Airbnb has been a revolution for the hospitality industry. With regular homeowners able
to list properties for temporary lets, the platform has been a boom with modern travellers.
Naturally, the most popular listings provide the best amenities at the most affordable price. Among the most important is broadband and inevitably strong, reliable WiFi coverage. Multiple guests may demand it for a variety of reasons and so it’s increasingly something we expect for a pleasant stay.Getting this right could give your let the edge, so in this guide we made in collaboration with Broadband Genie, we’re looking at the options you have when choosing a broadband service, as well as considerations for setting up a WiFi router.
Choosing broadband for an Airbnb
An Airbnb property is effectively a shared public space. During any booking period,
the key broadband considerations are the number of guests and their likely usage
How many guests?
You have to take the number of potential users into consideration. This will impact not only the necessary connection speed but the physical span of the WiFi signal throughout the premises.
More speed - gauged in Mbps or Gbps - will accommodate more users. You need to tailor the connection to meet that reasonable expected limit.
So a single bed studio flat may be ably served by cheap, and comparatively slow, ADSL broadband internet. However, for any more than two guests, faster fibre broadband options are more suitable.
What are they doing with the broadband?
Aside from the number of guests, it is important to think of their likely activity.
Consider first about who the Airbnb property targets most, maybe typical age groups and clientele. An apartment near an airport or trade district could be popular with business people who need internet for work purposes.
This could range from light use, maybe HTML-based page browsing and email (for which ADSL of around 10Mbps is suitable for an individual), up to more intensive file transfers, video streaming, or video calls. Likewise, a more family-oriented accommodation, catering for kids, could call for more bandwidth (30-50Mbps) to cope with demanding media streaming, gaming etc.
Keep in mind that the more guests - connecting multiple devices and potentially all watching video - the more bandwidth is warranted. But while you should always go for a connection offering unlimited data, it's unlikely that superfast (60-100Mbps+) fibre solutions are necessary unless you have a very large property, so you can save some money here.
The different connection types available have a direct influence over bandwidth, coverage and installation too. Most typically, your Airbnb property can choose from the following:
This is the most basic, usually slowest, fixed-line broadband connection. It requires an installed land phone line which is subject to line rental. If your property has landline phones and phone sockets, it is likely you can activate this most basic entry-level service from a variety of ISPs.
Average bandwidth rates tend to reach a maximum of 10Mbps download, with 1Mbps upload speeds. There is no guarantee of achieving this rate and bandwidth will fluctuate according to network activity or distance to the exchange.
Cheapest market solution with high availability.
Requires no specialist installation beyond a landline.
Average speed (10Mbps) is low.
Performance bottlenecks with even a handful of users.
Fibre broadbandFibre is a higher speed fixed line option that is fast becoming standard. In some cases, it is effectively an ADSL upgrade that utilises fibre optic cables running to the cabinet in your property’s street, so a regular phone is still needed. In other places, it is a “full fibre” service where fibre lines run all the way into homes. Virgin Media also operates its own fibre network separate from the BT Openreach lines which serve most of the country.
Far higher speeds than normal ADSL (most at least 3-4x quicker).
Much more reliable performance under heavier traffic.
Packages are more expensive than basic broadband.
May require a long contract.
You can find more information about fibre broadband and compare fibre broadband deals here.
If your property can’t have a fixed-line for whatever reason, then mobile broadband is an option. Like your smartphone, it uses a mobile network to serve a WiFi router within the premises.
Requires no fixed line connection to the property.
Can be fast, especially 5G.
Relies on network signal coverage in the area.
Often subject to usage/download limits.
Satellite broadband is an option for remote rural, countryside areas where other broadband is unavailable.
For example, if your Airbnb property is an old farmyard cottage within a tiny village in a Welsh valley – coverage could be limited. Satellite broadband “beams” a connection signal from an orbiting relay to provide the service.
When fibre, cable or mobile broadband isn’t possible then satellite could be the only choice.
Needs no fixed line cable link or mobile signal.
Provides reliable connections to remote locations.
Expensive installation costs.
Latency (lag) is an issue.
Unlimited data packages are not always standard and can be expensive.
Setting up the router
The router is the point of connection for your guests and provides the wireless WiFi signal. Making this “public” to them comes with a responsibility to protect and support it, so what are the key tips for getting this right?
Safe and secured
Enable Guest Wi-Fi – You can effectively ring-fence a wireless network only for your guests. This is most crucial when you live at the property and still accessing the same connection for your own use.
Use strong passwords – Protect the router’s admin controls with a long, complex password. And protect the WiFi with a strong password and WPA2 or WPA3 encryption. You might also want to regularly change the WiFi password to prevent unauthorised users from accessing the network.
Physical security – Consider locking the router unit away or at least physically tethering it to a surface so it isn’t stolen, damaged or disturbed.
You also want to ensure strong, versatile WiFi coverage for the network within the property. There are several options for giving guests adequate access:
Wi-Fi boosters – Often called extenders or repeaters, these units boost wireless signal strength over a wider area. Could be useful within a property boasting multiple floors and rooms.
Powerline adapters – Plugging into the electrical outlets, these adapters carry network signal via the mains to provide wired network sockets or extra WiFi emitters.
Wired network – Offering the best fastest connection, giving guests ethernet (wired) access to a network is especially preferred for business/office use.