Internet Connection Hotels

Internet Connection Hotels
Wifi Hotels

Internet Hotels

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Finding Hotels with wireless WIFI connection

If you are like me, you need to connect to wireless Internet when you're on the road. Here's how to find hotels with a proper WIFI connection for your laptop.

Different hotels have different levels of wireless Internet connection. More often, savvy hoteliers are realizing a free, hotel-wide, fast and stable WIFI connection makes the biggest deciding factor for whether businessmen and women will even consider their hotel on their trip itinerary.

I have stayed at hotels with poor, wobbly and uncertain connection and won't visit them again. It's just too tough to get much serious work done if you can't rely on a good connection.

Here are some tips for finding a hotel with a proper wireless Internet connection:

Search on the Internet Before You Go
Many hotels have websites of their own, listing whether they have wireless Internet available - or at least providing a number for you to call ahead and check. provides very good hotel descriptions, plus you can set your search parameters to only bring up hotels with WIFI access.

Ask How Far the WIFI Extends
Some hotels only have WIFI on the bottom floors or in public areas, which is fine in a pinch. With other hotels, only rooms close to the main office will be within WIFI range, or within rooms close enough to the business center. It's always worth asking before you go whether your room will be within range. Ask to be moved if possible or necessary. As a rule, I will select hotels with free and clear WIFI in every room, so I don't have to worry.

Get the Password
Ask ahead of time so you don't try to log in and get frustrated later. You won't need a password at every hotel, but very many have a secured system.

Ask if it's Free
I don't like paying for my connection. It's an annoyance factor, a feeling of being nickle-and-dimed. All things being equal, I'd rather pay a little more at a hotel where my connection is free.

Use the Business Center
Many hotels have a complete room set aside for business travelers to conduct their business on the road. These rooms often have wireless Internet and computers all set up and ready to use, for free. You can generally at least get a phone jack if your laptop isn't WIFI compatible. Business centers usually come equipped with printers, copiers and fax machine, and some have other perks as well. I will discuss hotel business centers in greater detail in a later article.

Ask if There is Another Option
Even if your hotel has nothing - no connection, no phone jack, nada - you can probably still get some work done on the Internet. Ask if there is a coffee shop, bookstore, cybercafe, public library, Kinkos or other similar place nearby. You need some place where a wireless Internet connection is likely, and that you can lounge at for a few hours and quietly work. It's also worth firing up your computer in your room or in the lobby, to see if there is any local hot spot you can log on with anyway.

Not all hotel and motel clerks even understand what a wireless Internet connection is. Many times I've gotten the "blank stare" when I ask if they have WIFI. And some clerks don't even know they have WIFI, even if that hotel does, indeed. Hotel managers need to know how important it is to train their employees to have an understanding of this issue. It's worth a bit of education to retain the patronage of those who make their living on the road.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

On the Road Again: Internet Access Away from Home with a Windows XP-based Laptop

By Barb Bowman, Windows XP Expert Zone Community Columnist
On a recent trip across country, I found myself immobilized in the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. A large number of flights had been delayed or cancelled because of bad weather. The ticket counters were jammed, the lines were long, and calling Northwest Airlines on my cell phone, all I could get was a busy signal.

I was standing in line, juggling luggage and my laptop. Out of desperation, I grabbed my Sierra Air Card 300 (which I use to connect my IPAQ Pocket PC to the Omnisky Service) and fired up my Windows XP Professional laptop. I pushed the card into a pcmcia slot.
I was amazed and delighted to find that the Windows XP operating system had an in-box driver for this card. After 20 seconds an icon in the system tray announced that my new hardware was installed and ready for use. I restarted the computer, and when I logged on, I found that it had already established a wireless network connection and that I had Internet access, albeit slow at 19.2 Kbps. In less than five minutes, I opened the Northwest Airlines flight information and reservations Web site, I found an available flight that had not been cancelled, and made a reservation online. Yes, I made it home that night and slept in my own bed. Thank you, Microsoft Windows XP Professional!

Internet connectivity for travelers in airports is on the rise. For now, however, you're more likely to find connectivity at your hotel, where the number of options usually increases dramatically over what is available at airports.

The Lobby Connection:
Hotel lobbies are becoming wireless connection hot spots at a rapid pace. Wireless 802.11b access is available in many of the Double Tree, Radisson, Four Seasons, Hilton, Marriott, and Wyndham hotels. In many cases it's absolutely free of charge.
As in airports, these services are often provided by Wayport and Mobilestar. For the easiest access, you need an 802.11b wireless card, such as Agere's Orinoco or Cisco's Aironet card, which support Windows XP wireless zero configuration. In the hotel lobby, simply power on your laptop with your wireless card inserted in the pcmcia slot. If a connection is not made automatically, the wireless connection icon will display a red "x" as shown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1.
Right click the wireless connection icon, and then click View Available Wireless Networks.

Figure 2.
Windows XP will detect signals and display a list of any available wireless networks within range of your computer as shown in Figure 3 below.

Figure 3.

In the image above, a Wayport access point has been discovered. Click to select Wayport_Access and then click Connect.

Start Internet Explorer and enter the URL of any site on the Internet.

The Wayport Welcome Page will appear if the connection is not being offered free of charge. Navigate to Connection Options, and complete the information for the type of connection you wish to purchase.
A word or two of caution—neither Wayport nor MobileStar offer WEP for data encryption. Be cautious of the kind of data you are sending and receiving. And use a firewall (isn't it convenient that Windows XP supplies ICF (Internet Connection Firewall) as a basic firewall for use in just this type of situation?).

The Room Connection:
When you reach your hotel, you may find that you have a choice of connectivity options in your room. We've come a long way from the old days of crawling under desks or behind beds to find a place to plug in your modem.
Many major hotel chains and even small bed and breakfast accommodations offer dialup data ports near regular room telephones. And, in increasing numbers, hotels are offering in-room wired Ethernet connectivity at approximately $9.95 per 24 hour period.

Choosing hotel connectivity when there are several options depends on what tasks you need to perform. If your hotel offers free, wireless 802.11b lobby access, and you need it only to keep in touch with family and friends, it's an obvious choice if you have a wireless card.
If there is no free wireless service, and you need e-mail to keep in touch with family and friends, a dialup connection in your hotel room may be the smart choice, even if faster Ethernet is available. Most hotels will charge you for making local calls, or even if you use an 800 number. And remember that toll-free 800 numbers offered by Internet Service Providers usually carry their own surcharge of around 10 cents per minute.

If you can't handle slow, dial-up speeds, and you want to do more than just check e-mail, you may choose to pay for an Ethernet connection in your room.
To make a successful connection, start your computer using DHCP and when the desktop displays, open Internet Explorer and try to reach any Web site. An intercept page from the hotel's provider should appear with pricing information and a place to enter credit card information.

If you normally use a static IP address at home or in your office, but you travel frequently, Windows XP allows you to save two configurations for networking. You can connect to a DHCP server if one is available, and you can use a static IP configuration for a fallback. Windows XP will first attempt to contact a DHCP server; if none is found after 30 seconds, your computer will use the static IP. To set this up:
Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Network and Internet Connections.
Click Network Connections.
Right-click Local Area Connection/Wireless Network Connection and then click Properties.
Select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and then click Properties as shown in Figure 4 below.
Write down the settings for your statically configured connection.

Figure 4.
Now click Obtain an IP address automatically.
Click the Alternate Configuration tab.
Click User configured as shown in Figure 5 below.
Enter the settings that you wrote down in step 5.

Figure 5.

Navigating the E-mail Issues
Sometimes, the e-mail account provided by your ISP won't work if you're not on the ISP network. Many ISPs allow you to receive mail via their pop servers off-network, but they won't allow you to send mail via their SMTP servers. A hotel service provider may offer an alternative SMTP server for outbound mail. But some hotel providers disable or block port 25, preventing access to e-mail pop accounts. You can check with your hotel before your trip and ask who provides Internet connectivity for them, then visit their provider's Web site for information.
If you cannot use your regular e-mail, you can use a Hotmail account to keep in touch. If you know that you'll be using Hotmail while on the road, you can find out if your regular ISP offers a way to forward your e-mail to your Hotmail account. You can set up the forwarding before you leave home.

Barb Bowman enjoys sharing her own experiences and insights into today's leading edge technologies. She is a product development manager for AT&T Broadband Internet Services, but her views here are strictly personal. Source: Windows

Internet Connection In Hotels Around The World


This blog will treat internet connection topic in the hotels around the world.
Including wireless connections - wifi.

Enjoy reading,