Free WiFi can Disappoint

wifiI have mentioned before how quickly I start searching for a WiFi service wherever I go. If you’ve got a smartphone and you’re reliant on 3G it’s not going to be a great experience.

Sometimes WiFi will be freely available in a public place, such as a coffee shop. Increasingly this will be from providers like The Cloud. That’s fine if you’re already registered with them, otherwise trying to register using your 3G connection, if you’ve got a signal, will be a slow, frustrating process. If you’re abroad then you’ll have your roaming data switched off if you have any sense, so you find your options even more limited.

Often however your WiFi options will be provided as part of something else you’re paying for, like a hotel room. But are you getting value for money? I’m not sure that hotel WiFi is anything like as good as it could be. Things are likely to change as technology finds a better way but at the moment the experience in some hotels can be that the wireless router is at the Reception and it’s tough luck if your room is at the far end of the building.

In hotels with many floors, I also suspect that they rely on one transmitter per floor. A recent hotel stay was a frustrating time as the connection kept dropping out. Surely there is an opportunity to place more signals on each floor. What about a technology that’s now available in the home?

WiFi Booster Plug

You can now buy a WiFi booster plug that uses the internal wiring in your house to relay Wi-Fi to parts of your home your router struggles to reach. If hotels put one of these in each room and had decent bandwidth coming into the building then maybe the service would be consistent and strong enough to play video.

As 4G roaming connections become more widespread and, incidentally so do the phones that can make use of them, then surely our expectations for WiFi services will also incrementally increase? Eventually entire cities will follow the model of Philadelphia, with city-wide service and we’ll all have web-enabled cars. And jet packs.

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