no photos, etc. just text. That's 75% of one coupon!

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  # 1306480 17-May-2015 09:04
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could be amny things, your laptop or device trying to do updates, upload to the cloud anything like that. These days we are so reliant on "free" wifi that when we go to limited wifi we need to make sure our devices are locked down.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1306484 17-May-2015 09:17
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Friend found out the hard way that the metered connection option doesnt actually really do anything. Doesnt firewall all apps till you allow them, so steam and dropbox just go for it and blow thru the pathetic amount that counts as "free wifi"




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  # 1306500 17-May-2015 10:15
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AACTech: We're off on a road trip today so this will be just a quick response. The main problem is the flakiness of ZENBU connections and having your coupon run out in the middle of your work. I don't mind a little slow but do mind lack of reliability. I aslo suspect that ZENBU is either using your bandwidth for their own end or they have been hacked. How else to explain 150MB to send two text emails? You know no photos, etc. just text. That's 75% of one coupon!

mike



Zenbu is simply a router to manage the connection. It's normally installed by the person who owns the premises, or a handful of installers who go around installing things.

Delivering a quality WiFi experience has changed very much in the past few years. You can't get away with one or two "big high power APs" and think it will deliver an acceptable solution, yet that's the solution being delivered by many installers who do things on the cheap.

These places don't realise they have a poor solution - but it needs to be made clear poor solutions aren't just here, they're everywhere in the world as I can use the example of at the hotel I just stayed at in Hawaii.




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  # 1306540 17-May-2015 11:32
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richms: Yeah, The datacaps are something from the 1990s on zenbu.


Well – it is pretty much from the 1990's.. A relic from the days (not so long ago) when internet was expensive and options limited.

Polite feedback to the front desk might help. No one wants unhappy guests.

I'd guess many smaller acommodations are still with Zenbu just from inertia.
As long as it still works, the owner, perhaps older and not big users themselves, aren't up to researching & installing (read 'paying for') a better system.

I can see it from both sides.

We have a small acommodation in a remote area of NZ, and have to provide internet to our younger, and often tech savvy guests. For a long time – before RBI came along - our connection was via satellite.

Zenbu's marketed as no hassle, easily installed guest system - we trialled it but chose to set up our own controlled Wifi, a Unifi system. No help hotline, tricky installation issues, and requires the software continually running.
Things can easily go pear shaped. A quick power cut combined with a UPS fail shut down our computer running the system - $1200 internet overage before we noticed.

We travel overseas for several months each year ourselves and need internet.
Last year we spent a couple months in Canadian hotels. There are plenty of places where internet – in any usable amounts - isn't free! We check before booking..

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  # 1306544 17-May-2015 11:39
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AACTech: ZENBU

I have had the misfortune to use wireless zenbu in our hotel in New Zealand for the last month. It is the worst service that my wife and I have experienced on our travels. We've travelled in Germany, Canada, USA and New Zealand. It is also the FIRST that we have had to pay for!!!

All the other countries there was NO charge for the Internet and most had ethernet ports (much, much faster) as well.


Friends of ours actually booked New Zealand hotels on the basis of FREE internet access and tried to avoid Zenbu. They only found Zenbu tolerable IF it was free.



Yeah I would never use hotel paid internet if I can help it but there will be plenty of people on company trips with all expenses paid that would not care about the cost.  So there will be plenty of hotels that will continue charging like 1990.

Remember when it would cost $2/min to use the hotel phone, I am sure that less than 5% of people would ever pickup a hotel phone these days.  Hopefully the 1990's internet cost will go the same way.






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  # 1306547 17-May-2015 11:48
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cyberhub: Remember when it would cost $2/min to use the hotel phone, I am sure that less than 5% of people would ever pickup a hotel phone these days.  Hopefully the 1990's internet cost will go the same way.

A coworker was in Wellington a couple of weeks ago and when he got back he commented that he found one of the hotel policies strange: The in-room phone could only place local calls. My reaction was more along the lines of "people actually try to use the hotel phone?!".

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  # 1306550 17-May-2015 11:53
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We gave up on Hotel/Motel WiFi BB long ago, We just use mobile broadband using either my phones Hotspot or my wives hotspot. A couple of our favourite places to stay have Spark WiFi hotspots close. I don't have a big data cap but my wife usually hovers around 30GB available.




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  # 1306551 17-May-2015 11:55
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A slow insecure wi-fi connection at mini-bar prices still seems to be standard issue in most motels.




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  # 1306555 17-May-2015 12:00
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as sbiddle said,  this definitely isn't a 'NZ' problem.

Hotel wifi worldwide is terrible.  Of course there are exception,s but in my travels I'm yet to come accross hotel wifi that wasn't either

1) terrible terrible quality
or
2) uber expensive, such that mobile data was much better value.

Often, hotel wifi is both expensive and crappy - virtually everywhere around the world.

Doesn't seem to make much difference how good the hotel is either.  some of the best hotels have the worst wifi.
(and, for that matter, worst TV.  Hotel TV systems are about as archaic as the wifi - so many hotels don't have HD.

It would be so good for a hotel to offer decent SVOD services (Netflix etc) instead of the crud they have on offer right now



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