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> Is It Ok To Charge For Wifi, Should Campgrounds charge for Internet access?
Should Campgrounds Charge for WiFi?
Campground WiFi should:
be Free to entice more campers to the c/g [ 320 ] ** [78.43%]
be Free in the more "deluxe" sites [ 23 ] ** [5.64%]
be charged for on a per usage basis (recieve an access code at check in if paid for) [ 44 ] ** [10.78%]
be Charged for by an outside agency when loggin on [ 9 ] ** [2.21%]
not be a part of the camping experience (leave your technology at home) [ 12 ] ** [2.94%]
Total Votes: 408
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drmcleod
post Aug 21 2008, 10:16 AM
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QUOTE(RLM @ Jul 21 2008, 09:43 PM) *


What I found interesting in the poll questions is one of the choices relating to "Deluxe" sites. First, how does one provide Wi-Fi to a deluxe site and not the rest of the park? The system is predicated on radio reception and transmission. Secondly, if that were even possible, does that mean that the extra cost of a deluxe site includes "free wi-fi?" If there is an extra cost for a deluxe site, then again nothing is free.

Drmcleod> Please understand that I absolutely don't mean any disrespect, but you made several conflicting comments: It does not cost more.... The only additional expense ... Consider it a marketing expense .

And since you are a business owner, I suspect that you know that when McDonalds puts in Wi-FI it represents budget dust. Not even a blip on the P/L statement. Therefore, a private Scampground and Mickey Ds is not a good comparison.

If anyone believes that campground marketing tool of free Wi-Fi is true, then I've got a used car for sell that only my grandmother drove to church on Sundays.

Put me down for RELIABLE Wi-Fi. Free or not.


First, let me say that I am writing this post from a campground in northern Michigan which does have Wi-Fi, but it is not free (pay an outside agency for usage). I decide not to pay each time I check in to a c/g so I too have Verizon Wireless Unlimited Data access. This is a good option for those who are fed up with the Wi-Fi game at c/g's. When a c/g offers free Wi-Fi, I opt for this over my verizon as it is usually slightly faster and more convenient (don't have to hook up additional phone/modem).

Second, it is obvious that there are two types of posters... campers and c/g owners. To the owners, let me say "listen to what the campers are saying". They are your income. Look at the survey. Yes, I know that there are only 36 responses (as of this post), but the overall majority vote if for free Wi-Fi.

Next, to RLM, I don't take offense. In fact I appreciate your input. As far as the conflicting comments, they weren't intended to read that way... I apologize. "does not cost more" and "additional expense" were two separate statements. What I meant was, if you already offer Wireless Internet Access, then it should not cost more to open it up to the campers (shop around your internet service providers to ensure this. At the most, (if you aleady have the hardware set up) you might have to increase your bandwidth which could cost slightly more. However, this would fall under the "marketing expense" comment.

As far as the McDonald's/campground comparison, it is an acceptable comparison for two reasons. First, if you run a business, who do you want to copy? Me? I want to copy the success habits of the highly successful businesses. Second, cost. Each McDonalds which offers free Wi-Fi is done so by the individual franchise owner. They eat the cost also (no pun intended). If you have a small campground, then stick a wireless router on your computer and let all who get into range use it. You'll find that campers will appreciate this more than if you don't. As you're able to, then add on additional antennas and boosters, etc.

Finally, it is possible to offer deluxe sites Free Internet. How? Make your wireless connection secure and assign it a password. Upon check in, give the the access codes to the deluxe sites only. Passwords can be easily changed on a periodic basis to prevent abuse.

As for me, I agree with the posters who have stated that "we vote with our money". Good business owners realize this and will campaign for the business they want. Owners... campaign. Campers... Vote!!


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kcmoedoe
post Aug 22 2008, 03:30 PM
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I agree McDonalds is a bad example. Very few people would tie up large amounts of Bandwidth at a Micky D's. In an RV park, there will be multiple people uploading video, downloading photos, streaming video and using internet phone service. This uses large amounts of bandwidth and requires considerably more investment in equipment than would be required at McDonalds. Also, RV parks must cover acres of ground instead of a few thousand square feet. This again requires more and better equipment than a McDonalds would need. I don't really care if WiFi is free or available for an extra cost at an RV park, as long as it is available. I am smart enough to realize any free Wifi is built into the rate I am charged for the site. I just look at how much I am going to be charged for my stay and then decide if it is a deal or not. I can't believe that anyonw would cross an RV park off their list because WiFi was an extra charge. What if Campground A charged $40.00 Wifi included and Campground B charge $36.00 with a $3.00 daily fee for Wifi? You can't tell me Campground A offers a better value. Campground B would be cheaper for both users of Wifi and non-Wifi users. Many posts on this thread complain about being nickeled and dimed, however I can see where offering a variety of options for the RVer may allow us to pay only for what we want and need and save a little money in the process. P.S. I stopped at a McDonalds a couple of days ago and the wifi was available for a "nominal charge". That charge?, $9.99 per hour.
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pianotuna
post Aug 22 2008, 06:25 PM
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Hi,

A $75.00 omni directional antenna would allow a range of over 3/4 of a mile from the office. If they put that on a mast I'm sure one mile would be quite possible. As to bandwidth That can be managed by choosing wireless B rather than G or N standards. It limits users to 11 meg/second. A common garden variety Linksys wifi router from Walmart will accept up to 100 connections. If it is limited to wireless B then a dsl connection could handle over 60 campers without slowing on the download side and over 20 on the upload side.

If going to Wireless G the numbers get *low* very fast. It could only accommodate 14 on download and about 4 on upload.

The real problem is that campground owners are very much kept in the dark about what is and is not possible.

This is not a "huge" expense to a campground owner. Not like water or electricity.

[quote name='kcmoedoe' date='Aug 22 2008, 03:30 PM' post='12857']
In an RV park, there will be multiple people uploading video, downloading photos, streaming video and using internet phone service. This uses large amounts of bandwidth and requires considerably more investment in equipment than would be required at McDonalds. Also, RV parks must cover acres of ground instead of a few thousand square feet. This again requires more and better equipment than a McDonalds would need. I don't really care
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Florida Native
post Aug 23 2008, 12:56 PM
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I usually try to talk with the owners or staff about WiFi as I started a WiFi thread months ago and am interested in the subject. Frequently I am amazed at how little the owners know about the process. Lots of times I see a very long password with number, upper and lower case letters and ask the owners about it and they day they get complaints, but don't know how to change it or even that it is possible to change it. The main complaint I got was that neighbors used their WiFi. Changing a password is usually very simple and can be taught to anybody who knows how to type in minutes. Several owners said they had to get the "guy" to come change the password and they got charged a service call. One trick I use on the 25 diget passwords is type it into a word processing page and cut and past it into their startup page. I just had to replac my router at home and it required a 10 diget all numeric password. I like somethig I can remember easily


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RV Camper
post Aug 23 2008, 06:04 PM
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pianotuna,

I don't understand why a different view is agressive? huh.gif I have no problem with truely free wifi, but I don't see the need for me to help to pay for yours. It is a fact that more and more people are going to services from the cellular phone carriers so the demand could be effected. It may not, but only time will tell.

I really do understand that those who rely on RV parks or other open wifi links for internet clearly would prefer to find it free. But it very seldom is actually free. I read an article in an RV magazine recently in which the author claimed that his survey showed that the average cost for "pay to use" wifi was $4/day and that the average increase in nightly fees for parks that claim to have it for free(actually it is built into the price of a stay) is more like $5/night.

By way of example, two years ago we were in Nashville and stayed in an RV park which had wifi but was charging $3/night to use it. I used it as the lazy way since my dish is a portable and it was easier than putting up mine for one night. We ran into folks who we knew that were next door in a park that supplies wifi for free and they chose that park because of that added benefit. But they were paying just over $6/night more than we, so our cost after paying for wifi was $3 less than they paid.

My point is that it generally is not free. And there is added cost to the RV park even when it is included in the cost per night. Good equipment which will cover all sites in a park is expensive to buy and far from free to keep working well. In addition, the links that such places use to supply this service do cost extra because the contract always limits the number of users unless you pay extra for services and they need a much wider bandwidth in order to supply a large customer base than to use for just themselves. One of the reasons that so many parks have such poor service is that RV park wifi use is mostly in a very limited time period and sits idle or near idle the rest of the day. A large RV park with more than 100 sites, must have many access points because you can't have more than 15 to 20 users per access point.

Add to that the fact that while there are theoretically 16 channels, they all over lap and to have totally clear channels with no overlap, there are only three. All of this means that there is additional cost to a quality service and it is far from free. Now add to that the cost of antennas that cover the park, even with trees fully leafed out you then complicate the problem even more.

It may well be that the parks with the most amenities will do best over the long term, but the bargain parks are also doing pretty well. If I were to build a new park I would either go with the full service park which had things like swimming pool, game room and wifi. On the other hand, if budget is limited I would go with the bare bones park that has little more than full hook-ups and perhaps a restroom/shower. There is a good market for both.

The survey was about which you would choose to use. I'm not the only RVer who will choose the bare necessities type of park.

On the other hand, if you park near me and take the time to introduce yourself, I often share the password with a neighbor or two who need access to the internet. Many dish users do this.


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pianotuna
post Aug 23 2008, 08:00 PM
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Hi Kirk,

I believe there are not 16 channels in use in USA but rather only 1 through 11. Of those, 1, 6, and 11 do not overlap at all.

Each channel can handle up to 253 connections with a common garden variety Lynksys wifi router (The default setting is 50 connections) Transmitter is set at 28 mw but can be "turned up" to 80 mw safely (max setting is 251 mw *not recommended for long life*). Good equipment for a large area need not be expensive. A single omni directional 15 DB antenna will effectively boost that 28 mw to around 700 mw (allowing for cable and connector losses) covering a 1/2 of mile radius (and that is from inside an RV). Put it on the roof and the radius would be larger. If more connections are required the campground could get a 2nd router and set it to channel 1. If still more are required a third router could be added set to channel 11.

My local telco provides 1.5 meg access for $19.95 per month. 10 meg access is $54.95 per month. I do not see why this would be considered a huge expense for a campground. The Antenna cost is $75.00, the router about $65.00, Antenna cable $2.00 per foot (for the very best low loss cable). I suspect the largest cost is installation. Even allowing for equipment for 3 routers and 3 antennas the out of pocket costs may be as low as $4.00 per day for the entire campground.

The problems with reception have more to do with the signal path to the antenna. RV walls are not very radio transparent--particularly for Class A units with their metal studs. If the campground puts the Antenna on a twenty foot mast it would do wonders for reception inside campers.

My neighbors are all on channel 6--so I've jumped to channel 8 this works very well for me. After doing some research for this email it looks as if I would be even better to jump to 11 or 1.

It's very nice of you to share your signal with others. Perhaps one day our paths will cross and I'll come knocking on your door and ask to share your signal.

I prefer the campgrounds I find at http://freecampgrounds.com/ which are extremely low cost and often have excellent facilities. biggrin.gif

QUOTE(Kirk @ Aug 23 2008, 06:04 PM) *

pianotuna,

<snip>

My point is that it generally is not free. And there is added cost to the RV park even when it is included in the cost per night. Good equipment which will cover all sites in a park is expensive to buy and far from free to keep working well. In addition, the links that such places use to supply this service do cost extra because the contract always limits the number of users unless you pay extra for services and they need a much wider bandwidth in order to supply a large customer base than to use for just themselves. One of the reasons that so many parks have such poor service is that RV park wifi use is mostly in a very limited time period and sits idle or near idle the rest of the day. A large RV park with more than 100 sites, must have many access points because you can't have more than 15 to 20 users per access point.

Add to that the fact that while there are theoretically 16 channels, they all over lap and to have totally clear channels with no overlap, there are only three. All of this means that there is additional cost to a quality service and it is far from free. Now add to that the cost of antennas that cover the park, even with trees fully leafed out you then complicate the problem even more.

<snip>

The survey was about which you would choose to use. I'm not the only RVer who will choose the bare necessities type of park.




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Don
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Florida Native
post Aug 24 2008, 05:19 PM
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On the other hand, if you park near me and take the time to introduce yourself, I often share the password with a neighbor or two who need access to the internet.

This is something that I have never done or asked to have done. Just doesn’t seem right and not worth the $3. I am still of the opinion from talking to many campground operators that the actual cost is not as much as stated. I did talk to a installer of system in the redwood forest that had gone to extreme lengths to get WiFi to the park including miles of microwave type systems and lots of fiber optic cable. Mostly we have found inexpensive systems. We have countered this with our WiFi antenna.


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kcmoedoe
post Aug 25 2008, 03:12 PM
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Sharing a password that you obtained for a fee is stealing. If you had a full hookup RV site, would you feel it is ok to pass a power cord under the fence to the neighbors who needed a save a little money on the electric bill so they could run their window AC? Would you pass a hose to the people living in the house next door so they could water their lawn? Maybe just add a splitter to the Cable TV system and the apartment complex next door has cable for free. Just because you paid for internet access does not give you the right to provide it to everyone else. You may also unitentionally lock yourself out of the system. Many Hotspot passwords are managed by software such as Sputnik or Antamedia and only allow one computer to use the password at any given time. If you give out your password, that person may be on the system and you will be locked out. Report the problem to the office and they might access their Wifi management system and see your password is being used by someone else. It is attitudes like this that cause RV parks to have laundry lists of rules and why we so often run into surly owners that act like we are trying to pull a fast one, it appears some of us are.
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pianotuna
post Aug 25 2008, 03:17 PM
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Hi kcmoedoe,

Kirk has his own internet system and he chooses to share his wifi signal with others, if they ask him. This has nothing to do with sharing the password for a campground system.

QUOTE(kcmoedoe @ Aug 25 2008, 03:12 PM) *

Sharing a password that you obtained for a fee is stealing. If you had a full hookup RV site, would you feel it is ok to pass a power cord under the fence to the neighbors who needed a save a little money on the electric bill so they could run their window AC? Would you pass a hose to the people living in the house next door so they could water their lawn? Maybe just add a splitter to the Cable TV system and the apartment complex next door has cable for free. Just because you paid for internet access does not give you the right to provide it to everyone else. You may also unitentionally lock yourself out of the system. Many Hotspot passwords are managed by software such as Sputnik or Antamedia and only allow one computer to use the password at any given time. If you give out your password, that person may be on the system and you will be locked out. Report the problem to the office and they might access their Wifi management system and see your password is being used by someone else. It is attitudes like this that cause RV parks to have laundry lists of rules and why we so often run into surly owners that act like we are trying to pull a fast one, it appears some of us are.



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Don
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Texasrvers
post Aug 25 2008, 03:29 PM
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kcmoedoe,

You are absolutely right about someone giving out a campground's password. That is cheating and stealing and whatever.

However, I did not take Kirk's comment to mean that. He had mentioned that he had a dish and since the whole post was about WiFi access I thought he meant he had WiFi access through the dish. This would mean he has his own network which (if he is smart) is passworded. So the password he gives out is to his own network which is neither cheating nor stealing. In fact it sounds pretty neighborly.

Now I don't know kirk, and I could be completely wrong, but that is just how I read his post.
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kcmoedoe
post Aug 25 2008, 03:31 PM
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My apologies, I completely missed the fact that it was his satellite system. I'm taking myself to the wood shed and will administer the proper punishment. KCMOEDOE
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Joe-n-Doe
post Aug 25 2008, 04:21 PM
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While I think it makes good business sense to offer free WiFi to guests, be it a campground or hotel, I understand and respect the owners to exercise their prerogative in respect to charging or providing the service for free. Just as owners exercise their prerogative, we as clients can do the same and spend an extra 5 minutes or so on the road driving to a campground that offers "Free" WiFi.
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RV Camper
post Aug 26 2008, 05:13 PM
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QUOTE(Lindsay Richards @ Aug 24 2008, 06:19 PM) *

On the other hand, if you park near me and take the time to introduce yourself, I often share the password with a neighbor or two who need access to the internet.

This is something that I have never done or asked to have done. Just doesn’t seem right and not worth the $3.

unsure.gif You don't have to accept the use of my satellite signal for free if you wish not to, but I'll not take your $3 either. I have been known to accept a beer or such but that is about it. I have yet to force my signal on anyone!

As those who followed you stated, you clearly don't understand. I own a dish system (which many fulltimers do) and my receiver is connected to it's own wireless router, which is what most hot spots really are. Mine is password protected so not just anyone can use it, but I do share that password with selected people. But I won't force it on you!

By the way, we stay in Passport America parks a great deal of the time and we have found that few of them have wifi for free, if at all.


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Florida Native
post Aug 26 2008, 08:38 PM
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QUOTE
Kirk has his own internet system and he chooses to share his wifi signal with others, if they ask him. This has nothing to do with sharing the password for a campground system.


Sorry, I misread you statement about sharing the password. I'd be happy to share your satellite service. Don't the services charge on the basis of bytes transferred? I see to remember that there were levels of sevice and once you pass the threshold, it is more money.


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Just Jack
post Aug 30 2008, 02:24 PM
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I am a owner of a RV park and have read through most of the postings in this forum. I have considered free wifi. I think there are more factors involved. One of the main factors is location of the park, is it a remote location where satillites are required to receive a signal or is where a DSL or cable line available to the property. We have to use satillites which is very expensive therefore we charge for wifi. Guests need to consider this before demanding free services.
A couple of posting here come to mind. Is if fair to have free wifi and charge the same space rent to the person who doesn't use it or do I give that person a discount. I say no. If a park offers options when you arrive pick the ones you want to pay for them. If they charge for cable and you have a satillite do you need the cable, no, so you don't pay for it. If you have you own internet satallite do you want wifi, no. Pick the from the options offered and pay for them. One posting said they were at a park that had free wifi and the park had $50 router off of a computer in the back room that worked perfect. Is that a secure conection?
Another issue is most RV'ers traveling more than a week a year have a pocket full of discount cards. Good Sam to Passport America, AAA, etc. all wanting a better rate and full survices included. So everyone throw away your discount cards and pay the published rate and I will give you free wifi.
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