With an expectation that our guests need to work, stream, game, and attend school during their stay, we thought a lot about how to get fast internet and Wi-Fi for the Broughton Street House in Savannah. We use the house ourselves as often as possible. My daughter has gamed all night from the Carriage House. My son has done virtual viola lessons from the Map Room. And I have logged into numerous WebEx sessions from the Courtyard. Based on our experiences
FYI, none of the links below are affinity links. We’re not being paid to promote any internet service. Our goal is to show the choices we made, and how we hope to create the best guest experience.
Fast internet is good, but not if it runs out during your stay
We’ve experienced this before at a beach house we rented. The owners had a high speed internet connection, all was good, but on day three of our visit, which happened to be near the end of the month, things got REALLY slow. Suddenly none of us could stream. We were turning off our cameras to try and keep a decent connection on WebEx and Teams. And for the gamers, latency is not okay.
We couldn’t prove it, but we were pretty sure we’d hit the caps on the owners internet service. For normal household, data caps are annoying, but manageable. For a short-term rental, especially in busy season when you know you’re going to have large parties, it’s just not acceptable. We were only at that beach house for a week, so we weren’t the ones that used up all that data. However, we had the misfortune of being there toward the end of the cycle. We were the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Not cool.
The Broughton Street House had a couple of options for fast internet service providers, and Xfinity offers an unlimited plan. It does cost more, but it should prevent our guests from ever having the experience we did at the beach.
It has to be really, really fast internet
We’re proud that we can sleep up to 12 in comfort. But if 12 people are checking Instagram on their phones and the TV in the parlor while someone’s got their Home Pod streaming in the Carriage House, that’s going to take a lot of bandwidth. Again, Xfinity offers Gigabit speeds. In fact, they just recently upgraded the speed to 1.2 gigabit per second, which is pretty awesome. Outside of buying a dedicated private circuit, we believe this is the fastest internet option available in Savannah.
Fast internet, but the Wi-Fi has to be fast, too
An interesting thing about the Broughton Street House: It’s built of Savannah Gray brick. Even some of the internal walls are brick. On top of the brick is stucco. And the walls are thick. Fast internet to the house is good
We initially tried to set a single Wi-Fi router central to the home, but the Carriage House couldn’t keep a strong enough signal and the parlor was right at the edge of acceptable. Not fast is not good.
We discovered that Xfinity offers “xFi pods” that you can place around the house. The second generation of the xFi pods, in particular, are very fast and have great range. We placed multiples around the house to ensure there was no where on property you could go and not have a super strong, super fast Wi-Fi signal. To be sure it was all working, we did speed tests at various points around the house using an iPhone. We consistently measured a very fast internet speed of 600mbps or better from anywhere on the property.
The downside of these devices is that they only work with the Xfinity modem. We considered mesh wireless networks from Google, Eero, or other providers, but ultimately decided to go with getting the modem directly from Xfinity for reasons we discuss below.
Fast internet is awesome, but it has to be easy to support remotely
This was a big decision point for us. At our primary home we use a Google Wi-Fi mesh system and it’s very easy to work with. However, the Google devices (or any other third party Wi-Fi network) would require that we own our own router, which is what we do at home. For a Savannah vacation property we really wanted more than just fast internet, We wanted a “one phone call” support model. Having all Xfinity devices gives us that. If a guest ever reports that they don’t have fast internet, it’s definitely Xfinity, so that’s who you call. We’re able to provide Southern Belle all the account information so they can call Xfinity on our behalf.
It turns out the Xfinity app is actually pretty awesome for managing the account. We can see the router and all the xFi pods and check that they’re online. We can restart the modem remotely if needed. We’ve put all the xFi pods on Wi-Fi enabled outlets so we can restart those if needed, too.
High-speed but also secure internet
As much as we (okay, just Kevin actually) love to tinker with technology, security is just too important and things change too fast. We wanted built in managed security features that we could count on to protect our property and our guests from malicious actors. Since we decided to go with Xfinity equipment for the Broughton Street House, they automatically provide a security suite that implements some pretty good threat protection at the router and Wi-Fi access points. There’s some basic reporting letting you know that things are good, and the router is always up to date and secure.
The fastest internet in Savannah
The goal of all this was to be sure our guests could work, stream, and attend school with the fastest possible internet in Savannah. Our guests have told us consistently that the internet is very fast. We also use the property frequently so we can say with confidence that it works great for video conferencing. We know pretty much every AirBNB or VRBO rental says they have high-speed internet, so this won’t help us stand out in the listings. But we can say that our internet in Savannah is truly unlimited, fantastic Wi-Fi coverage, and very fast, so once they get to the property our guests should never experience some of the frustrations we’ve had at other properties.