As somebody that frequently travels for business, I am very appreciative of the fact that almost all hotels now have free wireless internet. Unfortunately, using the wireless internet in a hotel usually isn’t as good as promised. The connection is not secure, the connection can be very slow if many people are using the internet all at once, and if your in a room too far away from the wireless router you may not be able to get a connection at all. The good news is there is a solution to all of these problems, but first lets talk about security on a wireless internet.
Wireless internet is never perfectly secure. The fact of the matter is that if a signal is being broadcast, then it is possible for a highly skilled hacker to intercept that signal. However, with the right security, wireless internet can be reasonably secure.
The least secure thing you can do is attach to an unsecured wireless connection, like you might find at a hotel or restaurant. When you are on an unsecured connection you are at risk of such tricks as a man-in-the-middle attack where a hacker is able to intercept all of the data you send and receive.
For this reason when I am on an unsecured connection I never go to any site that requires a password. I will read the news, and go to my favorite sports bulletin boards, but I would never go to an internet banking site.
Another problem with hotel wireless is it can be pretty slow. The infrastructure for wireless internet may have been put in by the hotel years ago, when much fewer wireless devices were used. Now many people have multiple devices such as laptops, ipads, and smartphones and want to connect them all to the internet at once which can really tax the hotel’s wireless router. You might find your signal is very slow, or you might find you can’t connect at all
Carry your own wireless hotspot
The solution to this problem is to carry your own wireless router around with you when you travel. I have recently upgraded to a faster router at my home because my family is moving away from pay TV and is watching more internet streaming television. I still have my old router though. It’s the one pictured above and I bought it on Craigslist for $10. It was cheap because a dog had chewed on it. It is small so it easily fits in my suitcase and weighs less than a pound.
When I check into my hotel room, I simply look around the room to see if there is an internet jack in the wall. There normally is, so I simply plug the router in. That’s it! That’s all there is to it. It is really, really simple.
Because I have already set up my wireless router at home, the hotspot is already set up with the necessary security and just starts putting out a signal.
Now I have a strong signal that I feel comfortable doing internet banking over. It’s not a perfectly secure system, but it is reasonably secure. It is also much faster than the hotel’s wireless internet so I can do things like watch Netflix or Hulu TV over my Chromecast, which I also carry around with me. You would have a hard time doing that on your hotel’s wireless.
While not all hotel rooms will be equipped with an internet jack for this to work, I think you will find that most do. Traveling on business isn’t usually a fun thing to do, but taking your home wireless hotspot trick to hotels should make things just a little more like home.