Don’t Trust Your Hotel Internet

Sure, it’s 2019 and pretty much everywhere you go there is WiFi. Everywhere from public parks to airplanes. You might be sitting in some hole in the wall restaurant in the middle of nowhere and they probably have complimentary WiFi. Hotels certain have WiFi, whether or not it is complimentary however is a whole different story.

When the internet is so ubiquitous, what you need to ask yourself is… how reliable is it?

Frankly, you never really know how reliable the internet is in the hotel that you are staying in, no matter what their brochure says.

Think of it this way, at this point in the game every single business, especially a hotel, has to list that they have WiFi or else nobody would ever stay there. Of course it is illegal to advertise falsely, but it’s not false advertising if you say you have WiFi and the WiFi barely works… after all… you do have WiFi, nobody ever promised it was going to be good. Which leads me to my thesis of this academic journal, which is don’t trust your hotel WiFi.

Here’s why…

First of all, you never know what sort of access your hotel has to the wireless network, and connecting your computer to a wireless network you are not familiar with is never a good idea. Wireless networks open your computer to a number of very specific vulnerabilities which could result in data theft.

Most hotels provide WiFi but don’t account for the idea that people are using the WiFi to stream things on their laptop rather than paying for the expensive hotel TV system that charges $1,000 for movies that were released YEARS ago. In the same way that sometimes the hot water isn’t all that hot in the morning, there is just not nearly enough bandwidth in the hotel to support this many devices.

Frequently hotels do not operate their own wireless network at all, they just contract with a wireless internet provider, and this company comes in and installs the internet for the whole hotel. These companies that provide the internet to hotels do not work on the same revenue model as hotels. While hotels are making money from your stay, these internet companies are making money on selling your data while you surf, so their motivation for giving you internet is not nearly as benevolent as the hotel.

For all of these reasons and more, I suggest you bring with you a wireless hotspot when you travel and stay at hotels, like this one or the many other options available online.

Maybe you don’t really need strong and reliable internet, maybe you’re just staying at that hotel to have a place to sleep, and you’re spending your days sightseeing, then perhaps this isn’t for you, but if you are traveling for work, or plan to use the internet for anything other than just checking your email, I would highly recommend a hotspot rather than trusting the hotel WiFi.

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