TengoInternet: Bandwidth Crunch Irks Parks

February 11, 2013 by   - () 6 Comments

Eric Stumberg

Staying ahead of the technology curve is the lifeblood of Texas-based TengoInternet, the oldest and largest wireless Internet provider for the outdoor hospitality industry. President and CEO Eric Stumberg talked with Woodall’s Campground Management writer Barb Riley about what’s coming up for TengoInternet and the industry in 2013.

The most pressing conundrum for campgrounds providing guests with Wi-Fi service will continue to be bandwidth crunch, according to Stumberg. “There are tons more and new types of devices on every network,” he explained. “Outside of improving networks to support volume, devices are smaller with lower-power antennae, so we have to bring the signal source closer to the guests.”

Another burden on bandwidth is how guests are using Wi-Fi. “What we’re seeing now is a huge shift to Internet-based entertainment – Netflix, Hulu, ESPN. Everything is video, which really taxes networks,” Stumberg said. “Then you have Canadian customers who get around international phone tolls by using Skype and FaceTime. All those applications are data-intensive.”

Stumberg said that’s more problematic now that people expect Wi-Fi to be as plentiful as it is at home. “After the network’s built, it’s like a utility; we just need to turn up the water. The problem is, we need more water.” Fortunately, providers like AT&T are finally ramping up efforts to increase the pipeline of available bandwidth; but, he said, “that will be an ongoing thing.”

TengoInternet itself has several items on the agenda for this year. One will address what Stumberg says is one of the biggest drivers of Wi-Fi equipment: clean power. “In a brown-out, a power strip may put itself to sleep to save itself,” he said. “Our new power strips have IP addresses, so if there’s any power to them and they can connect to the Internet, we can remotely reboot them.”

Another service TengoInternet will offer is traveler review monitoring. They’ve found negative campground reviews posted on a site like Trip Advisor by a guest who had Wi-Fi problems – but hadn’t asked for assistance. Now, TengoInternet will watch for such reviews and take care of the problem directly. Stumberg said, “We’re not waiting for someone to call in. We’ll monitor and manage these situations.”

Next is a virtual network design tool that uses Google Earth to build the plan around a campground’s specific layout. “We can co-develop it with you, or give us a site map and we can do our magic behind the curtain,” Stumberg said. “And when you build a network, it’s yours. If you want to pick up our services after that, fantastic, but otherwise, it’s yours and you can use it.”

Add a website revamp coming this spring and a new wireless device that’s “a little better, a little cheaper, and it looks nicer too,” and you’ve got what TengoInternet has in the queue for this year – all on its bedrock foundation of customer service.

“The fact is, it’s challenging to provide great service right now, but I love it because I think we can provide a lot more value to our customers than ever before,” Stumberg related. “Most of our customers just want their guests to have a great experience, and I can help them do that. That’s good for us, good for the customer, good for their guests.”


Location: 106 E. 6th St. Suite 900, Austin, Texas 78701

Phone: (512) 322-3959




6 Responses to “TengoInternet: Bandwidth Crunch Irks Parks”

  1. Aaron on March 22nd, 2013 12:27 pm

    So far very unimpressed with this service. In the last four months I have had the unfortunate opportunity to use it in the middle of Las Vegas and also in the middle of nowhere by the Grand Canyon. Fairly unreliable in both instances.

    The first month I had access to it it did not work at all. It took 5 weeks for it to get fixed. When it was fixed speeds varied dramatically. Not to mention if you use a slightly less than reasonable amount of bandwidth they throttle you back to speeds reminiscent of 14.4 dial up at times taking six hours to download a 10 MB file. The service is already poor and slowing it down is like a slap in the face. I feel I am paying for a service with my rent here and it is almost unusable.

    The login process is a pain every time you need to use your computer for internet. Very unimpressed.

    The one redeeming quality I can say is at least I can check my email when my phone does not get service. Other than that I hope they make it better or find a new platform to run on. I’m hoping the other parks I go to do not have this service as it is the root cause of all of my frustration at the parks I have been to that have it.

  2. Laverne on April 15th, 2013 6:02 pm

    “people expect Wi-Fi to be as plentiful as it is at home.” This is my home. I am not on vacation. There are a lot of people in my park (Timber Ridge RV Park) that use their RV as their primary home. So bandwidth is always a problem.

  3. Christyne Brudos on April 27th, 2013 8:48 pm

    Ditto and here here to Laverne above. . .Home is where my RV is. I homeschool and work from my RV. More and more the Internet is a necessity–not a luxury as Tengo seems to project.

    What is frustrating is getting “punished” by lowering bandwidth when going over some amount, which happens sometimes at crucial times. This done even tho I use the Internet at very off times than others in the park and now that it’s off season with a near empty park. . .I still get the punitive slowdowns!? Someone in the business end needs to figure out somehow to cooperate with businesses already in existence. Its not just about updating–you ll ALWAYS be behind!

  4. Caroline on June 7th, 2013 4:13 am

    Bandwidth limits are preventing me from downloading a necessary OS security update in a reasonable amount of time. At the rate things are currently going, the estimated time remaining says that I should have this update completely downloaded by some time around the middle of next week.

    I don’t consider this a frivolous use of the service, keeping my computer secure is an important task and since the park is my home as with the previous two people commenting on this, its not like I have another service “at home” somewhere else. Home is here, but the wi-fi internet service really just isn’t living up to modern standards, even in the off hours when it is getting low use. During prime time, I often cannot get a connection going at all.

  5. Howard on July 7th, 2013 11:30 am

    Speaking as a park owner in Oregon that has Tengonet, their customer service is non-existent! We have had issues with Tengonet since we purchased the park in May 2013. Customer Service has told us repeatedly that they have emailed upper management to try to get resolution, but upper management has not responded to them OR to us !! A couple of our customers have called them complaining about the wifi and they told the customers it’s OUR fault … yet they WILL NOT RESPOND to us to help us improve it !!
    We have another park up in Washington with a different set-up … looks like a change in our very near future !

  6. BC on September 1st, 2014 10:27 am

    I can understand park owners under-sizing their networks due to economics. They’ll pay eventually. But I can’t understand a so-called professional internet service and hardware provider not giving better advise. One example: Giving park owners the ability to throttle instantly translates into customer anger/irritation. If the park owner is of the opinion – supported by conversations with Tengo – that customers “shouldn’t” be streaming, then the park owner is very far out of touch with everyday reality. Try to get your daily news from any of the major sites without encountering large numbers of video streamed articles. CNN, for one, is virtually all streamed items.

    Park owners, listen-up: Either you provide what your customers want, or others will. They already are. I stayed in several parks this year with very aware owners and managers who proudly offered modern, very high speed and large capacity systems. As a customer, not only were my wishes satisfied but I had a clear awareness that ownership cared about what I care about.

    I was in the hotel business for more than 30 years. I have some small appreciation of how all of this works. Taking care of customers, that is. Deliberately taking steps to irritate and/or not service your customer base is not a path to business success.