August 2009


WLAN/WiFi Quandaries

So I am looking at hotels and motels in some of the more remote Wyoming spots on my trip.

Should I believe places when they say they have complementary high speed Internet access, although one cannot make a reservation on their website, instead having to call them directly?

What about motels that have websites, but not a Top Level Domain site. Pretend its an informational page about a motel, claiming to have free ‘net access, hosted on their web site developer’s domain. Would you believe them? Would you call them?

I’m still in the process of adjusting my own expectations.

6 comments to WLAN/WiFi Quandaries

  • disenchanted

    LOL. We had the same problem with our campgrounds. The one at Devil’s Tower said there was internet access, but it sure wasn’t wifi (which is what we were expecting, given the fact that we had wifi in our cabin in Tempe). The other one had wifi but it didn’t work well.

    As for hotels, can’t help you out. We stayed in Hampton Inns for most night. The only economy hotel we stayed in was outside Interior, SD. No TV in the pretty stripped down room … but, by god, we had wifi! Go figure.

  • I pretty much don’t believe anyone who says they have free WLAN internet service for their guests/clients — and then am pleasantly surprised when it’s usable.

    I don’t equate web presence (own domain or otherwise) with the ability to run a WLAN access point (or ethernet port in the room, for that matter) and internet gateway. Zwei verschiedene Paar Stiefel!

  • I’m with Cliff on both counts. Call and ASK if they have WLAN. IF they say yes, then HOPE that it works, or HOPE that the generally weak-ass signal reaches from the lobby to your room.

    As for the website thing, nah… lots of these places got stuck in a contract with a crappy website provider because they didn’t know what to do otherwise. It doesn’t mean the company that provides the Internet services on-site is necessarily AS bad.

  • I don’t stay at hotels/motels and I almost never travel within the US, but I think you’ll find that wifi isn’t as prevalent in the US as in Europe. So much for the “greatest” country in the world that has “everything”. Do you think Americans will ever wake up?

  • Jul

    “Free wifi” has replaced “Free HBO” on most motel signs out there. We had wifi at our podunk Wyoming hotel last year, and it worked fine. When you check in perhaps ask for a room that gets a good signal.

  • @disenchanted: The one Hampton Inn along my route wants 159$ a night — I’m sorry, rural Wyoming–No. New York City — maybe. For me its a price/location thing. I am willing to pay a bit more if it means that once the car is parked, I won’t have to drive again, so I keep looking at Google Maps to see where the center of town is…

    @Cliff1976: You’re right, they are two different things, but I equate the ability to put together (manage) a decent website and webreservation system to awareness of Internet access… if a hotel’s IT services can’t do one, I doubt they can do the other… Although in Wyoming, it means that the owner hired a crappy local website designer and possibly has access to broadband from a decent cable television provider.

    @Snooker: True Fact. Oddly in some places I make location a much higher priority than Internet access, although if two places appear equally decent, then ‘net access becomes a deciding factor.

    @starman1695: I think that’s an unfair assessment. Germany is a densely populated country where providing Internet access is reasonable and easy. Wyoming is a rural state where the cost of burying the cables necessary to provide high speed net access can be or is extremely high–with little hope of recouping the initial investments. It’s a place where government needs to step in and correct for market failures. You should try visiting parts of the US you don’t know; as well as continue European adventures. Going new places is rewarding–with or without ‘net access. Armenia, for me, was the greatest trip I’ve ever taken, and I had net access only once.

    @Jul: Good to know! I will probably make the last set of reservations for my Wyoming jaunt soon. I am still debating where to go after my first city, and before my last city.