It might not be an immediate fix, but at least it will make you feel a bit better! New website HotelWifiTest, let’s you take an internet speed test while staying at your hotel. The site then stores the results and allows you to share them via Twitter and Four Square. A public database with all collected speeds and properties is in the works as well. I can think of at least three recent stays at properties in need of some shaming – Radisson Blu Guildford, Hilton Prague Old Town, and Westin Prince Toronto (trip report coming soon).
The availability of WiFi has become a major factor when it comes to how many people choose their accommodation, but selecting a hotel for their WiFi is useless when service is spotty, bandwidth limited. No one wants to deal with constant buffering and slow speeds that limit browsing and downloading. This is why we urge you to take our speed test during your next hotel stay. Our speed test accurately assesses the speed and other characteristics of the hotel’s network, and allows you to leave a venue tip on foursquare or tweet with mentioning the hotel’s Twitter account. Because your results are bound to the hotel in which you are staying, our speed test is an excellent way to alert them about problems with the service they offer, and motivate them to make changes for the better. You can also offer praise for hotels that go above and beyond and offer great service. During your next hotel stay, visit hotelwifitest.com, take the test, and start sharing so that better hotel WiFi becomes a reality for all of us.
The Street gets to the crux of the problem and notes that 81% of business travelers have experienced poor WiFi in the last 12 months, yet rate internet as one of the most important hotel attributes, second to only a comfortable bed:
Tim Tang, an executive with managed network service provider Hughes, told how we got into this sorry state: “Hotels haven’t thought through their implementation of WiFi. Many people are using the same resource, at the same time. But the amount of broadband resources is insufficient for the demand. The first problem is capacity. Access is also a problem. It’s a perfect storm for a miserable WiFi experience.” Joel Vicent, an executive with WiFi provider Aerohive, elaborated that at most hotels, management has not acknowledged that the paradigm has changed. Most networks, he elaborated, were built out to serve an expected one device per room, and that device was a laptop with multiple big, beefy antennas that could capably hunt for and access even weak WiFi signals. Today, however, it is three to maybe more than 10 devices per room, and often those devices are iPhones, iPads, Android tablets with perhaps one feeble antenna.