Supplement to Surviving With Wifi In The U.S.

I am back from Boston reflecting on what’s happened over the week. One of the things I found quite interesting was to see how much Wifi Internet access is used at the two hotels I stayed during the week. In the DaysInn hotel which offered free Wifi, throughput was in the range of around 300-400 kbit/s in the evening and in the range of 1 MBit/s in the early morning hours. Looks like heavy use to me.

I detected the same behavior in the Westin hotel in Boston which charges 10 dollars a day for Internet access. During evening hours, I didn’t get speeds any higher than 300 kbit/s and the voice quality of my Skype sessions where at times a bit rough. I did a quick check with Wireshark which detected around 150 active computers in the network! It’s probably not surprising as there were around 300 telecoms people staying in the hotel 🙂 As in the previous hotel, speeds where much higher in morning hours (around 5 MBit/s).

And the moral of the story: Internet access in hotels is quickly becoming an expected basic service. For 300 bucks a night however, I wonder why the towels and soap are free while Internet has to be paid for separately!? One could argue if one stays at a hotel for 300 bucks a night 10 extra dollars will not hurt. Good point. But again, why don’t they then lower the room price and charge separately for towels, soap, water, light, air conditioning, room cleaning and TV inside the room? I just don’t see the difference…

P.S.: And of course, these findings also indicate that hotels should monitor usage and think about upgrading their DSL backhaul.