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Why is Hotel Wi-Fi so Bad? Solved!

By: Swena Kalra

Edited By: Scott Sidders

Updated on November 6, 2023

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Hotels are known for their comfy beds and luxurious amenities, but one thing that's been frustrating guests for years is the subpar Wi-Fi.

You finally reach your hotel room after a long day of travel, and the first thing you want to do is relax with a nice, cold drink and catch up on some Netflix. But then you realize—the hotel's Wi-Fi is terrible, and you end up frustrated.

Why is it that hotel Wi-Fi is commonly so bad? Let's take a look at some of the possible reasons:

1. There are too many people using the Wi-Fi at once

Hotels are usually packed with guests, and all of those people trying to use the Wi-Fi at the same time can slow it down for everyone. The Wi-Fi can be even slower if a big convention or event is going on. So if you're trying to stream a movie or download a large file, you'll likely experience some buffering or delays. And if you're trying to video chat with family or friends back home, the lag can be even more frustrating.

2. Limited Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the width of a range of frequencies or the capacity of an electrical circuit or communication line to handle signals without distortion. Wi-Fi works using two frequency bands: the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. The 2.4 GHz band has been around longer and is, therefore, more crowded because it can carry farther and penetrate walls better than the 5 GHz band. But the 5 GHz band can carry more data faster.

So, if you have a dual-band router, your devices will automatically connect to the less crowded 5 GHz band whenever possible. The problem with hotel Wi-Fi is that most hotels only have one 2.4 GHz network because it's cheaper to set up and covers a larger area. So, even if there aren't many people using the hotel Wi-Fi at any given time, the limited bandwidth is still shared by everyone trying to use it, leading to slow speeds for everyone.

3. Interference from other devices

Another reason hotel Wi-Fi is often slow is interference from other devices. If you're using the 2.4 GHz band, your connection can be slowed down by things like microwaves, baby monitors, and cordless phones—all of which operate simultaneously. And even if you're using the 5 GHz band, your connection can still be slowed down by things like Bluetooth devices and certain types of home security systems. So even if the hotel's Wi-Fi network isn't crowded, it could still be slow because of interference from other devices.

4. Poorly designed Wi-Fi networks

In some cases, the problem with hotel Wi-Fi isn't the number of people using it or the amount of interference—it's simply that the Wi-Fi network itself is poorly designed. For example, if the hotel only has one router for the entire property, that router will have to serve a large area and many people, leading to slow speeds for everyone. Additionally, if the hotel doesn't have enough access points, or if those access points aren't placed strategically, it can also lead to slow speeds. By contrast, a well-designed Wi-Fi network will have multiple routers and access points placed throughout the property, ensuring that everyone can enjoy fast and reliable Wi-Fi.

5. Old and outdated equipment

Another reason hotel Wi-Fi is often slow is that the equipment is old and obsolete. Over time, technology evolves and gets faster and more efficient. But hotel Wi-Fi networks constantly don't keep up with the latest trends. For example, older routers can't take advantage of the latest wireless technology, leading to slower speeds. Additionally, outdated equipment is more likely to experience interference from other devices, further slowing down your connection. So, even if a hotel's Wi-Fi network is well-designed and has enough bandwidth to handle all of its guests, it can still be slow because the equipment is old and outdated.

6. Poorly trained staff

Finally, hotel Wi-Fi is often slow because the team isn't adequately trained to troubleshoot and fix problems. If there's a problem with the Wi-Fi network, it's up to the hotel's staff to fix it. But the Wi-Fi network will remain slow if the team doesn't know how to troubleshoot and fix problems. So even if a hotel has a well-designed Wi-Fi network and good quality equipment, it can still be slow because the staff isn't properly trained.

All of these factors can contribute to slow hotel Wi-Fi speeds. But there are a few things you can do to improve your connection.

How to improve your hotel Wi-Fi connection?

To enjoy a fast and reliable hotel Wi-Fi connection, there are a few things you can do:

1. Use a wired connection if possible

If you're working on a time-sensitive project or need a reliable connection for something important, it's best to use a wired connection if possible. Most hotels have Ethernet ports in the rooms, so you can just bring your Ethernet cable and connect directly to the network. This will give you the fastest and most reliable connection possible.

2. Use a VPN

Another way to improve your connection is to use a VPN. A VPN will encrypt your traffic and route it through a server in another location, which can help improve your speed. Additionally, a VPN can bypass any firewalls or restrictions the hotel has put in place, giving you access to more websites and services.

3. Use a Wi-Fi extender

If you need a better connection but can't use a wired connection, you can try using a Wi-Fi extender. A Wi-Fi extender will amplify the signal from the router and extend the range, giving you a better link. Just place the extender near the router to get the strongest signal possible.

4. Check for a stronger signal in another room

The Wi-Fi signal in your hotel room will often be strongest near the window. If you're having trouble connecting to the internet, try moving to another part of the room or even to another room entirely. This will help you find a stronger signal and improve your connection.

With these tips, you can improve your hotel Wi-Fi connection and enjoy a better traveling experience.

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