Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Choose hotels by the quality of their WiFi (hotelwifitest.com)
671 points by gozmike on July 24, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 237 comments

One thing that I noticed, is that the more expensive the hotel, the worst is the WiFI. Same applies when I have to pay for WiFI - the more I pay, the worst it is.

I've found that 3 star hotels that offer free WiFI usually have the best speeds/service. Whereas 5 star hotels that usually charge $14.95 daily have the worst.

Oftentimes, the reason for this is that those hotels were particularly early in offering their guests internet access but then bought into a draconian external service provider with awful service, high fees, very long contract duration, and slow speed. Usually, when I'm in an expensive hotel with awful (paid) internet, I speak up and they explain this to me.

The last hotel where that happened explained to me that management bought into a internet contract in 2005 that will last until 2015 at which point they plan to simply rent their own DSL. But until then they're, by contract, obliged to offer their guests only their contract partners awfully slow internet.

Just like in business, small companies / hotels can move faster.

I can corroborate this. I did a network setup at a B&B that hadn't had any wi-fi since the place got internet.

We bumped up their ISP plan to proper business class and got an upgraded router to boot. I ran wire from it to each floor via existing conduit and set up APs. No middle-man slave master for internet and certainly anyone else can service the setup after I was done. No other contract except their ISP. Everyone was happy.

A neighbouring place just a few turns away had wireless quite early from some archaic monster and they charge a hefty fee too. I have better reception on my cell when I'm in a low valley than at that place - 2 bars max. All the guests were huddled in the lobby.

Hey EJR,

I am new to HN so not sure how to message you outside this thread. Do you have any links that could point me in the direction to do some of my own network setup at home? I'm just a beginner but would love to start learning and fix some stuff

"Eli the Computer guy" does some pretty interesting video tutorials on YouTube. He tends to go on and on a bit, but overall he does a nice job of explaining networking basics, how to run cables, use RJ45 connectors - this is very important if you run your own wire - and setting up routers/switches.

Edit: Here's the full playlist of his networking videos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rL8RSFQG8do&list=PLF360ED108...

Also, HN doesn't have a private messaging feature. If users don't put their email in the free-text field on their profile, there's no way to get in touch with them privately.

He probably also doesn't know that he isn't getting any 'notifications' for reply on his comments and most probably he's not going to see this either :D

Haha, I'm an avid reader of HN, so I tend to revisit articles to check for updates.

Thanks for the help everyone

The standard solution (via Coase's theorem of economics) is that they should just buy out the contracts, but it seems this isn't happening. I wonder why this is.

Because the customer doesn't find out that the wifi is crap until they've already bought it, and they don't have an easy way of disputing the charge either. So unless repeat customers complain/start walking, the hotel has little incentive to pay money to fix this.

They don't care, switching is a pain and the given excuse is offered just to pacify the complaining customer. "Nothing we can do."

Because even Coase himself showed that his theorem is BS in real life situations: "In this 1960 paper, Coase argued that real-world transaction costs are rarely low enough to allow for efficient bargaining and hence the theorem is almost always inapplicable to economic reality."

Here we see in a smaller scale what a lack of ISP competition does to a region. This is basically what many municipalities bought into in order to afford Comcast's infrastructure 15 years ago.

I've asked a lot of hotels about these things, I was usually told that it's the hotel that doesn't want to pay a little extra for the higher speed uplink (by the support), or that they've already exhausted their budget for this year (believe it or not, the budget thing was at Hyatt House once).

I'm not sure that many places would be under a 10-year contract; that sounds like too long a contract (especially if the company wants several grands for support on a regular basis; I think 3 to 5 year contracts would be much more common and reasonable). Even if they are so long, crappy WiFi could as well be ground for breach-of-contract, and they should be able to have the vendor get busy.

This is true. I worked for a global telecoms company with hotel groups as customers for several years. It was shocking how slow some of their connections were, and expensive too.

What is stopping them from offering a parallel much faster WiFi?

They dont have to break their contract - pay the "external service provider" their fees, and still have money left over to pay for a real service - fast and non-shitty WiFi.

When it comes to 4 or 5 star hotels, I am surprised by this bullshit.

What they are in effect saying to you is "we made a bad business deal and it costs us too much", to which I replied -in a similar situation, 4 star hotel with 1992 wifi (yes it didnt exist at the time so shitty was it) -- "I must have made a bad trade myself, to pay for stay with wifi when the wifi in fact imaginary, good day" and never went to that hotel again, found a 3 star later on with 100mbps and uncongested wifi.

Its not like paying for good WiFi will bankrupt them.

> What is stopping them from offering a parallel much faster WiFi?

Exclusivity clause in the contract possibly. They could buy out the rest of the contract, but that could be quite expensive (and the other party is under no obligation to agree unless there is already an option defined in said contract).

Even if the WiFi exclusivity is not explicitly stated there might be a clause about the hotel ensuring there is minimal interference with the service and setting up another set of APs on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands could be claimed to breach that clause if the provider wanted to get litigious.

For chain hotels it is even harder as the decision of who to use to provide the service could be out of their hands.

> They could buy out the rest of the contract, but that could be quite expensive (and the other party is under no obligation to agree unless there is already an option defined in said contract

What kind of dumbmass businessman signs such a contract? No matter the price, the contract should have included "responsibility to meet customer expected speeds and availability of the wifi service provided". And then cut the contract because they arent in fact providing a usable wifi.

I think its just a bullshit excuse to keep paying very little while not giving a crap about their customers - since they got the 4 or 5 star rating anyway.

This website is great - I will use it.

Yes, but any such clause is wrapped in arbitration requirements which cost time if nothing else.

I'm surprised that many business people sign bad contracts, but it happens a lot especially with long term contracts like these.

Your parent stated clearly "But until then they're, by contract, obliged to offer their guests only their contract partners awfully slow internet."

So it's in the terms.

I considered replying to that comment stating how I would write the telco's legal department to get them to release this provision but to be honest given the way lawyers feel they need to represent their companies the answer would probably be, "no."

I would say words to the effect of: 'this is a historical provision from a time when it was unclear what pace the Internet would be adopted, by buying into such a long contract early, we supplied (telco) with much-needed sales commitment which thanks to early adopters like us is part of why your company (telco) was able to take an early lead in deploying out (infrastructure). At that time nobody could have guessed the speed with which infrastructure would be deployed, and unfortunately the speed we have contractually bought into no longer serves our customers. For some context, visiting executives have actually resorted to visiting the reception area of the fleabag inn down the street, where they even have hostel "dorm-style" rooms (6 beds to a room), and probably pay around $79.95/month for their 100 megabit package simply due to how late they were able to deploy. This reflects very poorly on us, and we have had to make various excuses, but of course never giving (telco's) name, as the guests might not have all of the above context. As we are materially affected in our business by some of these experiences, however, we have had to review our possibilities. We believe in the contract with (telco) and agree that its financial terms are valid, made sense at the time, and we are happy to honor it until its expiration. However, one clause in particular prevents us from pursuing unrelated mitigation. A good technical solution would be to offer a parallel, current solution, while continuing to pay the full terms of our contract with you. What is preventing us is, specifically, clause 7.6 of the attached contract, that states we are obliged not to offer a parallel service to our guests. We'd like your permission to be relieved of this requirement, as it is becoming an unconscionable burden, but does not impact you financially in any way. I am sure you agree that (telco) would not pursue legal action for doing the absolute minimum we can to service business customers, and in fact as we agree with and understand our contract we are happy to continue to make payments on it during the full term. We would simply like to be able to augment the level of service we had agreed, which no longer lets us compete effectively, and seek your permission to do so whilst honoring the full payment and other terms of our contract with you. Thank you for your attention."

To be honest I couldn't think of a way to do that so that a corporate lawyer would say, "sure." Well, the above is worth a shot anyway.

Well, if they have such shitty people to sign such a one-sided contract... I doubt they could get their thumb out of their ass to try your worthy piece.

Seriously, to include "no parallel service" in a contract but also not to include "contract is invalid when or if telco does not keep up the speed, availability and reliability to the following requirements X and Y and Blah". Requirements such as "to provide a stable connectin with throughput X% of latest wifi standard after at least 6 months and latency Y to Z*1.2 amount of rooms.".

Sure, a hotel can mess it up, and us as guests can mess up as well and happen upon a 4 or 5 star hotel that costs a leg and doesnt have wifi. This website/application we will mess up less.

I was once in a Marriott that gave free Wi-Fi to Apple devices and charged all other devices. I didn't know about the Apple deal till a colleague on the same trip told me he was getting it free on his Macbook Pro. Needless to say, I spoofed my MAC address and User Agent and got it free as well. Not sure which one it was actually checking, but probably the latter.

Anyway, something to be aware of.

Maybe they think guests using apple are more valuable, but it's stupid thinking and doing.

Don't let Stephen Heymann or Carmen Ortiz catch you doing that. They indicted Gary Host on some pretty serious charges for this.

Good tip but is it sensible to admit to several criminal offences on a public forum?

There was no visible policy. As far as I'm concerned, it was free Wi-Fi for User-Agent X, so I used User-Agent X.

Whereas it's obviously silly to suppose that gaining access to Wi-Fi is a criminal act worth worrying about, it's also worth pointing out courts reject arguments like this.

In particular, in more serious legal matters, the fact that you admitted you understood the intent of the policy would be held against you. Courts simply don't buy into the idea that "if something is technically allowed, it's authorized", any more than it's legal to enter through a window if a door is locked.

> courts reject arguments like this.

If by "arguments like this," you mean following the law but with suspect motives, then one of the strengths of the legal system in the US is that the courts absolutely accept arguments like these.

In criminal matters, you typically need both intent and some act forbidden by statute before a finding of guilt. You can't indict someone for ill will.

Intent alone is not generally sufficient for a conviction is the US, save for some cases of special liability (attempts, or some forms of aider and abettor or conspiracy). Sometimes intent doesn't matter at all, but that's generally reserved for traffic cases or statutory rape, where intent would pose special difficulties proving beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

I can think of only a few notable counterexamples where a court made inferences about true intent and made a finding against a party despite a standing rule that would have let them off. MGM v. Grokster could be read that way. Grokster ran a service with "substantial noninfringing uses," which was previously sufficient for a defense of fair use. However, Grokster was found to infringe based on their constant encouragement for people to use their services to infringe. Grokster had "the object of promoting [their service's] use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement." You could read that as a sort of retroactive punishment for ill intentioned behavior.

Here's the twist though, that wasn't criminal law. There's generally a much higher bar for criminal law to strictly apply statutes as written. In civil law, both parties are citizens with equal rights before the courts, so there's more of a balancing test. In criminal law, most presumptions run against the state.

This isn't just a US twist. A German scholar of jurisprudence, Friedrich Carl von Savigny, was one of the first to argue that criminal (and tax) laws must be interpreted as narrowly as possible, because people deserve fair and clear warning of what is allowed and prohibited. See also the "Rule of Lenity" in statutory interpretation, whereby ambiguous criminal statutes are interpreted in favor of the defendant (wikipedia points to McNally v. US and a few other relevant cases): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statutory_interpretation#Canon...

This isn't just a convention in the US though, judges cannot extend criminal laws to criminalize novel activity, because that would violate prohibitions against "ex post facto" laws under Art. 1 Sec. 9 of the Constitution. Ie, the Constitution forbids making some act a crime after it happened, the state must provide advanced warning. (Well, technically it's a violation of 14th Amendment Due Process, since Art. 1 Sec. 9 only binds the legislature, but similar principles apply). A fuller treatment can be found on this issue from the Supreme Court in Bouie v. City of Columbia and Rogers v. Tennessee. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bouie_v._City_of_Columbia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogers_v._Tennessee

Although dissenting, and again not in criminal law, Scalia provided a nice quip on the subject in the recent Aereo opinion: "It is the role of good lawyers to identify and exploit [legal loopholes], and the role of Congress to eliminate them if it wishes." American Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo, Inc., (Scalia, dissenting)

(To the point of the intent required by the CFAA, which might be in question here, Kalow v. Springnut would probably be illustrative: http://blog.internetcases.com/2008/07/17/cfaa-requires-inten... )

It's not about following the law with suspect motives. It's about the fact that following the technical protocol does not give you much defense against unlawful access charges.

That's absolutely correct.

I was responding to the naked phrase "technically allowed," which in hindsight is ambiguous (ie, "allowed under the law via a technicality," or "technologically feasible").

Rereading, I still think I interpreted correctly the first time, but really can't be sure.

Good catch.

> In criminal matters, you typically need both intent and some act forbidden by statute before a finding of guilt. You can't indict someone for ill will.

Obtaining goods by deception seems to cover this. Especially with the public admission of "I siged on, and had to pay, but discovered that my colleague did not have to pay so I was deceptive about the equipment I used, and the only reason I was deceptive was to avoid the requirement to pay".

There is no element in the discussion about needing to change user agent for work or anything else.

> Obtaining goods by deception

aka "false pretenses" or misrepresentation statutes.

Sure, this could fall under those statutes in jurisdictions where that covers services. Defendant would have several ways to make that case a nightmare, to the point where I see it as basically absurd to prosecute, but still conceivably illegal.

I wasn't trying to comment on whether there's some action involved in logging into a network that could satisfy some element in criminal law though. There absolutely could be some "actus reus" from a login.

I was really just intending to respond to the general comment about courts accepting arguments of the sort like, "this is technically permitted under the law, therefore legal." Maybe I misread that point though, maybe cynicalkane's "technically allowed" meant "allowed by the protocol" not "technically allowed by law."

In which case, consider my wandering diatribe above thoroughly moot. :)

Can you find an example in case law where someone's been prosecuted for obtaining access to a system by spoofing their MAC ID or user agent string?

Surely this has come up before now, yes?

Are you making an oblique reference to Aaron Swartz?


But no, I probably can't find cases in courts. But then, I probably wouldn't be able to find cases where people steal the pillows, but that happens although it is a different law.


> I spoke to the Metropolitan Police on the law regarding towel-lifting. “It is a crime,” its spokesman said. “If we were to receive allegations, we would follow them up.” In reality, it appears most hotels would be more likely to blacklist a guest over a petty theft, charge the items to their card, and save the police the trouble.

This is likely to be the case with fraud, which is both civil and criminal. The criminal fraud is probably tiny (unless you do it in every hotel you go to) and the hotel probably doesn't want the negative publicity. And they probably don't want to encourage the practice of user agent spoofing. So if hotels do care, and do take action, they'll just charge the credit card and block-list the user.

There's probably a reason for the fact that there has never been a criminal case such as you've described, and it's for that reason the above poster is safe in writing what he did.

So, you ignore the bits of the Swartz case which were about his access of a network by spoofing MAC address and user agent?

You also ignore all the "piggybacking" cases?

Here are a few: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_piggybacking#Unite...

Here's the Met Police saying that they intend to prosecute all such behaviour: http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/08/22/us-britain-wireles...

Still: I'm not sure how you conclude that it is not fraud just because no-one has been to court yet.

Read what I wrote more carefully.

I said that the same reasons why there has not been a court case are the reasons why the above commenter can safely write what he has written without fear of prosecution.

What about, say, Safari browser itself, which presents "Gecko" in it's useragent string? If it is a punishable offence, imagine how much money one can extract from Apple for doing so...

Did you even read the comment you are replying to? Intent matters.

Surely spoofing the user agent is unobjectionable at worst, and spoofing the MAC address perhaps only mildly discouraged? I can't imagine its actually being illegal (but, then again, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_piggybacking for unexpected illegalities).

Well, it depends what the hotel policy is. If it's "free wifi for Apple devices" then there's some kind of fraud happening.

The fact that the hotel is incompetent in preventing that fraud by relying on UserAgent seems less important than intent of user when changing UA string.

I'm not sure that I agree with that interpretation --if you stand on the street and say "free hugs for Georges", and I say "I'm a George", has fraud occurred? I guess that I mean --is any misrepresentation, even in the absence of a contract, a (legal) fraud?

Literally every browser out there sends a user agent that is in some way lying. Anyone trying to authenticate based on a user agent is a victim only of their own stupidity, not any sort of crime by their guests.

Good thing you're not a lawyer, because it's certainly illegal in the UK...


Good thing there are other countries in the world apart from UK and US.

It looks to me like that only clearly applies to unauthorized access to programs and data stored on a computer. Unauthorized routing of packets through a computer is not obviously covered by that law.

The very, very first clause:

    > he causes a computer to perform any function with intent 
    > to secure access to any program or data held in ***any*** 
    > computer

No. That's not sufficient to classify the action as illegal. If you're accessing a public website, but through a wireless router that the owner doesn't want you using without paying for, then the data you're accessing is still data you're authorized to access (it being a public website, after all).

To get charged under this law, you would have to be accused of the unauthorized access of something on the router itself, since that is the only relevant computer you aren't authorized to use. The charges against you would have to be based on the theory that sending packets with a spoofed MAC address or user agent is accessing the routing program and tables on the router in an unauthorized manner. That argument delves much deeper into the law than just the first clause.

You're talking about computer misuse law - there are existing cases in UK and probably US that cover this.

Here's one BBC article that talks about it: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6960304.stm

> The Communications Act 2003 says a "person who (a) dishonestly obtains an electronic communications service, and (b) does so with intent to avoid payment of a charge applicable to the provision of that service, is guilty of an offence".

Seems pretty clear. A person is paying for hotel access; notices their Apple-device using colleague is not paying; spoofs the user agent; - these seem to cover all the points of dishonesty with the intent to avoid paying for a service.

Even if the hotel is in a country that doesn't have that particular law there is probably some fraud law that covers the actions. (I realise now that I should have mentioned the fraud because that's the more serious offence and it seems some people missed my point).

That's an entirely different law from the one that peteretep cited. His assertion that it's illegal may in fact be correct, but his justification was complete bullshit. The fact that you've found a law that is relevant doesn't make him any less wrong.

Yes, people who are relying on user agents are stupid.

That doesn't make it any less illegal to use the useragent to deceive someone about what equipment you're using purely to avoid paying a charge.

IANL, but that probably isn't illegal.

A hotel says "free wifi for Ape devices. Everyone else has to pay". A hotel guess decides to misprepresen. What device they have. The only reason they misrepresent their device is in order to avoid paying the charge.

I'm not a lawyer but that feels pretty clearly like fraud.

You forgot the </sarcasm> tag.

Oh DanBC, your comments never disappoint.

They talk about this in one (hilarious) episode of the Jeff & Casey show: http://mollyrocket.com/jacs/jacs_0004_0011.html

    Jeff: Okay, this is weird. I can’t seem to connect.
    Casey: Oh, okay.
    Jeff: So, one of the things where you connect and then you have to go to the webpage…
    Casey: Oh, right, make sure that you pay your $15 a day or…
    Jeff: Yeah, exactly. I call them downstairs and they’re like, “Yeah, the system that takes the orders for the [inaudible 15:00] was down,” not the internet, the chip where they just want to charge you the bullshit. This was a $400 a night place, mind you.
    Casey: Right.
    Jeff: It’s not cheap.
    Casey: Oh, yeah. This is what I said. This is what I just said on a recent episode of Jeff & Casey… The one with the whale actually, the whales when we were talking about Blackfish… I said the more you pay for your hotel room, the more likely you are to get fucked on the internet. If you pay $50 a night for your hotel room, you get free internet. You get… If you pay… If the cost of your hotel room is less than what you pay per month in internet charges at home, you will get free internet…
    Jeff: If there are bugs, you get internet.
    Casey: Right. Yeah. I don’t know how that’s possible but that is the truth.

> Whereas 5 star hotels that usually charge $14.95 daily have the worst.

The people that stay in these hotels normally aren't paying for the rooms (business trips for instance), so the company will pay the cost of the wifi for the duration of the stay without question

That kinda depends on the company policy. I'm a systems software engineer; I've had a fly-in interview with Goldman Sachs in NYC in 2010 from grad school (I was cold-called by a third-party recruiter company through LinkedIn or something), Goldman has placed me in Embassy Suites next door to their office -- supposedly, they even own the whole hotel. The internet was 9,95, and I was explicitly told that they won't pay [to their own hotel] for my internet. (The hotel stay itself was billed directly to their account, but internet access was excluded.)

You could panhandle for ten the bucks. OTOH, no company that expects a person to read or send an email, or do any other internet-ish thing can expect their employees to subsidize their business while on a business trip.

My company pays for me to have tethering on my iPhone so I not really supposed to also expense internet at a hotel. Of course this is fine for doing work stuff like email, but when you're in a hotel for 4 days it's nice to have Netflix, which obviously is not ideal on a tethered cell connection.

I used to be a frequent business traveler... and while I didn't mind the charge, poor speed/reliability was enough to avoid a hotel on future visits.

5 star hotels aren't really for most business travels though. I mean, if you are an exec ya, but usually you just get a 4 star Hilton at best. 5 star hotels are for rich people who won't notice.

5 star resorts usually ding you for lots of things, its how they make money (travelling next week to Thailand, psychologically prepared but at least the internet is free).

> 5 star hotels aren't really for most business travels though. I mean, if you are an exec ya, but usually you just get a 4 star Hilton at best. 5 star hotels are for rich people who won't notice.

Ah, I know that. (WEll actually, I don't. Ive never stayed in a 5 star hotel before). but, I was just making the point.

> 5 star resorts usually ding you for lots of things, its how they make money (travelling next week to Thailand, psychologically prepared but at least the internet is free).

Thailand is fine for that. I stayed there last year, (around this time) for about a month, and stayed in 4 star accomodation most of the time for less than 30 bucks a night (euro) for two people, and we always got breakfast, wifi, and towels. My advice is book one night in a hotel, and go in to the reception and ask how much it is to stay on. You'll normally get 3-400 baht off.

Now I want to go back to thailand..

Good resorts in Thailand are at least $200+ a night, though you can get beachside bungalows in Koh Chang for $40/night.

Last time I was in San Jose, I was surprised by how terrible the WiFi was at the hotel I stayed at. You could tell most of the guests were programmers, yet I could barely get 96k. And I specifically asked for a room close to the router. I guess maybe the boom in Silicon Valley means hotels can fill rooms without having competitive WiFi?

So true... I've stayed at the fairmont in SF and San Jose, both of which charge $15 for slow internet (unless you opt for the club where they usually bill you anyway and use your information to bombard you with ads). They even charge for the crap gym haha. I tend to steer clear now

The Fairmont put in wifi in the ninties, and let the dust collect. I worked at that facade. The Swiglets were too cheap to upgrade. RIP dad!

Could it simply be higher ratio of bandwidth hungry wireless consumers just saturating their reasonable network?

If you're an employee travelling on business, your company might have a per-night budget for hotel accommodation. If your budget is $150, then you can't stay in a $160 hotel. You _can_ probably stay in a $150 hotel which charges $15/night for internet access. You'll expense the hotel (within the budget) and expense the internet access fee (reasonable expense whilst travelling).

The hotel gets an additional customer. The employee gets to stay at a slightly more expensive place than the official budget allows. The employer loses.

I'm ignoring the speed/latency/packet-loss etc., of course.

Same experience. I can't believe that such high quality hotels have such low standards for internauts.

Every time my company schedules a stay in such hotels, I happily downgrade my stay to somewhere else.

Hotel chains are in a far worse situation: I stayed twice in a Novotel and I had to pay for a crap wifi, I'll never cross their path again.

Most of their customers don't care. They're either not price sensitive, expensing it or have some form of status with the hotel so the fee is waived.

Business travelers expense it and really don't care about the price.

I would wager most are staying at chains where they hold status and don't have to pay either way.

My experience is the smaller the hotel, be it 3 stars or 5 stars, the wifi is generally better. So population is also a problem. Though you can argue that a big 5 star hotel should provide exceptional service compared to a big 3 star hotel. That's true. But thought I'd throw my 2 cents.

Working even further down the line, free wifi even in tricky locations was the universal standard in hostels 10 years ago.

we had this exact convo @ lunch today. The worst is the double charge for "Turbo" bandwidth. No one charges for bathrooms why charge for WiFi the incremental cost per user is less.

I understand your point, but I wanted to mention that other countries do charge for bathrooms (even NYC charges for public washrooms), so you can use a better example in the future!

Tip for travellers: Learn how to set a static IP address on your devices. I've been travelling through South East asia for the last 3 months and at about 20 - 30% of the hotels I stay at the WiFi works fine but their DHCP does not. I presume this is because most routers in default config cache IP address for clients and when they run out of free IP address they just fail to assign new ones to new clients. If you notice the wifi works but your computer or phone times out when connecting set your ip settings as below:

IP Address: 192.168.1.xxx (xxx being between 50 - 200) Netmask: Gateway: DNS:

This has worked for me in 90% of cases and you get your own private WiFi (as none of the other guests can access it ;)). There was one place I stayed at in hanoi where I got my own 90Mbps / 40Mbps connection due to nobody else being able to get on.

Sometimes the ip is 192.168.0.xxx and on rare occasions it's been 10.0.0.xxx.

I've tried to help hotels fix this issue as I go but it seems most either get some tech to setup their router or plug it in and keep the default settings (sooo many places have 'admin' as their router password) and don't know how to fix it.

xxx being between 50 - 200

You're probably better off with a lower number that would likely be outside of the dhcp pool. It's fairly standard to set aside the first 5-20 addresses for future network equipment.

I am not sure whether the people who set up off-the-shelf residential routers with default settings are going to follow standard best practices for network design... ;)

I really need to educate myself further about these sorts of things. Great tip, much appreciated!

Just note this probably won't work in the US. Most hotels here do not use a Class C subnet unless it's a shitty motel running off of a linksys router.

What do they use instead?

I used to do consulting and traveled 100%. The term "High Speed Internet" is a common misnomer with Hotels, and was a bane of my existence, because it typically meant > 56k but < 1 Mbps speeds.

These were with Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton hotels, mind you. If aggregaters like Hipmunk could incorporate this speed data, the way that they have with in-flight wifi, then hopefully there will be a push to improve this standard.

Ideally I'd like for Hipmunk not only to display the speed, but also optionally include the price in the totals, so that hotels with more-expensive wifi are penalized when hotels are sorted by price. I'm going to pay for it every day anyway if I go to that hotel, so I may as well have it reflected in the total.

I thought the same thing (re: hipmunk) -- working on it!!

Hey Alexis - have you evolved completely from kn0thing these days? (Wow does that sound meta-physical. Haven't we all evolved from nothing?)

I find the whole 'real name online' discussion fascinating, and would love to hear your thoughts / experience. (Apologies if my google-fu has failed to produce any previous explanation on your part.)

Gotta love HN for comments like this.

As a fellow traveling worker, I find the same problem.

For this subset of society, wifi speed is a crucial deciding factor. Top 3, for me, at least.

Wouldn't you just get a mobile hotspot? Or are you traveling to places with poor cell reception?

Mobile hotspots are good but expensive. My wife and I have been working/living off one for the past 6 weeks and we're averaging around $100/week on internet costs even with extremely limiting our usage.

How much data are you consuming? $100 a week!!

If you are in a Virgin Mobile (Sprint) 4G area with coverage - then buy one of their hotspots (used on ebay to save $$$), $5 a day buys you all the data you can eat & it stays fast. You can connect more than 2 devices. Save $86 a week.

Alternativly, get on Verizons pre-paid plan: $45 a month for unlimited voice & text, subscribe to auto-pay & you get 1GB a month for free. You can buy an additional 3GB for $20 - you have 90 days to use up the data, the use your iphone as a hotspot.

A bit over 10Gigs a week between two people with a Verizon mifi.

Virgin would give us around 1.7gigs per week at the $5/day. It would be more expensive at our levels.

opps - looks like my $5 a day, 4G all you can eat plan is grandfathered in.

I have a Clear hotspot that costs me $55/m for 10/2 Mb and is unlimited use. The only time they've throttled me was when I watched Netflix for 8h straight.

Things like Clear are designed as home internet solutions so they have very small coverage areas. They don't work well for travelling.

I've traveled many places in the US with it. Clear's WiMax network is the basis for much of Sprint's connectivity so it's all over the place. It has worked in every US city I've tried it in.

Do you mostly travel around the East coast? Sprint seems to have pretty good coverage in the north east. Outside of that it looks like a few major market cities though.

No, I've traveled all around the US with it. West, east, midwest. It generally doesn't work well outside of cities but many small cities have towers.

Not to mention hotels like, for example, the Hyatt Santa Clara that make you pay for wifi on top of the $300-$400 per night room. It's good to see that hotelwifitest distinguishes which hotels expect you to pay for wifi.

Hyatt Santa Clara offers free hi-speed WiFi and no longer charges for WiFi access anymore. Its one of the fastest and best connections out there as this hotel was chosen by Hyatt and Cisco to be one of their innovation properties.

Very nice, thanks for the update.

My current (small) hotel has a 100 Mbit uplink. But even that becomes congested in the evening. I heard from guests who use Bittorrent, because the uplink is fast.

So a faster uplink does not mean, that you get fast internet. People are just selfish and greedy.

Traffic shaping for some definition of fairness?

They say that the traffic is shaped. But it does not feel like that. Maybe their router is just to slow to handle all those connections.

Often only the downstream is shaped; if you have lots of p2p, you might want to ensure they do traffic shaping for upstream, too.

Where's your hotel? How'd you manage to get 100Mbit uplink? :-) Most hotels I've stayed at have either Cable (if it's 3* or below), or DSL / T1 (if it's something like 3*+ Hyatt Place), and they're all ridiculously slow.

Yes, an API would be a great fit.

While we're at it, can we also choose them by the actual things that let you get a good night's sleep -- whether the beds are not only nice enough but fit your preferences, whether the rooms are acoustically isolated enough you can't hear your neighbors walking (or watching TV or talking or getting busy), whether the temperature controls of the room work efficiently, and whether the room doesn't smell offensive.

Right now, hotel ratings are completely broken for personal bed comfort (I find I'm slightly more likely get a decent night's sleep at a Motel 6 than at a Fairfield, because I'm more likely to find memory foam beds at the latter -- yes, I know they're great for some people, but they're absolutely horrible for anyone who doesn't sleep well when warm and wants something more supportive than conforming).

There's some correlation between ratings and the other things (and it's nice to see more hotels going smoke free), but it's by no means certain.

I'd love to see a rating of internet reliability, but I can get internet in other ways if I need to. If I'm paying for a room for the night, there's no other way for me to sleep, and my experience is that it's generally a crapshoot as to whether I'm going to get a good night's sleep or not.

Within a hotel, rooms in the same category can have widely varying characteristics. Rooms with ocean views could have full views, others could have a sliver view. We've collected tips on quiet rooms, large rooms, and rooms with a view for about 30K+ hotels on Room77.com under the "Insider Tips" section on the hotel pages.

While the WiFi in most hotels is horrendous, wired internet is pretty awesome most of the time. A network cable is always in my suitcase and my laptop can run as an access point for my other devices. A separate access point could also come in handy (you have very small ones nowadays).

During JSDay.it people had a lot of time even connecting to the WiFi while I was running at 80 mbps.

Sorry, we've moved on to the future, we're too cool to have laptops with useful ports anymore.

I realize this is a joke, but if it's a reference to Apple laptops, it's worth noting that an ethernet plug literally will not fit on recent models of the Macbook Pro or Air; they're simply too narrow. I'd much prefer a narrower portable to an ethernet port; when I need one I'm happy to use a dongle.

>I'd much prefer a narrower portable to an ethernet port

Why? How in the world is a standard laptop with an ethernet too "thick" for you? Do you routinely try to slide your laptops under doors or through mail slots? Making laptops ridiculously thin doesn't solve anything except making them look thinner.

Thickness generally has a very strong correlation with weight. Weight is probably the single most important factor in a laptop for me. I didn't realize how much of a difference it made until I switched to an Air.

I've never understood the weight thing. Size--yes, but weight? Weight is suppose to be a huge factor in photography too, but my 74 year old mom totes around a canon 5d coupled to a 100-400mm L lens. She never complains about the weight? At this point, I want a laptop that can take a little abuse, and I can fix.

I'm dangerously out of shape and carrying around my laptop bag with >10lbs of stuff in it doesn't bother me. Functionality is worth the weight unless you're averse to carrying a few extra pounds I guess.

What do you have against external ethernet adapters? I don't see how requiring an external ethernet adapter is a worse trade off than adding extra pounds and size.

An external ethernet dongle is more likely to break or get lost. Wasn't there a push against dongles a while ago? Are they becoming normal again? There's no VGA port either which is a necessity for me. No CD drive either. Is this thing a laptop or a big smartphone with no touch screen? No numpad either, wow.

> An external ethernet dongle is more likely to break or get lost.

Sure, but it's replaceable for the cheap cost of ~$10 - 20.

> There's no VGA port either which is a necessity for me.

2007 called, they want their already-deprecated video standards back.

> No CD drive either.

2000 called, they want their already-deprecated media storage standards back.

>Is this thing a laptop or a big smartphone with no touch screen?

Clearly a laptop.

>No numpad either, wow.

Now I'm convinced you're trolling.

>Sure, but it's replaceable for the cheap cost of ~$10 - 20.

Still inconvenient at least. USB Ethernet dongles also have the possibility of not being able to be used for network booting.

>2007 called, they want their already-deprecated video standards back.

Make it DVI or whatever you want then. I still need a video output for another monitor.

>2000 called, they want their already-deprecated media storage standards back.

I use the CD drive for things like DVDs or old PC games. Bluray disks are used now as well. Disks are not dead.

>Now I'm convinced you're trolling.

I like using the numpad so I must be a troll.

> Make it DVI or whatever you want then. I still need a video output for another monitor.

There is thunderbolt, DisplayPort, mini HDMI, and micro HDMI. Any small form factor laptop has at least one of these. DisplayPort, mini HDMI, and micro HDMI are all standard connectors. Mini HDMI and micro HDMI can be converted to DVI with connectors only and no additional active electronics.

> Still inconvenient at least. USB Ethernet dongles also have the possibility of not being able to be used for network booting.

If you're already carrying around an ethernet cable, just leave the NIC attached to the ethernet cable. You said it yourself that you have no issue carrying around 10 pounds worth of electronics, an ethernet dongle only weighs a few grams.

Note that many laptops simply do not support network booting, however these newer laptops (especially the macs) have proper networking built into the EFI firmware. Additionally, note that USB 3 and thunderbolt have pushed the bar for what you can do with external peripherals. If your only option for wired networking was a USB 2.0 networking adapter, then yes, I agree, that would be a joke. The USB 3 and thunderbolt NICs are actually quite good though. The USB 3 NIC that is sold by Apple supports every networking standard you would expect a built-in NIC to support and can achieve gigabit speeds without issue. It is additionally supported by the linux kernel out of the box. I actually find these NICs to be quite valuable when working in data centers as I can connect my laptop to multiple networks which have an air gap between each other by using multiple USB 3.0 NICs.

Samsung Series 9 ultrabooks don't actually use USB or Thunderbolt for the external NIC, instead they just use a connector that is thinner and provide an adapter to attach a normal ethernet cable to it. This allows them to have a normal onboard NIC and still maintain the thin form factor.

The thing that has reignited support for external peripherals is really USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt since they provide enough performance to support high bandwidth external devices.

Note that I'm not an Apple "fanboy" by any means, I use a work-issued Macbook Pro because it is relatively compact and sports a 500gb SSD, an 8-thread I7, 16GB of RAM, and exceptional battery life. I run linux on it and booted OS X fewer than 5 times so I don't actually benefit from Thunderbolt and as a linux guy I don't advocate proprietary connectors. It's really hard for me to say that Thunderbolt is inconvenient though when I see colleagues plug a single Thunderbolt cable into their laptop which is daisy chained to multiple 32-inch displays, gigabit ethernet, external hard drives, and multiple USB peripherals without any performance issues. As the industry continues to push the bar for high speed external buses, we'll continue to see the practicality of external peripherals increase.

Different form factors suit different purposes and different people. I own multiple laptops because of this, but I actually far prefer high performance desktops over laptops as I work on enterprise virtualization software and frequently need multiple hardware-accelerated NICs, a physical raid controller, 32-64GB of RAM, etc. No laptop meets these requirements so I go with the most portable form factor possible instead of using something in the middle which I find to be a mediocre compromise between portability and performance (adds more size and weight, but doesn't actually help me get more done). Most people have far lower requirements though and a macbook air will work just fine.

The important thing to remember is that no one is taking away the other options and all parts of the industry benefit directly or indirectly from the advancement of technologies which allow laptops to be made thinner, lighter, and less power hungry. Buy whatever suits your taste, it's great that we have options.

Beautifully said

Personally I think its absolutely ridiculous I paid $3000 for my Mac Book pro and I don't have a numpad with crucial keys like home, end, page up and down because they wanted the the track pad in the center. My old vaio laptop that was the same size fit the numpad just fine. I ended up buying having to buy one just because I was much slower at programming without it.

Yes it's ridiculous you paid that much if those features are crucial to you. You're very wrong if you think those features are crucial to everyone. I definitely want the track pad in the middle more than having page up/down etc.

I think full numpads only make sense on 17" and above. There's no reason not to have home/end/pgup|down though, all of my 15" thinkpads have had that.

Learn OS X's shortcuts and you'll never miss home, end, etc again. They keep your hands closer to the home row which makes them faster to use.

Cmd + direction keys work just fine.

I just googled 'apple ethernet' and got the UK apple store page for their USB ethernet adaptor[1].

It costs £25 (US$42, so this isn't some cheap junk), and of the twelve reviews, six give it one star and two give it two stars.

The point of using ethernet in preference to wifi is to get the dependability of battle-tested 30 year old technology; and using an ethernet dongle deprives you of that.

[1] http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MC704ZM/A/apple-usb-ethern...

The new Thunderbolt version which works like a native port at full gigabit speed.

The USB 3.0 ethernet adapters are also quite good if you're not running OS X (and thus don't have thunderbolt support).

You'd be surprised how noticeable a few pounds are, especially when you travel frequently. I work out and can lift a lot of weight but would (and did) pay extra for a thinner, lighter laptop all other things equal. Thickness can also make a big difference when trying to work in tight spaces (eg an airplane) or packing a carry on bag.

This problem was solved well over a decade ago by PCMCIA Ethernet adapters, but the pop-out slim RJ-45 connector is probably too fragile to be put into an Apple laptop.

it's not that it's too thick, it's that it minimizes the opportunity for Company X to sell me a whiz-bang conversion adapter at top dollar for increased revenue and brand lock-in (Oh, well I already have the Brand X conversion adapters, I guess i'll continue buying Brand X as a cost saving measure.)

I'm pretty sure people prefer thin laptops because they're lighter and less clunky and easier to slip into a bag etc. Not everything is a corporate conspiracy for lock-in and adapter sales.

Note that e.g. ASUS Zenbooks come with USB3 gigabit ethernet adapters (in a rather neat branded bag) included to combat that.

Apple will charge something absurd for their adapter.

I know you're just joking, but the thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter I bought years ago has been worth it's weight in gold at hotels with slow wifi and fast wired.

Other things that have been worth their weight in gold while traveling: my thinkpad with built-in ethernet AND vga!

but it dont have a punchcard reader!

Get an Airport Express that supports the 5Ghz band, and set it up to be a bridge. Best of both worlds.

+1 to this, I don't know how many times I've saved my bacon by having a access point with me. I use the TP-Link one (mid-tier Chinese OEM) and it has on more than one occassion gotten me much better wifi throughput than the hotel provided wireless. One hotel I stayed at had every access point on the same channel! That was kind of funny, in a sad you-really-don't-know-what-this-is-do-you sort of way.

What's needed is a list of hotels that offer wired ethernet. Nobody seems to advertise that, and it can be hard to find out.

Sadly I staid in a room the other day where the wired jack just lead to a wall-wart 802.11 bridge. Needless to say, it wasn't faster than the wifi.

I always have an access point and wire with me when I travel because of this, but Marriot and Hilton hotels I've visited in the last year did not have working wired Internet, despite having the port built into the desk.

A Marriot in Seattle gave me link but no address. I followed the ethernet cable behind the desk to a DSL style modem that connected to the hotel's phone system. I checked it out and essentially, instead of running Cat5 wire, they re-used the phone lines and were basically doing in-house DSL to each room. I called the front desk and was told that they had discontinued their wired internet.

Other Marriots and Hiltons I've tried since didn't even have the little device there, just a sad ethernet cable hanging down from the desk.

Thankfully, my current job provides a hotspot, so most of the time I just use that. The cost of the room and wifi don't bother, it's the fact that the speeds are horrible during non-peak times and non-existant during peak times.

I'd like latency as well as speed. A lot of hotels I have been to have really high ping times.

Yes, latency is very important. We found that there is a strong negative correlation between bandwidth and latency (faster connections tend to have lower response times). That's why we decided to focus on speed first. We are planning to add ping testing as well.

I'm sure you guys are on it, but: See apenwarr's 'Blip' for checking latency in the browser: https://github.com/apenwarr/blip

Locked up FF when I tried it.

Really? I've been using it in FF on GNU/Linux since it was announced 2013-04 without any issue (other than switching to a different tab seems to throttle connections). I've got the latest FF 31. What version/OS/graphics do you have?

Got it.

It was NoScript: NoScript set to allow scripts globally and it works, set to disable scripts by default and it freezes FF.

I would expect the very slowest connections to be T1s, which have excellent latency (and reliability) but almost no bandwidth. Then DSL/cable connections, with bandwidth between 5 and 100Mbps. Anything 100Mbps or greater would have fiber, with the correspondingly low latency again.

Having stayed at a couple of the reviewed hotels in Brazil that get a good rating, you would think everything was fine.

But latency is a HUGE problem in Brazil[1], and in probably any country that's far removed from the major backbones.

Yes, I can watch Youtube just fine in Brazil but I can't tell you the number of times that Skype video or other highly interactive apps wouldn't start or conk out because of poor latency.

The public has no comprehension of latency, but it's really important that this gets factored in somehow, especially for places like Brazil that generally have poor latency.

[1] http://brazilsense.com/index.php?title=Wi-Fi_and_Internet_se...

I am really surprised to hear Brazil is far removed from backbones, being the most populous Latin American county by a massive margin.

Brazil is far from the economic center of the Internet. South Korea, a country with 1/4 of the population of Brazil, is probably better connected because it's on the route to Japan, China, etc.

Brazil's poor latency may be partly explained by the fact that a lot of their connections have to go through the US and Canada:

"The shape of the Internet varies considerably when examining individual regions. In Europe, the majority of cross-border capacity is between European countries, while in Latin America and the Caribbean the majority of international capacity is connected to the U.S. & Canada."[1]

"More than 80% of Africa's and Latin America's international Internet bandwidth connect to cities outside their regions. In the case of Latin America, 60% of the region's interregional capacity connects to a single city, Miami."[2]

Also, because of Brazil's distance from the economic center of the Internet, they probably don't get the advantage of unpaid peering relationships.

[1] http://www.telegeography.com/assets/website/images/maps/glob...

[2] http://www.telegeography.com/assets/website/images/maps/glob...

> South Korea, a country with 1/4 of the population of Brazil, is probably better connected because it's on the route to Japan, China, etc.

Why would proximity to China matter? They probably have the worst internet in Asia (outside of DPRK of course).

Perhaps they are including Hong Kong which has a huge number of cable landings.

Also: censorship and traffic shaping.

I think traffic shaping would be really nice to detect and report. Something that we will explore once we move beyond HTML5 client.

Maybe the site should use something like http://www.pingtest.net/

Which, unfortunately, requires Java.

Only for packet loss testing. If you don't have Java installed in your browser, you get "Pingtest.net requires Java for packet loss testing, but it does not appear to be installed in your browser. Click here for assistance." The ping and jitter tests still work without Java.

I'm really more interested in packet loss/reliability than speeds when I'm in a hotel. 5Mbps, 50Mbps, or 500Mbps, all are fine if they work reliabily. When they don't, they're all equally bad. Trying to use Skype or SSH in the evenings in a hotel is frequently a horrible experience.

In my experience high speeds means exactly that.

Sometimes wifi is great in one room, but the signal doesn't reach another room. I HAVE A DREAM that, one day, people review the wifi of different rooms in the same hotel.

I'm so glad someone built this. I've been wanting it (or to build it) forever.

Even if I'm not picking up the tab, I'd rather stay at a crappy hotel with great wifi--vs a Four Seasons with crappy wifi.

Hopefully hotels realize this and start competing on wifi quality.

As a start, knowing mean and sigma may be a better option.

The potential downfall of general measurements like this is large conferences like WWDC, where if there's a geek in every room, the whole-hotel performance is going to suffer unless they've provisioned massive peak bandwidth.

(Thinking of the Marriott near Moscone.)

You could plot the average performance over time, which would show not only how well or poorly a hotel does in general, but how it weathers high-volume events like conferences.

Someone should really make an 'Airbnb' for High Speed Internet Connections around the world. Hotels, universities, internet cafes, business centres - a lot of businesses would pay to find high speed internet locations around the world for business trips

There is commitcoffee.com, which goes a tiny step towards that for coffee shops

Someone needs to cross-correlate this with bedbug reports.

Nice! I've wanted something like this for a while. Glad someone built it.

Seems like ping time is missing, which is critical to me. Also, would be great to have some measure of ping/speed/reliability over time, either via repeated automated testing or guest ratings.

I've often stayed at places which had decent speed, but unserviceable ping times, which is really a buzzkill for VoIP and online meetings.

Another issue is wifi that is fast, but unreliable. I've experienced a lot of that since moving to Brazil; Internet that just goes missing at intervals too regular to ignore.

Would be interesting if a widely-used service like speedtest.net would enable some tagging of IP addresses to pool results, so you could see the aggregated results for a given hotel over time.

This is heavily dependend on your hardware. In June I visited Australia, and technically speaking it was a nightmare using an iPhone5 (Greyhound Buses worked 80% of the time, Hostels like 30%). All Android users had a much better Wifi experience. Now back here in Berlin I see the same trend. I started a new job and I am staying each week in a different hotel. I just got an Nexus 5, and when I compare it next to my iPhone 5 in the same place, most of the time Android can connect to the Wifi, why the iPhone5 can't. Speed of course is a complete different story. I am wondering if this is an iPhone5 or iOS issue in general.

Here's another one: http://speedspot.org/

The key measure we should all be paying attention is "Confidence".

Ex: Some of the hotels in New York show very high speeds, but also "Confidence: 9.2%".

  Confidence value shows how thoroughly the WiFi has been tested at this hotel. 
  The confidence value depends on several factors, including the number of 
  speed tests taken, how recently the tests occurred, and the diversity of tests 
  in terms of the time of day, day of the week, and point within the travel season.

This is brilliant. As a developer, whenever I have to travel somewhere, a decent connection for moving files around is paramount. You often see, "High Speed Internet" being advertised at most hotels, it is usually anything but high speed.

Speed is a crucial factor for me when staying somewhere. Nice hotels seem to focus on the service and aesthetics, but the poor old Wifi connection gets left behind.

I used to be fond of requiring high speed internet access in the hotels.

I gave up, upgraded to Unlimited 4G on my T-Mobile line, and don't worry about these things anymore. Problem solved! :-)

Unfortunately, you're very unlikely to be getting decent speeds and latency at the hotels, and most managers don't even care.

Yeah, but if you're travelling internationally it's a PITA. :)

Are you referring to the throttling of 128kbps for T-Mobile US postpaid customers travelling internationally? :-)

Well, yeah, that ain't gonna be fast, but, if hotels abroad have as crappy the internet as those in the States do, that's still likely to be a huge improvement. :-)

Or you could always get a local SIM for some more unlimited fun.

Seems like a tough thing to accurately score - you have issues of coverage (do certain floors or the lobby have coverage vs. the rooms), dropped connections, over subscriptions at peak times, inconvenience of re-entering user info, etc.

Also don't forget to establish a VPN connection. This might sometimes even help with slow running DNS resolvers in place over DHCP and it helps for sure to protect both your surfing habits and your unencrypted traffic.

Good reason to get a Clear hotspot, no more looking for the working WIFI connection, or cafe password, or trying to get the "I agree" TOS page to load. (PS: I'm not invested in Clear, have no affiliation.)

Sadly, it seems like Clear no longer takes new customers.

I'm grandfathered in... at least for now.

I hope this catches on and it can be used to shame and blame hotel chains. I can't recall a single instance where hotel wifi, let alone wire, as even remotely fast.

These hotels normally charge $20-50 per day of internet and they provide shitty service. It drive me mad. I have learned that you can complain and get some significant bonus points out of it. I wish more people complained about the internet service in order to push for faster speeds and better latency, let alone not having your connection drop.

That was the original idea of Hotel WiFi Test: use social media pressure to call out hotels with slow WiFi. That's still an important use case. Then, to our surprise, we found that some hotels provide very good WiFi (and in most cases it is free). Showcasing such hotels is win-win: travellers get fast WiFi, hotels get more business for their effort.

In my experience Microtels have pretty good wifi and I have recently been seeking them out when possible for this very reason.

Between shoddy quality and security, I just tether to LTE. That means no Netflix, but Netflix usually runs especially poorly at hotels anyway.

I used to work in the hotel industry in everything from Doubletree up to Ritz Carlton. Wifi was one of the most frustrating amenities we offered because it was always terrible! As an avid traveler who probably spends too much time on his computer I got annoyed as a guest as well. Cheers to the people behind this website. I'm sharing it with everyone from my old industry.

Better tip: Just bring your own hotspot. If you're a frequent traveler, your life will be SO much better. If you're not a frequent traveler, using the hotspot feature on your phone and paying for it just that month (if you don't already) is often faster and cheaper than a couple days of hotel paid wifi.

Hotel wifi is spotty and incredibly insecure compared to a wireless hotspot.

With the increasing amount of bandwidth (in US plans anyways) I wonder if the days of hotel WiFI is short lived anyways. We'll all be hotspotting it soon if we aren't already. Maybe if you are staying somewhere longer than a week and doing a lot of work in your room....but that seems like a small subset.

Hotspot is very nice when possible, but you really don't want to do it when traveling internationally.

Paying $10 to use the internet would be fine, but paying that much for a 20MB quota makes it a nonstarter.

Nowadays I get a local prepaid SIM card the minute I get off the airplane while traveling internationally.

If I experience trouble with WiFi during my stay at a hotel then I just connect to internet using hotspot created from my android phone. I understand not everyone have android phone.

Anyway, we are in a hotel for couple hours only. Rest of time either we are sleeping or we are outside either working or enjoying our vacation.

Seems nice, although I have a 60Mbps line at home, and am only getting 30-40 Mbps on the speed test.

kudu, are you getting 60Mbps at http://www.speedtest.net ?

Sure: http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/3645854520

Edit: Ran another test on your site and got 61.4 Mbps. It might have been an issue on my end, not too sure. Great work!

Edit 2: Ran yours once again and got 31 Mbps. There seems to be an issue with consistency, although this could be my ISP.

I have 50/100 FiOS and consistently get higher speeds in tests. The only ISP I've ever had where I get higher than advertised.

(They still suck, because HD Netflix is unusable at peak times without a VPN.)

I gave up on public WiFis on Starbucks and hotels years ago. I pay for LTE and I'm pretty happy with it. I pay $120 for two lines and 10GB data. For me it's reasonable and I never hit 10GB limit.

For people who travel a lot this website is a great resource.

Tried typing "Boston" and nothing in the UI changed. Looks like it's 500-ing.

Watch out for the hotels where people report 30-40 mps. People are getting those speeds when there's no one else on the network. Which is awesome until you have a full house and no per-user cap, then it will be unusable for most guests

It's hard enough to use availability of free wifi as a booking filter, let alone quality. Wonder if there isn't space for an independent filtering service -- taking the listings from elsewhere and simply sorting by your own criteria.

brokentone, what is quality in your opinion? Is it connection speed? If it is more complex than that, what would be the best way to quantify it? Most hotels offer free WiFi, so it is easy to skip hotels with paid WiFi. We will add more filters (including this one) soon.

"Most hotels offer free WiFi"

This may be true in the US but I don't think it's necessarily true in Europe. Too many hotels in the UK/Ireland claim to offer "internet access" which turns out to mean no wifi (or mysteriously permanently broken wifi) and one ancient PC in reception which nobody can tell you the password for. Germany was better for wifi but often had paid wifi in the rooms and free wifi only in reception, which I guess still lets them advertise it as "free".

Still, I like the site idea. If I could use the site to avoid the above, all the better.

I'm sitting here in a Travelodge in Scotland and their WiFi access amounts to 30 minutes free then I'd have to pay for it - NOPEKTHX.

So I'm using my android phone as a hotspot - it's probably more secure than attaching my laptop to the hotel's service anyway - plus my plan (3's The One Plan) allows unlimited hotspot use anyway, so why not.

I remember being in a decent hotel in Singapore a decade and a bit ago which had wired internet access and I was curious and ran wireshark on my laptop booted into Linux - it was a horrifying sight of port scans and SMB exploit attempts.

I laughed.

Sounds familiar... On hotelwifitest.com "Free WiFi" means free WiFi in guest rooms. If it is not a case for some hotels, please let the support know!

That is because we tend to have good UMTS/HSDPA connections in most cities.

I wish I could add some comments while submitting the speed test. The wifi in my hotel is free, but the speed I'm receiving is only obtainable by using a code provided by the front desk. The normal speeds are quite a bit slower.

Based on a stay two weeks ago, I've been craving just such a service. Their reports match what I experienced, at least on the negative end. Now I just have to convince our travel agent to use this for future bookings. :)

A number of older hotels have decent wired connections. Otherwise, if both the wired and the WiFi is bad or non-existent, I use my personal router (WiMAX) and connect that way. My phone is good option too.

I'm in a hotel right now, so I did the test feature. I must say I'm impressed. A couple clicks and it correctly found the right hotel instantly and did the test seamlessly. Bravo.

Why are the confidence% so low across the board?

I hope network infrastructure gets advances more quickly so hotels with lower speeds will realize they have fallen behind.

What are the estimations based on? Apparently not on price, hotel category or an interpolation between other close hotels.

It would be nice if the nightly rate were either localised to the currency local to the hotel or of the visiting ip.

Yet another idea I had and then assumed someone would get done. Just need to promote it (and I'll use it)!

Would like to see this for coffee shops.

Just check out the Original at http://speedspot.org and download the iOS or Android App. There you can find hotels, cafes, restaurants, etc. Bigger Database too. Still pretty crazy how the bad copy goes viral but not the original even if it's used by hundred thousands of people each month ... but hey such is life.

Thank you, I'll check it out!


This is great, is there an API? ...I still remember paying $10 per 30 minutes of Wifi at the Ghana Airport

I tried to submit a support request to add the hotel I am sitting in and it got a CSRF error...

Well, the quality of service here is actually non-existent seeing as how the entire WiFi protocol is still vulnerable to interception, interruption within milliseconds.

So, the word "quality" wouldn't necessarily be the word to identify the current capabilities of any wireless network using the standard protocol suite available to the user today.

I would much rather choose a hotel on the basis of their A/C and air quality.

I prefer to choose hotels by the amount of bedbugs in the TripAdvisor reviews.

Was considering doing this for all wifi networks. I have an API built in Rails for it if anyone wants it (100k+ public wifi hotspots, such as coffee shops, restaurants, etc), shoot me an email: josh@josh.mn

How did you build that database?

Any hotels should make wifi free and good as TV.

sometimes I'm really desperate to internet speed of those hotels, I wonder those hotel managers still live in the 90's.

These needs to also be integrated with AirBnB



My wife checked us into the Sheraton in Tulsa (or was it Oklahoma City?) on the return leg of our wide circle trip out west and she turned to me and asked if I wanted to pay $10 for internet access. I almost exploded. One of the managers tried to tell me the reason they charged for it was to be up front about the costs of services they provided cause they were a "full service hotel". If I wasn't so tired, I would have asked if they also charged for soap.

The managers in the morning just stared at me blankly when I went off on them in the morning. "Why do they charge for internet but not phone service?", I asked.

The hospitality industry doesn't operate at nearly the same pace as the tech industry. If you think back, 10 years ago it wouldn't have seemed unreasonable for a hotel to charge for internet at all. They're likely under contract, they realize an additional revenue stream, etc. It's hardly the morning staff's fault.

Obviously you think the staff does not represent Sheraton in any way, shape or form. With that thought in mind, no one at Sheraton represents them except ... whom?

You also seem to want to ignore the fact that, on a 4000-mile, 10-day journey, they were the only hotel that charged for internet. This doesn't include the multitude of business trips I take every month where, again, I never get charged for internet.

So, iow, charging for internet service is not the norm. Nor is charging for telephone service. And don't mention it to the front desk. It's not their fault.

Applications are open for YC Summer 2023

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact