×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Expensive Hotels Really Do Have Faster Wi-Fi

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the starbucks-is-my-airport-lounge dept.

Networking 72

OpenSignal, by means of mobile apps for iOS and Android, has been amassing data on Wi-Fi and cell-network signal strength. They released yesterday a few of their findings on the speed of Wi-Fi available at U.S. chain hotels (download speeds, specifically). Though it shouldn't be surprising that (as their data shows) more expensive hotels generally have faster speeds, I know it hasn't always matched my own experience. (Hotel chains also vary, even within brands, in whether the in-room Wi-Fi is free, cheap, or exorbitant.) If the in-room connection is flaky or expensive, though, from the same report it seems you'll do better by popping into a Google-networked Starbucks location than one fed by AT&T, and McDonalds beats Panera Bread by quite a bit.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

How much is due to Congestion (5, Insightful)

robstout (2873439) | about 4 months ago | (#47624223)

If WIFI is free, everyone will use it, clogging up the pipes. If there's a charge, less people will be on, making more BW available for those who shell out the cash. I also hope that the hotels that charge use the money to miantain the infrastructure, but that's wishful thinking on my part.

Re:How much is due to Congestion (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47624415)

Ah, the turning point in my life. I remember it clearly. It all started on September 7, 2001.

I was fiddling around on my computer and visiting various news websites, as I often did. Eventually, I stumbled across an advertisement that looked interesting, so I clicked it. A popup from some antivirus program I didn't know I had made me realize that I had made a grave mistake. I may not have known much about computers, but I knew that that wasn't normal; it was malware.

"Alright," I muttered. "This is no problem. I'll just use some antivirus tools to get rid of the virus." I said. But I was horribly, horribly wrong. The virus was unstoppable, and even the most advanced antivirus software could not remove it. Even completely wiping the hard drive and reinstalling the operating system did not remove it! I screamed at the top of my lungs in frustration, but eventually calmed down. "It's alright. I'll just take it to a PC repair shop!"

So, I drove to a nearby PC repair shop that claimed it only hired experienced professionals. Once I entered the expertly-crafted building, four kind gentlemen greeted me; I described my problem to them, they nodded their heads, and they sent me off with a smile on their faces. I had a good feeling about their abilities at the time. I drove back home feeling happy, knowing that my computer was in the hands of professionals. How wrong I was...

On September 11, I received a call from the repair shop. I went to answer the phone, and when I did, all I heard from the other end was unintelligible screaming, and someone weeping. Then, finally, I heard someone whisper, "Come pick up your computer." After that, he hung up. "Why did he sound like a pathetic animal that knows its death is at hand?" I thought. But I concluded that it was probably nothing more than a new hip way for repair shops to tell their customers that the repairs are finished.

I drove to the repair shop once again, eager to pick up my computer. I entered the building, and immediately noticed that it looked completely different from its former self; blood was splattered everywhere, and it looked like a tornado had gone through it. Random objects were scattered about. I began looking for my computer, and spotted one of the repair guys in the middle of the room, huddled up in the fetal position. I inexplicably vomited soon after spotting him. Then, I ran up to him, shook him around, and screamed, "Where is it!? Where is my computer!?"

The man looked at me with tears in his eyes, and started explaining exactly what happened. He told me that the virus was so monstrous that nothing they could do would fix it; even reinstalling the OS did not work. He also said it had the ability to infect computers around it. He went on to explain how one of his employees committed suicide because he felt utterly devoid of meaning since he could not repair the computer. What became of the other two? Apparently, they went completely insane, hijacked two planes, and flew the planes into some famous buildings. After his explanation was over, and after he pointed out the location of my computer, I knew why I had vomited; this man was exerting an aura of worthlessness so powerful that it was capable of overwhelming anyone. His worthlessness was such that he poisoned everything around him, causing various negative effects on those within his immediate vicinity. I vomited again.

I glared at the man, who was now crawling out of the building and weeping. I watched as he crawled all the way out into the road, and spotted an incoming semi-truck. Even though the driver clearly saw the man in the middle of the lane, he did not stop; after all, the man was so utterly worthless that you could tell just how devoid of meaning his existence was with a mere glance, so the driver probably felt the need to put that pitiful man out of his misery. The truck mercilessly collided with the worthless hunk of meat, and ended his disgusting existence. But even that was not enough to remove his toxic influence on everything around him; his body continued to exert the same worthless aura that it had before. I decided that I should not spend any more of my valuable time acknowledging the existence of someone who was far worse than garbage, so I took my computer and drove home.

Immediately after going home, I tried once again to remove the virus; predictably, I failed. After a day of unsuccessful attempts at fixing the computer, I had transformed from a happy, charismatic man with a bright future ahead of him to a depressed husk with nothing to lose. When night came, I gave up trying to fix the computer, took my hunting rifle, and murdered my beautiful wife and daughter. Not long after that, some police showed up and said that someone called them after they heard gun shots. I let them into my house, and they spotted the corpses of my wife and daughter. They began freaking out, so I had them follow me to my computer, and I showed them just how malevolent and formidable the virus was. They knew. The police knew the reason I murdered my family. They knew that I was the real victim. They quickly offered their condolences, apologized for wasting my time, and departed. Immediately afterwards, I realized that murder had become my only pleasure, and I went on a killing spree. I had sunk into a hellish sea of despair far worse than being subjected to the worst forms of physical torture for all eternity.

That's when it happened: I found MyCleanPC [slashdot.org] ! I downloaded the program from the website, ran it on my virus-infected computer, and in mere yoctoseconds, the virus had been completely eradicated from existence! MyCleanPC [slashdot.org] is simply outstanding! My computer is running faster than ever!

My wife's response? "MyCleanPC [slashdot.org] totally cleaned up my husband's system, and increased his speed!" My daughter's corpse began smiling, and said, "MyCleanPC [slashdot.org] came through with flying colours where no one else could!"

If you're having computer troubles, I wholeheartedly recommend you use MyCleanPC [slashdot.org] ; it'll clean up your system instantly, speed up your gigabits, and overclock your network! Even if you're not absolutely certain that you have computer troubles, I still recommend MyCleanPC [slashdot.org] ; it'll not only speed up your gigabits to levels you never thought possible, but it will prevent you from ever getting viruses in the first place! Your gigabits will be overclocking like new, and it will all be thanks to MyCleanPC [slashdot.org] ! Thanks, MyCleanPC [slashdot.org] ! You saved my life, MyCleanPC [slashdot.org] ! You're the best, MyCleanPC [slashdot.org] !

MyCleanPC: For a Cleaner, Safer PC. [slashdot.org]

Re:How much is due to Congestion (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47624417)

Ah, the turning point in my life. I remember it clearly. It all started on September 7, 2001.

I was fiddling around on my computer and visiting various news websites, as I often did. Eventually, I stumbled across an advertisement that looked interesting, so I clicked it. A popup from some antivirus program I didn't know I had made me realize that I had made a grave mistake. I may not have known much about computers, but I knew that that wasn't normal; it was malware.

"Alright," I muttered. "This is no problem. I'll just use some antivirus tools to get rid of the virus." I said. But I was horribly, horribly wrong. The virus was unstoppable, and even the most advanced antivirus software could not remove it. Even completely wiping the hard drive and reinstalling the operating system did not remove it! I screamed at the top of my lungs in frustration, but eventually calmed down. "It's alright. I'll just take it to a PC repair shop!"

So, I drove to a nearby PC repair shop that claimed it only hired experienced professionals. Once I entered the expertly-crafted building, four kind gentlemen greeted me; I described my problem to them, they nodded their heads, and they sent me off with a smile on their faces. I had a good feeling about their abilities at the time. I drove back home feeling happy, knowing that my computer was in the hands of professionals. How wrong I was...

On September 11, I received a call from the repair shop. I went to answer the phone, and when I did, all I heard from the other end was unintelligible screaming, and someone weeping. Then, finally, I heard someone whisper, "Come pick up your computer." After that, he hung up. "Why did he sound like a pathetic animal that knows its death is at hand?" I thought. But I concluded that it was probably nothing more than a new hip way for repair shops to tell their customers that the repairs are finished.

I drove to the repair shop once again, eager to pick up my computer. I entered the building, and immediately noticed that it looked completely different from its former self; blood was splattered everywhere, and it looked like a tornado had gone through it. Random objects were scattered about. I began looking for my computer, and spotted one of the repair guys in the middle of the room, huddled up in the fetal position. I inexplicably vomited soon after spotting him. Then, I ran up to him, shook him around, and screamed, "Where is it!? Where is my computer!?"

The man looked at me with tears in his eyes, and started explaining exactly what happened. He told me that the virus was so monstrous that nothing they could do would fix it; even reinstalling the OS did not work. He also said it had the ability to infect computers around it. He went on to explain how one of his employees committed suicide because he felt utterly devoid of meaning since he could not repair the computer. What became of the other two? Apparently, they went completely insane, hijacked two planes, and flew the planes into some famous buildings. After his explanation was over, and after he pointed out the location of my computer, I knew why I had vomited; this man was exerting an aura of worthlessness so powerful that it was capable of overwhelming anyone. His worthlessness was such that he poisoned everything around him, causing various negative effects on those within his immediate vicinity. I vomited again.

I glared at the man, who was now crawling out of the building and weeping. I watched as he crawled all the way out into the road, and spotted an incoming semi-truck. Even though the driver clearly saw the man in the middle of the lane, he did not stop; after all, the man was so utterly worthless that you could tell just how devoid of meaning his existence was with a mere glance, so the driver probably felt the need to put that pitiful man out of his misery. The truck mercilessly collided with the worthless hunk of meat, and ended his disgusting existence. But even that was not enough to remove his toxic influence on everything around him; his body continued to exert the same worthless aura that it had before. I decided that I should not spend any more of my valuable time acknowledging the existence of someone who was far worse than garbage, so I took my computer and drove home.

Immediately after going home, I tried once again to remove the virus; predictably, I failed. After a day of unsuccessful attempts at fixing the computer, I had transformed from a happy, charismatic man with a bright future ahead of him to a depressed husk with nothing to lose. When night came, I gave up trying to fix the computer, took my hunting rifle, and murdered my beautiful wife and daughter. Not long after that, some police showed up and said that someone called them after they heard gun shots. I let them into my house, and they spotted the corpses of my wife and daughter. They began freaking out, so I had them follow me to my computer, and I showed them just how malevolent and formidable the virus was. They knew. The police knew the reason I murdered my family. They knew that I was the real victim. They quickly offered their condolences, apologized for wasting my time, and departed. Immediately afterwards, I realized that murder had become my only pleasure, and I went on a killing spree. I had sunk into a hellish sea of despair far worse than being subjected to the worst forms of physical torture for all eternity.

That's when it happened: I found MyCleanPC [slashdot.org] ! I downloaded the program from the website, ran it on my virus-infected computer, and in mere yoctoseconds, the virus had been completely eradicated from existence! MyCleanPC [slashdot.org] is simply outstanding! My computer is running faster than ever!

My wife's response? "MyCleanPC [slashdot.org] totally cleaned up my husband's system, and increased his speed!" My daughter's corpse began smiling, and said, "MyCleanPC [slashdot.org] came through with flying colours where no one else could!"

If you're having computer troubles, I wholeheartedly recommend you use MyCleanPC [slashdot.org] ; it'll clean up your system instantly, speed up your gigabits, and overclock your network! Even if you're not absolutely certain that you have computer troubles, I still recommend MyCleanPC [slashdot.org] ; it'll not only speed up your gigabits to levels you never thought possible, but it will prevent you from ever getting viruses in the first place! Your gigabits will be overclocking like new, and it will all be thanks to MyCleanPC [slashdot.org] ! Thanks, MyCleanPC [slashdot.org] ! You saved my life, MyCleanPC [slashdot.org] ! You're the best, MyCleanPC [slashdot.org] !

MyCleanPC: For a Cleaner, Safer PC. [slashdot.org]

How much is due to Congestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47624453)

If WIFI is free, everyone will use it, clogging up the pipes. If there's a charge, less people will be on, making more BW available for those who shell out the cash.

Funny, that's the same argument Comizon uses to justify bandwidth throttling and exorbitant charges

Re: How much is due to Congestion (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 4 months ago | (#47624511)

I've found this matches my experience flying too.

Southwest charges very little, and it's not even worth it. But us air charges 2-3x as much and is a decent value ($4/hour about on a cross country flight).

Re: How much is due to Congestion (2)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 4 months ago | (#47625149)

I've found this matches my experience flying too.

Southwest charges very little, and it's not even worth it. But us air charges 2-3x as much and is a decent value ($4/hour about on a cross country flight).

Its a joke on Southwest because they are busy piping DirecTV to all the passengers (as a paid advertisement for DirecTV service) so even if the backhaul isn't saturated, you will have to fight for bandwidth on the WLAN.

Re: How much is due to Congestion (1)

PrimaryConsult (1546585) | about 4 months ago | (#47627581)

The wifi on Southwest may be a joke but the free DirecTV is good enough IFE for me... I can go without email for 5 hours.

Re:How much is due to Congestion (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 4 months ago | (#47624589)

Maybe it won't be good enough for Netflix streaming since they want to "upsell" you to their PPV service, but providing decent Internet should be no problem at all, not counting tropical islands and such but normal hotels in big cities. Heck, here at home I got 100/100 Mbit all to myself and it would easily let 100 people surf the web and check their mail as long as the hogs gets last priority. Hotels know they got you hooked on the convenience, you can get cheaper drinks at the corner store, cheaper food at a local restaurant and cheaper internet at an internet cafe but grabbing a drink from the minibar, order some room service and hook up the room wifi is so easy you'll overpay for it. Fortunately many hotels now consider it part of the basic service.

Re:How much is due to Congestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47638365)

Fortunately many hotels now consider it part of the basic service.

If you consider their basic service a "resort fee" or similar charge that you get dinged with. The reality is that with most hotels including it, everyone is paying for it whether they use it or not.

Re:How much is due to Congestion (2)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | about 4 months ago | (#47624733)

If WIFI is free, everyone will use it, clogging up the pipes. If there's a charge, less people will be on, making more BW available for those who shell out the cash. I also hope that the hotels that charge use the money to miantain the infrastructure, but that's wishful thinking on my part.

On the other hand, I used to pick hotels based on my free WiFi experience. So if you charged for WiFi, I'm not paying for a room at your place. If two different places have free WiFi, but I had a flaky connection in one hotel,and an ok connection in another, that's the deciding factor. All other concerns were secondary.

Of course, I would also have considered the case where the $10 a day a hotel would charge for WiFi would make up the difference in room cost, but it always turns out that expensive hotels charge for WiFi and cheap hotels don't, so that never came up.

These days I don't care, because 4G.

Re:How much is due to Congestion (2)

mu51c10rd (187182) | about 4 months ago | (#47625161)

Having worked for an ISP specializing in hotels...your wishful thinking is quite true. Hotels that charge tend to splie the revenue between the provider and the hotel. This is a higher margin for both, which allows for better equipment and better circuits. "Free" wifi at the lower and mid tier hotel build a flat rate into the room cost, as well pay a flat rate to their provider. This is a low margin product, so they tend to have smaller circuits and lower end gear. Keep in mind, the hotels buy the circuit size and equipment packages...not the providers. The Providers can recommend anything they want, but only the high end hotels tend to go with the recommendations (think Ritz Carlton by Hilton, JW Marriott, etc.)

Re:How much is due to Congestion (1)

mcrbids (148650) | about 4 months ago | (#47625391)

I've seen no such correlation.

I recently stayed at a "fancy" hotel in Reno, NV that charged $5 for the Wifi, only to get dreadfully slow speeds. I also recently stayed at a "Best Value Inn" or something like that near Moreno Valley and despite the clearly packed night and free Wifi, speeds were excellent.

Care to guess where I'll prefer when I'm back in either area?

Re:How much is due to Congestion (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | about 4 months ago | (#47625485)

I've never had good internet service, really good, on hotel wifi - with one exception.

The worst was in Japan, go figure. It was down half the time, and no-one at the front desk spoke english. Fun fun fun. I was probably in the Japanese equivalent of Gary - in the ONLY Western style hotel in the city. Any more native and I'm pooping in a hole in the floor.

My one memorable good connection - I was at a UTM appliance training session and the wifi in the room connected me to lousy service, however the training company got the hotel to hook the training room up to the GOOD STUFF. We were connected to rock solid service with sustained upload and download both in the 47 megabit range.

So, congestion - yes. My guess is that they put the rooms to a ganged up and metered port whereas the admin connection is free and clear.

Re:How much is due to Congestion (1)

PrimaryConsult (1546585) | about 4 months ago | (#47627591)

My Japan wifi experience was: amazing speeds, 20 hours a day, completely unusable for 4 hours a day. Fortunately there was an ethernet port - far more valuable to me than wifi.

Re:How much is due to Congestion (2)

flappinbooger (574405) | about 4 months ago | (#47628961)

My Japan wifi experience was: amazing speeds, 20 hours a day, completely unusable for 4 hours a day. Fortunately there was an ethernet port - far more valuable to me than wifi.

Yeah, before I went to Japan my "assumption" was that every square inch of the place was wired. Internet everywhere. All I'd ever seen was pictures of that one busy street in Tokyo with all the lights and glitz.

This was in Onoda, and we were staying in what I heard was "the only" western style hotel. If I recall it was a wired connection only, and the entire service would go down periodically, pretty much daily. I'd have to go to the front desk and say "internet down. no internet. can please fix?" or something of that nature and hope they would understand and go back into the back and reset it.

It was funny because they would recognize every westerner on the trip by face and hand each of us our correct room key when we came back to the hotel without a word, just a smile and a nod.

Sigh. That was a good trip, I hope to go back sometime. Very nice people and a beautiful country. Very memorable, especially the visit to Hiroshima and the museum there. I'd never felt quite that awkward before, as a US citizen in the Hiroshima museum.

Re:How much is due to Congestion (2)

mjwx (966435) | about 4 months ago | (#47627381)

If WIFI is free, everyone will use it, clogging up the pipes.

Free != uncontrolled.

I stay in a lot of hotels in SE Asia (willing to bet this study was conducted in the US and maybe Europe) and when one hotel put a password on a previously unsecured wifi, performance for guests increased significantly. This was because the staff weren't given the password. So 60 devices simply disappeared off the network. Basically how good a network is depends on how it is set up and managed. Basically hotels that care will have a good connection.

I've stayed in a few hotels with free wifi that was very good (especially for SE Asia, where bad connections are commonplace). Most hoteliers in Asia dont see WiFi as a service that should be charged for (technically speaking its included in the price of the room, which is usually very affordable).

Re:How much is due to Congestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47628175)

Exactly how long do you think it will take the staff to figure out the freely-given-to-guests-by-staff password?

the only way to protect against this is to separate every guest account (different passwords), meter and charge for every byte. Even then, i wouldn't be surprised if unquestioning guests were charged for data they didn't use.

Re:How much is due to Congestion (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 4 months ago | (#47628335)

Exactly how long do you think it will take the staff to figure out the freely-given-to-guests-by-staff password?

Given the fact most of the staff are Filipinas... not long.

However the guy who runs the place keeps an eye on it and when that happens he'll change the password. If you dont maintain your network it doesn't matter how well its set up.

And no, he wont be charging guests by the MB, let alone the byte. Some people would rather their business has a good reputation.

Re:How much is due to Congestion (1)

ruir (2709173) | about 4 months ago | (#47628503)

IT should not be difficult, change the password at random times or the day, or give a different password to each guest. The big difference, besides numbers, is that guests only do some ocasional use, are supposed to be out most of the day, only go the odd page, some remote informations or email, the ocasional voip call, while staff use is more prevalent. And mostly, this is what I call a political and not a technical problem. A written memo forbiding staff to use the wifi of the customers would be in order.

Re:How much is due to Congestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47628623)

Well, I stayed at quite expensive ($300..$390 per night) Intercontinental in NY, and it had a extra charge of $10 per night for even a 1Mbps WIFI. A complete ripoff, only a few hotel in Europe at least charge for WIFI anymore. Network itself worked reliably, it just was bandwidth limited by design.

Not exactly a surprise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47624249)

This may come as a shock to timothy, but expensive hotels usually have bigger rooms, better views, and are more conveniently located also.

Re:Not exactly a surprise. (1)

timothy (36799) | about 4 months ago | (#47624537)

Oh, I'm a cheapskate most of the time, but occasionally I'll see how the other half lives. I find the divide is more complicated, though -- I've stayed in some total dives (boy, have I!) and a very few 4- or 5-star places, and for the most part I'd rather be somewhere in the middle. For the most part, I'm not offended by small rooms or lousy views, would rather allocate money on interesting food ;) This can go too far, though: once I made the mistake of camping at a KOA (note: quite good Wi-Fi, though mysteriously not on this list) in New Orleans, in August, and that was a lousy idea on several fronts.

I've definitely found some of the worst Wi-Fi in some of the more expensive places, though, and it rankles to pay $10-20 in some places for the privilege of hooking to the in-room network, a trend that's at least on the wane I think. In places like Las Vegas, at least the trade-off is there in gambling-subsidized rooms ;)

Re:Not exactly a surprise. (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 4 months ago | (#47624993)

Same - for me a hotel is a room and place to rest. I spend as little non-sleeping time in a hotel as possible so the giant, expensive hotels are a waste for me.

Re:Not exactly a surprise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47626841)

Then, of course, thee's the porn and the hookers....

Re:Not exactly a surprise. (1)

ruir (2709173) | about 4 months ago | (#47628511)

I used to say that. And when I travel on the cheap, I also try to stick to that. But then, I had some good hotels paid for the company when travelling for training and work, and the difference is quite noticeable. And I also stayed on one of the best hotels in Philippines, and believe me, it was worth every penny.

Re:Not exactly a surprise. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 months ago | (#47625511)

occasionally I'll see how the other half lives

You mean you sleep in a cardboard box under the bridge?

Re:Not exactly a surprise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47624835)

This may come as a shock to timothy, but expensive hotels usually have bigger rooms, better views, and are more conveniently located also.

Better hookers as well.

Re:Not exactly a surprise. (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 4 months ago | (#47625329)

This may come as a shock to timothy, but expensive hotels usually have bigger rooms, better views, and are more conveniently located also.

Better hookers as well.

Well, more expensive ones, anyway.

Re:Not exactly a surprise. (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#47628761)

Perhaps, but I've something about a conference where wireless experts (= people who wrote the specs or a similar bunch) found that their hotel (probably a mid-class one) had woeful wireless connectivity, so they teamed up (like the two dozen of them), pulled out their expensive gadgets and vastly improved the hotel setup made by some clueless guy - who instantly reverted it once they were gone, just to be on the safe side. ;)

Other explanations (2)

Voyager529 (1363959) | about 4 months ago | (#47624321)

Part of this could indeed be network infrastructure - more expensive hotels can afford more robust networking solutions and wireless installers worth a damn that can optimize the way the network works. Other reasons could be upstream - more affluent hotels in more affluent areas will find cable companies caring *just* enough to split nodes where necessary, so the fancier hotels are less limited by their upstream providers.

More likely though, people in ritzy hotels simply aren't using the Wi-Fi. Even if they're not spending the night with a hooker, they're probably using the pool or the spa or the movie theater or the 75" 4K TV in their room to use their own laptop. Some certainly will, but there's a difference between "available for use" and "the only thing to use", which is more the case with the budget hotels.

Re: Other explanations (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 4 months ago | (#47624635)

I've found that MANY hotels (as of two years ago anyway) seem to only have a t-1 line (symmetrical 1.x mbps at 4am being my best speed tests).

Re: Other explanations (2)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 4 months ago | (#47625267)

I've found that MANY hotels (as of two years ago anyway) seem to only have a t-1 line (symmetrical 1.x mbps at 4am being my best speed tests).

Many hotels (or at least the company they pay to manage their network, like Windstream) have at least a slight sense of service management, and cap single hosts to about a T1 worth at any given time. These days a 1.44Mbit downstream would be crushed after 2 users tried to get on Youtube at the same time.

Re: Other explanations (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 4 months ago | (#47626031)

OK, that makes sense, though during busy times, I have over 500ms ping, and under 20kbps downstream, there is no youtube to be had most of the time, I'm not convinced they had much more than a T-1 over the 150 rooms or so.

Panera has been generally bad, from my experience (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 4 months ago | (#47624331)

I've tried the free wifi at a number of Panera locations in different states over the years and generally found theirs to be amongst the worst of all free wifi setups. Half the time I couldn't even get a google search to work after logging in.

Re:Panera has been generally bad, from my experien (3, Interesting)

retchdog (1319261) | about 4 months ago | (#47624651)

is this because the wi-fi is actually worse, or because they are large, comfortable, and have free coffee refills meaning a lot of people are camping out to use the wi-fi?

no one really wants to stay in a McDonald's for any longer than necessary, but a Panera is tolerable.

Backward (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 4 months ago | (#47624335)

No, cheaper hotels have slower WiFi if they have any WiFi at all.

Backward (2)

Cyberdyne (104305) | about 4 months ago | (#47625175)

Conversely, I seem to find (in the UK at least) that cheaper ones and shops are more likely to have free WiFi, while pricier hotels and bigger chains seem to be more likely to charge for it. The poshest one I've spent any time in - part of the same chain as the Savoy in London - charges crazy prices (and has lousy mobile reception), though it's a rock-solid signal throughout the large building; a much cheaper hotel nearby just had a Wifi access point on ADSL somewhere, with no password, for anyone to use.

A question of attitude I suppose: a small hotel thinks £20 or so a month is a trivial investment to make guests happier, like having newspapers in reception; a bigger chain sees it as spending millions across the chain to roll out a service which should generate revenue.

Re:Backward (1)

jfengel (409917) | about 4 months ago | (#47633323)

It's also possible that they're price-sorting. That is, people staying at expensive hotels have more money (duh). They're willing to pay more for luxuries, many of them hard to observe (more staff, more frequent replacement of linens [and more in the rotation], more expensive furnishings, etc.) The people who pay for such things have more money and you can use that to try to up-sell them.

If they're paying $200 a night for four-star deluxe room, they've got $10 to kick in for wi-fi and not even really notice it. And you know that they didn't pick the $69 EconoLodge down the street. They'll assume that they're getting more bits, and that the service is better maintained; they're likely not to check. They do know that they're perceiving an overall experience that they like better, and they're willing to pay a substantial premium for it. That's not right or wrong, if they're getting what they want, but it does expose their pricing preference. That tips their hand and makes them pay more than they might otherwise.

I think it's similar to Starbucks. Even if you like it better, is it really "four times better" than the 7-11? It doesn't matter. They know that you're willing to pay 300% more for the coffee and will price everything else to match, because you're there, regardless of what it costs them.

Well that's a surprise. (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 months ago | (#47624343)

In other news most Porsches have better acceleration and handling than most Fords, a large cruise liner fits more people than your dinky boat and a nuclear bomb has more 'bang' in it than a firework would.

(you get what you pay for) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47624407)

(freetardom will only get you so much)

As someone who lives in a hotel every week.. (4, Informative)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | about 4 months ago | (#47624421)

I find that it does not matter what the hotel costs, or how fancy it is.. the internet sucks. I tend to tether to my phone and use LTE as the hotel internet is worthless for anything other than check email.. Certainly not Netflix streaming.

Re:As someone who lives in a hotel every week.. (2)

swb (14022) | about 4 months ago | (#47624619)

I kind of thought this is what everyone did anymore -- tether to LTE phone and just skip whatever stupidity the hotel supplies. It's more than adequate for email, web browsing, and remote access. Any multi-gig downloads needed would happen on a remote server anyway.

If I'm on business, I'll usually try the hotel connectivity to see how it is. Unfortunately the annoyance is often more than just weak wifi, it's periodically losing connectivity and having to "sign on" again through some kind of portal page, passwords that don't work, etc.

I've never even bothered with Netflix streaming in a hotel. I just assume it would never work, either due to deliberate filtering or because it's just overloaded.

Re:As someone who lives in a hotel every week.. (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 4 months ago | (#47627423)

I kind of thought this is what everyone did anymore -- tether to LTE phone and just skip whatever stupidity the hotel supplies. It's more than adequate for email, web browsing, and remote access. Any multi-gig downloads needed would happen on a remote server anyway.

This isn't very good for international travellers.

Not everywhere has a good mobile network, I'm including the US in this. I bought my phone from Australia and I only got 200 MB of data for $45 on AT&T prepaid. Also, I'm not really going to buy a separate WiFi device for each country I travel to (If I did, I'd have almost 30 of them).

That being said, during my travels in the US the best Wifi in the hotels I stayed at was at an ABVI in San Francisco which was free (included in the price, I'm sure we all know what free means in context). It was faster and less annoying than the Wifi at the Hard Rock Las Vegas which was part of the $21 a night resort fee (it would kick you off every 3 hours where you'd have to log into the captive portal again).

Re:As someone who lives in a hotel every week.. (1)

swb (14022) | about 4 months ago | (#47627663)

Well, there's obviously a calculus to this. If you don't have sufficient cell data, signal or high speed data then wifi would make a better choice.

If I'm traveling for work I will at least try the hotel system even if it costs money. If it works reasonably well (speed, signal quality, reliability) and doesn't require constant reconnection I will end up using it. If it ends up being slow or unreliable I will switch to tethering.

For personal travel, I might fool around with it if it's free but I often just default to tethering. I for sure won't pay extra for it on personal travel and free wifi in tourist type areas usually sucks anyway because you end up with a ton of kids and teenagers trying to stream media making it only marginally useful.

How about CHEAP motels instead? (1)

MindPrison (864299) | about 4 months ago | (#47624439)

Expensive Hotels Really Do Have Faster Wi-Fi

How about that shitty motel I visited a couple of years ago in a small town population 12K? Dirty, small, shitty, smelly, noisy (walls so thin I was actually considering joining in the nightly party next door where the couple went at it all the time).

But you know what? They had REALLY FAST WiFi. 30/30! Way better than I had in Copenhagen with my poor 8/8.

Re:How about CHEAP motels instead? (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 4 months ago | (#47624497)

(walls so thin I was actually considering joining in the nightly party next door where the couple went at it all the time)

this is a little-known feature, actually. you just punch the wall hard enough and you have an instant glory hole. it cuts down on the uncomfortable introductions, and being semi-anonymous, makes rejection more tolerable.

when you're done, you can find a sheaf of wadding in the nightstand, often marked with a cross. you just tear out the pages, crumple them up, and stuff the hole with them. the staff is trained to notice it, and will plaster over it when you check out. it's courteous to examine the wall and just punch out a pre-existing patch if there is one.

Re:How about CHEAP motels instead? (1)

MindPrison (864299) | about 4 months ago | (#47624567)

actually. you just punch the wall hard enough and you have an instant glory hole.

That sounds like a WIRED connection to me, we were discussing WiFi (wireless) connections here.

Re:How about CHEAP motels instead? (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 4 months ago | (#47624633)

sorry about that. :)

to get back on-topic: http://www.lelo.com/index.php?... [lelo.com]

security and latency might be poor, but usually adequate for the purpose.

Re:How about CHEAP motels instead? (1)

un1nsp1red (2503532) | about 4 months ago | (#47624757)

when you're done, you can find a sheaf of wadding in the nightstand, often marked with a cross. you just tear out the pages, crumple them up, and stuff the hole with them.

I thought that was for rolling joints?

They also have (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 4 months ago | (#47624519)

cleaner rooms better food more polite staff

Quick, stop the presses, god things cost more than bad ones.

Redemption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47624539)

What?
A news article about a topic that is useful for many techies?
An article that presents some actual numbers and meaningful graphs? Cold, hard facts?
And it was posted by.... Timothy?
Perhaps redemption is actually possible, after all.

worthless survey (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47624611)

google does not have infrastructure to connect every starbucks location to *their* network. it's acquired from incumbent telco, cableco or cellular.. they are not bringing in dedicated circuits. they are just letting users suck down more bits than at&t did.

same applies at mcdonalds. supplied by at&t? sure... but what about where there is no at&t service? here we barely have 3g at&t data available... and thats a shitty signal along the interstate at one end of town only, and nearest at&t wireline service is 100 miles away... yet our mcdonalds wifi is 'powered by at&t' and proudly declares such on a sign -- but is it? no, they have dsl from the local telco. at&t is still managing it but they contract out to competitors when needed or when its cheaper than connecting to themselves.

Re:worthless survey (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 4 months ago | (#47624671)

for the user, does it matter who the provider ultimately is? not really. empirically, in major cities, the starbuckses with google-branded wifi give a better service than the others.

from someone who used to do support for hotel hsd (4, Informative)

Murphdog (1025219) | about 4 months ago | (#47624639)

Being someone who used to directly support internet services for businesses, including hotels, I an assure you that most of the time, it's because the hotel does not spend the money to have a connection speed to support the number of occupants at the hotel. Most big chains will probably have a 50x5 connection for their guests to use, while some will continue to use a 10 or 15x2 connection for their guests. Not very many hospitality businesses use fiber, yet. In most if not all cases, the speed reverved for each user will be limited to anywhere from 256k to 2MB. I don't recall ever seeing anything faster than that.

from someone who used to do support for hotel hsd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47636677)

As someone who has also supported, designed and installed networks for hotels, specifically the Hilton brands from Homewood to the Waldorf Astiria this is truth. The fucking franchise dickbags never wanted to spend what they should be spending on the circuits. ATT Wifi was notoriously bad and the network engineering crew were a bunch of fuckwits after the hilton carpetbaggers moved in.

I hated that business.

the bell curve for amenities (3, Informative)

netsavior (627338) | about 4 months ago | (#47624645)

flea-bag motels have no free amenities. Motel 6/hilton/whatever will give you wifi and hbo. Expensive hotels have no free amenities.
The few hotels I have stayed in that were nicer than my socio-economic class had shitty wifi that was 20 bucks extra per night. The midrange motels all have shitty wifi that is free. In most cases, tethering to my 4g phone is the best option.

Re: the bell curve for amenities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47625051)

What about real hd?

few places have it. The Hilton Doubletree Milwaukee wi has hbo and hbo 2 in HD as well most other channels in HD no box or ppv in rooms l. From the local cable co also Internet seemed to be good I think at least 3 to 6 Meg download

Re:the bell curve for amenities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47625205)

Motel 6/hilton/whatever will give you wifi and hbo.

There may be a few Motel 6 locations (franchises not corporate owned) that offer WiFi for free, but the vast majority charge $3 a day for crappy service. I have even been warned that the signal may not work in the room and to come back to the desk for a refund if this is the case. When driving the back roads and ending up at a Motel 6, I tether my phone instead.

Expensive hotels have no free amenities.

Not true, they commonly offer 24 hour fitness rooms, CD/DVD library, iPod/Phone docking, nightly turn downs. If I am paying $500 a night, I expect those things and free WiFi. When I am in Los Angeles, I try to stay at the Chateau and they offer free WiFi, which is pretty good. I think the trend in the luxury market is a two tier system, free WiFi and a higher speed version for a fee.

Re:the bell curve for amenities (1)

rssrss (686344) | about 4 months ago | (#47627361)

There is an inverse correlation between the price of the hotel and the price of the wi-fi. But, even at expensive hotels with $15/day wi-fi, there are things you can do.

At many of those hotels wi-fi in the lobby and restaurants is gratis, and they may be pleasant places to sit while you read your email. Also, it is worthwhile to butter up the desk clerks who maybe able to slip you a password. I have also found that most hotels never change their passwords. Sometimes I have paid once and used it several times.

BTW, Panera's coffee and food are much better than MickeyD's. The wi-fi is usually serviceable. A couple of years ago a storm knocked our cable service for a week. I spent a lot of time at the local Panera.

Useless data is useless (3, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | about 4 months ago | (#47624787)

I get widely differing performance at different hotels in the same chain, for some chains, and consistent performance for others. And of course, different performance in the early evening than in the early morning. So these numbers are basically garbage.

Mifi is a possibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47625131)

kinda off topic but I was thinking of buying one of those MIFI routers that use 4G cell phone networks, but the $30 monthly fee (for 4 Gigabytes of data) is kinda expensive for a poor college graduate who just got a job. lol Guess I'll use my tablet until I save some money.

Not as fast as what I get.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#47625201)

nice small directional antenna and small tripod + pocket router with antenna wire coming out running OpenWRT...

I have my choice of faster wifi from my hotel window.... Starbucks is really fast after hours.

As someone who used to retrofit hotels... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47625401)

...for Internet access, hotels ALWAYS cheap out on the pipe, regardless of what we advise. I still know of many hotels that their only pipe is a pseudo-T1 line.

Hotel networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47625561)

a good WIFI network in a hotel is much more expensive than most hotels are willing to fork out for the guest room side as they see it as pure cost. On the conference side its a bit better since they will actually earn some money from that.

I run networks for conferences for a living its a complete crap shoot even in the same hotel chain some times. some rarely, will have some people who are pretty knowledgeable most will have a single IT/AV/sound guy who might or might not be running the entire hotel from an old home router.

Hotel wifi. (2)

sugar and acid (88555) | about 4 months ago | (#47626275)

As a Common international business traveller,, I know very well the issues with hotel wifi.

First of, there is the dodgy reception interference issue. What compounds this is as soon as the wifi is flaky in a hotel, everybody gets the 3/4g wifi hotspots out compounding the problem. My solution is a high power (600mw) usb wifi adapter and high gain antenna in my suitcase. Cuts through all the crap. This one was a boon in a hotel in Lawrence Kansas, and whenever I get stuck in THAT room with sucking wifi reception.

Second is the throttling issue, where each device is throttle. Once I found In a nice hotel in Orange county had wifi hard throttle to 1mbps, I also found I could use the external USB adapter, the laptops internal adapter, and the rooms wired ethernet, and carefully created routing table, to get 3x 1 mbps streams....

I've once had the whole wifi in a hilton hotel come down, after the main login server got a virus, (short hills NJ). On the other hand the best wifi I've ever had at a hotel was at a hilton group hotel (doubletree in chesterfield MO).

There are exceptions (2)

reboot246 (623534) | about 4 months ago | (#47626469)

I practically live on the road and I stay in some pretty cheap places. Most of the time the wifi is fairly slow, but sometimes I'm surprised by how fast it is.

Right now I'm in a $43/night Scottish Inn in a small city in Tennessee and I'm getting over 14 Mbps downstream. Last month I stayed in a $45/night motel in Baldwin County Alabama and had close to 30 Mbps at times (averaged over 20). More than enough to read and post on slashdot.

The very worst motels for internet are Motel 6 and Super 8. When will the motel owners realize you can't share a dial-up connection?!?

A lot depends on the internet service available to the motel and how many people staying there are using it. Remember, a lot of motels, especially the lower priced ones, are owned by individuals, and their attitude towards technology determines how much importance they place on having fast internet for their customers. Some really don't care.

Also, let me take this opportunity to say "Hello!" to all my Patel friends.

Hotel WiFi (2)

Jager Dave (1238106) | about 4 months ago | (#47627805)

I'm the GM of a large, non-brand, hotel south of Miami. But guess what, by trade, I'm a network engineer (I burned out, and I like the hotel business). But I had a hand in designing our new WiFi network. It's free to guests, just requires a 'token'/password for the guests to access, that everyone gets when they check in. I have the routers configured to limit each device to 5Mb, and even though I only have 100Mb bandwidth to the gateway, guests are always commenting on how we have the fastest WiFi in any hotel they've stayed at, even when we're full (160 rooms).

OK, I'm waiting to see how it works for the NASCAR championship in November, when there's going to be a couple hundred people watching streaming race clips all weekend... Might need to keep a fire-extinguisher next to the router...

Re:Hotel WiFi (1)

ruir (2709173) | about 4 months ago | (#47628519)

Install a giant screen with free beers to the guests in some large conference room...less complaints and the food they ask to go with it will more than pay the beers.

Not Buying It (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47627839)

A few years ago I found myself at a DC hotel, 5 star, payed by NASA. After arriving after 10 pm, I spent 10 pm to 12 trying to find a room with working wifi or ethernet !

The Hotel staff helped me to find a room with a working wifi or ethernet !

It was mind-boggling and interesting that at a 5-Star DC hotel (US Government Payed) in the late-hours and wee-hours I became a "tester" for their wifi and ethernet.

We found out a lot of "things" with their network (In the same hotel, New York Governor [Eliot Sptizer] and his "accomplice" were having quite and night) and I hope that the information I gave them helped them. Looks like it really did !

True story.

timing - which year (2)

SteveWoz (152247) | about 4 months ago | (#47628049)

I travel a ton and stay in dozens of different hotels every year. Domestically, and in maybe 50% of the foreign cases, the high priced hotels had worse and slower internet up until a couple of years ago. For the last 2 years they have gotten better, on the average. Oh, I was in a 5-star Vegas resort last night that had horrible bandwidth. In the past, my joke was accurate that the difference between a Four Seasons (just an example) and a Super 8 is that at the Super 8 the internet worked and was free. The most important thing to me in a hotel is computer use. The fancy suites in major hotels are often set up for entertaining friends and DON'T even have a computer desk. I ask my wife to book me into Super 8's whenever possible.

5 star hotels charge at least $15/night for WiFi (1)

ayesnymous (3665205) | about 4 months ago | (#47628155)

At least I expensed that to my company.

OpenSignal sucks: Not enough data (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47628643)

OpenSignal is unusable. They don't even have 0.1% of the real coverage.
My city shows up having zero coverage for 4G and my history shows up as having 4G signal 68% of time.

I submitted data for months and they never included it.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?