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The Hotel Wi-Fi Loophole

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A hotel room can offer guest some nice little perks: mini bottles of hair products, individually wrapped plastic cups, and HBO. One item that is not complimentary is Wi-Fi. The logic behind why fast food joints offer free Wi-Fi, yet the place you settle in for the night with your laptop does not, is definitely flawed, but be not weary traveler, we’ve found a Wi-Fi loophole!

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Before we share our secret, let us first talk about savings. HotelChatter.com, a website that tracks the hotel industry, found that the average cost for Wi-Fi service in your room is almost $14 a day. That might not sting too bad for a one night layover, but $14 a day can add up over a five day work week to $70. This sets up our big secret, you can buy yourself a decent wireless router for under $70 and use it to securely set up a temporary wireless network during your stay.

The BYOR (bring your own router) idea works perfectly with the many hotels that offer free internet access through an ethernet port in the room, yet charge for Wi-Fi use. Although let us warn you, the internet connection can be like the bedspread, you might want to think twice before instinctively hopping on. Configuring the router to make sure it is secure is highly recommended. Choosing a password that is complex and using WPA security instead of WEP are two big precautions you can take that will ensure the people next to you, above you, and below you cannot access your data. And as a friendly reminder, network security is our speciality at TMS, we would be happy to configure your router before your trip.

Another loophole around paying for Wi-Fi is tethering your smartphone with a data plan to your laptop. This option is extremely handy when traveling, and tethering provides great security because you are the owner of your internet connection. Tethering does have limitations. Your connection speed is limited to your phone reception and most data plans have caps, so be sure to check your data usage status before you plan your trip around tethering.

We can also report a positive Wi-Fi trend in the hotel industry, more and more are offering complimentary Wi-Fi. Some hotels are offering various Wi-Fi speeds with a tiered pricing plan, while others are not charging anything to use the Wi-Fi in the lobby. Due to the various policies and price plans for Wi-Fi in hotels, it is always a good idea to check in advance.

Hitting the road for a big trip? Call us at 1 (626) 737-2960 to check your laptop, router, and other devices to make sure everything is secure and roadworthy so you can stay productive.