How Many Guest Devices? Design a Smart Guest Network

Did you know 76% of guests connect more than one device to hotel Wi-Fi? Your guest network needs to be ready to support all its potential users. And, it’s not just hotel Wi-Fi that matters; a good internet connection is a major factor of everyday life, from a hotel stay to apartment living, to riding the train, to going to a concert or sporting event.

The trickiest part of developing a guest network is correctly identifying the amount of devices you’ll need to support. First, you need to identify what kind of guest network you are creating. Then, you can break down the capacity of the venue, as well as the perceived usage of the guest network. Here are my suggestions for the different venue types:

Hospitality Networks: Skip Worst Case Scenarios

The standard of thought for hospitality networks is to take the total number of rooms and multiply that by 3 or 4. But basing calculations on those times when every room is booked and there are multiple devices in each room utilizing the network simultaneously is a worst case scenario type of deployment.

Most hotels are not always at full capacity, and even when they are, there will not be guests in every room utilizing the network at the same time. A smarter way to estimate guest devices is to take the 3 device average times the average occupancy rate, which still offers a buffer for devices located in the community spaces.

MDU: Don’t Forget About IoT

When determining the number of devices for longterm residences, factor in that IoT devices, like smart thermostats and light bulbs, Alexa or Google Home, increase the total number of devices significantly. 

The best way to look at an MDU network is to determine the number of bedrooms, as a guide to how many people would be in the unit, and then factor in around 5-6 devices per person, and then average out between the larger and smaller units. 

Hotspots: Capture Transient Devices

Hotspot network needs are easy to identify: simply take the capacity of the space and multiply it by two. To accommodate transient devices that move in and out of range of the network, factor in a small percentage of transient users to the total and limit the number of these devices that could need network support. 

Metro Installs: Consider the Space

To effectively develop a metro network, first, determine if it is necessary to include additional devices from businesses and residences along with those in open public spaces. Then, create limits accordingly.  Awareness of events and edge cases, like a popular sporting event, will help determine what is needed and keep costs from ballooning.

Stadiums: Plan For Full Capacity

When determining the guest numbers at a stadium, consider the number of devices that might be there and how many could possibly be using the network. Is there a desire to segregate the user devices between guest, employee, and VIP? A stadium might need to provide a larger buffer than most venues based on the transient nature and different traffic during various sold out events.

Correctly identifying the number of guest devices on the network being designed will set you up for success and allow you to determine the correct amount of supporting network equipment to install. Though some generalizations can be made, in-depth understanding of the venue is necessary for effective and efficient networks. Remember, capacity of a venue is not always the same as network usage, especially when total capacity is rarely – if ever – reached. 


Jeremy Cook is currently the product manager for the Nomadix gateways. He has worked with Nomadix for 22 years, joining the organization in quality assurance and moving through systems and pre-sales engineering and to his current role in Product Management.