Data from Statista projects nearly 550 million Wi-Fi hotspots by the year 2022. Unfortunately, while there are many, many public Wi-Fi connections are poor. And hotels can be among the worst. Here’s how to avoid the pitfalls of hotel Wi-Fi.
How to get around Bad hotel Wi-Fi
How fast do you need to find a connection? 10 Mbps is probably enough for barebones like browsing and checking email. But 25Mbps and above is what you should really be looking for – that speed is suitable for most online tasks, including streaming.
Do your research
The very first thing to do is prepare yourself. When planning your next trip, check your hotel’s Wi-Fi connection before booking. Call the reception and ask what their connection speed is.
You can even ask where the routers are and try to book a room close by. That can boost your signal if the hotel uses cheap routers or not enough. If you’re staying with a well-known hotel chain, give it a try through sites like hotelwifitest.com or speedcheck.org
Read reviews on Google and Yelp and look for complaints about the network. If there are many, you may want to try somewhere else. If it’s nowhere possible in the area, see if there are libraries, coffee shops, and even other hotel lobbies that you can use as a last resort.
Don’t assume that a fancy hotel chain means fast internet. A quick search on Hotel Wi-Fi Test for Houston, Texas shows that Hilton hotels have some of the slowest reported download speeds.
Bring a travel router
There are numerous router options for the frequent traveler. However, many of them require you to connect to the hotel room’s ethernet port, so bring the necessary cables. Also keep in mind that hotels are aware of this and may have turned off the ethernet connection in your room or removed the port altogether.
If you can use a travel router in your room, you can connect multiple devices to it and work on a more secure connection than the hotel’s standard Wi-Fi. You can find a cheap (but capable!) Travel router for around $ 40, while more advanced models cost $ 80 and up.
You may also want to consider a wireless USB antenna or adapter. With an even smaller form factor than a travel router, an adapter can significantly boost the Wi-Fi signal you receive from the hotel.
Upgraded hotel Wi-Fi
TP-Link AC750 travel router
Connect this inexpensive device to your hotel room’s Ethernet port to create your own personal Wi-Fi network.
Use your phone as a hotspot
If you have good cellular service and a wall charger for your phone, it’s possible to bypass the hotel’s Wi-Fi completely by turning your phone into a wireless hotspot. iPhones and Android phones can generate a secure wireless network that you can use in hotspot mode.
That’s probably only a viable option if you have an unlimited data plan and good cell signal strength. If not, you can try sharing your laptop’s wired ethernet connection with other devices over Wi-Fi with an app like Connectify (paid) for PC. Mac computers can share their connection for free.
Consider a VPN for privacy
Whichever method (s) you use, make sure you browse as safely as possible. If you can spare a few dollars a month, get a virtual private network (VPN) and use it every time you connect to a public access point.
RELATED: What is a VPN and Why Do I Need One?