Not your Father’s Wi-Fi

Not your Father’s Wi-Fi
By Tim Rout, CEO, AccessParks

At most RV industry conferences, there are roundtables where the topic is Wi-Fi. It is a subject that confounds many a park owner, usually sapping their operational energy and staff morale. It also robs them of precious star ratings on Google. In fact, 20% of hospitality reviews online mention Wi-Fi; it is the biggest hurdle to attracting guests of every demographic. The antiquated “DIY” state of telecom infrastructure in RV parks across the country has not changed since the Internet was invented in the mid-1990s. Experienced park owners have lots of scar tissue from snake oil salesmen offering failed solutions. And to make matters more challenging the last few years have seen a revolution in how the Internet is being used, making old systems unusable.

Today’s RV park guest brings with them an average of three Wi-Fi connected devices, including smartphones, laptops, smart TVs, Rokus and Firesticks. 70% of data usage is now streaming video. Another 20% involves sharing media about their experience on social media. Guests of every generation think of the Internet as a utility, like water and electricity, and nothing makes them more upset than when it doesn’t flow when they need it. Plugging Wi-Fi radios into DSL, cable modems or satellite might have worked in 2010, when guests were primarily browsing text on web pages. Those technologies are not commercial grade; they were designed to serve one residential home, not 200 devices streaming Netflix in HD. These ISPs typically assume a 25:1 “contention ratio”, where only one of 25 customer modems are actually passing traffic at any given time. What happens when 200 devices are streaming at the same time in your park? Gridlock from 6-9 pm when demand is highest; those …

A Life Well Lived

By Darrell Sisk, President

Thanks to all of your great feedback about that Camping meme from Facebook I shared last month, I decided I’d share another one that I recently saw. Superimposed over another stunning mountain hiking photo was this statement, credited to Diane Ackerman: “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen any other quotes from Ms. Ackerman, but I have to say I’m impressed by her thinking.

The daily grind has definitely made me all too often lose sight of the big picture. We’re only here for a relatively short amount of time, and do we really want to spend that time only getting by each day? Don’t we want to take an occasional break and break things up a bit, explore the world, or at least expand our horizons? I remember something from school about the unexamined life. My brother would know that line better, being a philosophy major and all. But I digress.

I was recently asked why I volunteer so much. For those of you don’t know me, I currently serve on three boards: CalARVC , a local animal welfare group, and our neighborhood homeowners association. The animal group is a true passion for both me and my wife. We love cats especially, and we were tired of seeing cats mistreated and actually even thrown away in boxes sent to the local landfill to be crushed by the heavy equipment there. So we started doing rescue work. A few years later, we were asked to help on their board when they lost their Treasurer and bookkeeper, and the rest is history. It’s been a fulfilling experience, maybe helping us live a little of that wide life Ms. Ackerman mentioned.

I’ve read claims that volunteering can yield physical health benefits for you and supposedly lengthen your life. There…