Is Starbucks WiFi having problems?

24 Comments

Starbucks_logoWhen Starbucks first made their deal to switch from T-Mobile hotspots to AT&T I saw some strange things in a few of their stores.  The presence of two separate WiFi hotspots in a single Starbucks sometimes gave my PC pause as it tried to connect to one of the two at random.  That soon settled down and for me the Starbucks WiFi has been business as usual for a while.  That’s apparently not the experience that some are having as Buzz Bruggeman is complaining how the T-Mobile hotspots in various Starbucks locations have been giving him fits recently.

Over the last week I have had endless problems trying to log in. And ifyou call T-Mobile tech support their responses demonstrate a new levelof cluelessnes.

Buzz is no doubt running into the support issues I foresaw when Starbucks quit T-Mobile.  I don’t think T-Mob cares about Starbucks customers any longer but no doubt that short-sightedness will bite them in the long run.

So how is the WiFi at Starbucks been for you lately?

24 Comments

David

I’m a T-Mobile user, and noticed the jumpiness in service. I got annoyed by the occasional disconnects, but it wasn’t THAT irritating. (Yet.) Now, connection still works fine for the most part at T-Mobile brand hotspots like Kinko’s and the rare Starbucks that hasn’t switched. But at AT&T locations, the disconnects seem to be getting worse.

Yesterday while waiting on a friend in an unfamiliar city, an AT&T location dropped connection on me after an hour. (“could not find the server at blahblah.com”) No big deal, I’m getting used to this by now, I officially disconnect from the Starbucks wifi and then reconnect. No luck. I turn off my AirPort, wait a bit, and turn it back on. No luck with that either. So I go with the last technique that usually works, shut down and then bring the computer back up. Still nothing.

An hour and a half of intermittent trying the above techniques and others, I just gave up and left since I’d run out of things I could do offline. Fortunately, my friend got out of work soon after.

Anyone else have this happening? And is it just me, or does it come across as an extremely unsubtle way of trying to either 1) make people switch to AT&T or 2) automatedly “kick out” people who Starbucks corporate thinks are unprofitable?

kiofel

My Starbucks att card never depletes. I’ve charged the thing about a half a dozen times up until a month ago. Now it just seems to connect me for hours on end without charging me a cent. Oh well.

nani hoaloha

I figured out the problem….

…Lots of people (myself included) are experiencing authentication failures because the login servers are unable to keep up with the traffic. The presentation of this is: invalid username and/or password.

A quick call to the Starbucks Card customer service confirmed that they’ve been fielding questions about the service outage, but according to Michael (the frazzled [rep] that answered my call), they don’t have an ETA for the outage resolution. They’re hoping for service restoration soon, but no guarantees.

http://www.alleyinsider.com/2008/6/free_att_wifi_swamps_starbucks_servers

Hyped

Same problem as B Knotts. I can’t log in but can log in to the maintenance page. However, if I select the “forgot password” link (even though I know it!) and then let it generate a password for me, it works. Pain in the butt though!!!
What’s going on???

Buzz Bruggeman

It’s good to know that I am not the only one with problems. It seems that in some stores T-Mobile works, and in others ATT works. My guess is that the staff is immune to the problem, tech support is a hassle, and T-Mobile has this who undertaking in the rear view mirror, hence leaving customers sucking the gas pipe….

Charles H

I had the exact same experience as B Knotts did – could log in to the AT&T Account Maintenance page but not the AT&T WiFi. That was in Lansing, MI at 8:30pm EST.

B Knotts

I got a Starbucks card and created the necessary accounts, but have not been able to log in successfully at any Starbucks location. At the first location I tried, I couldn’t even get to the login page. Since then, I’ve been able to get to the AT&T login page, which then tries to authenticate against T-Mobile (yes, I connected to “attwifi”), which then fails (“Please check your user name and password and re-enter.”)

I can, while I’m connected, log into the AT&T account maintenance page, so I know I’ve got the proper username/password. I just enter my basic username and pick “AT&T Wifi” from the drop-down menu. Hopefully, that’s the right way, although I also tried appending “@attwifi.com” just for laughs. Still no go.

Imran Anwar

Glad to run into this posting. I signed up with Starbucks (where I don’t even like the coffee) to use the 2 hours plan if needed, but was not able to get online except once.

First time it took 18 minutes before the sbsglobal.something.com website authenticated me. The next time it took 1 hour and I could not connect. The only other person in the place said it took him half an hour before his Dell connected. I tried with both Mac OS X and Windows on separate machines.

When you connect to attwifi it still actually goes through some T-Mobil network to connect to the Southwestern Bell (SBC?) type old AT&T server to validate and that is ugly in responding.

Glad someone is exposing this BS service.

Imran

Robt

I have experienced the same issue at at least 2 SB’s in the past month. Both AT&T and T-Mobile are present but can’t connect to either of them. Friday while traveling in the Denver area, same thing again and when I pulled up the OTA iTunes app on the iPhone, the UI was blinking like a strobe everytime I tried to see the SB portion of the store and “purchase what is playing now”

David Cournoyer

I have had no problems logging into at&t at Starbucks.

Will

I used the AT&T access point by grabbing one of their cards and registering it. When I registered, it went through fine, but wouldn’t let me login afterwords, even though I could login to manage my account, just not get on the internet. I called the support line, and with no wait at 5 PM on a Friday, she reset my password and I was on my way.

Mickey Segal

Today I used an iPod Touch in a Starbucks, and clicked on the ATT wireless service (T-Mobile was offered too). I didn’t click through to any of the pay or loyalty card options. Nevertheless, the ATT service worked for connecting to Apple’s AppStore.

I don’t know if this was a bug or a feature (possibly related to the iPhone / ATT deal), but it was convenient.

James Kendrick

Travis, most Starbucks now have both AT&T and T-Mobile as a result of SBUX switching. They have to carry both for a time.

Travis

I’m confused. Does Starbucks have AT&T or T-Mobile wireless internet in their stores?

JM

Over the course of 2-3 months, as my local Starbucks has transitioned to integrate the T-Mobile and AT&T WiFi, there were some teething problems I noted. I have AT&T Pro Elite Tier DSL service at home and included in my monthly subscription is the ability to log on to any AT&T hot spot. About a month ago I could not get on because the AT&T portion kept defaulting me to a T-Mobile error page. I also had some intermittent issues getting logged on. Yesterday it worked very well, and I was able to work at my “mobile office” and enjoy coffee with no issues. One thing I did notice was that the auto log in page that comes up is Java based. On my MacBook Pro, Dell XPS M1220, Toshiba Libretto, Samsung Q1 (Celeron), and IBM ThinkPad X41 it pulls up that log in page with minimal lag. But on my Fujitsu U810 the page lags up to 5 minutes before pulling up the full page. In either XP or Vista, the U810 takes so long to pull up the page that I sometimes resort to my Sprint USB Air Card 595U, because I have to reload the page multiple times. Other than that it has been smooth at my local Starbucks …. now if they can do something about music there ….

Brad Davis Seal

In the last week I’ve used both at&t and tmobile at starbucks without any problems. I have a tmobile hotspot account but I wanted to test the new deal that starbucks has. If you use a starbucks card you get 2 free hours of at&t wifi a day-it worked great.

Jim Popovitch

Wifi @ Starbucks, where AT&T has assumed the service and attempts to pass the login to T-Mobile, sucks. T-Mobile Wifi @ other, non-AT&T, sites (airports, etc) still rocks! The problems more than likely stem from the fact that AT&T probably doesn’t really care much about satisfying T-Mobile customers (and frankly I can’t fault them for that attitude). If I knew that AT&T wifi was just as good as the previous T-Mobile, then I would setup an AT&T account PDQ. Unfortunately my only past experiences with AT&T (SBC) wifi was at Caribou Coffee shops and frankly the constant disconnects and high latency eventually turned me into a Starbucks fan.

-Jim P.

Chuck Boyce

T-mobile hotspots are not working in New York City Starbucks. I phoned T-mobile and they acknowldged the outage and credited me $5. They said they expected the NYC-wide outage to be less than a week. We’ll see…

Robert

While I don’t frequently use my Tmobile Hotspot subscription so I cant really say anything about its performance. I have been a Tmobile cellular customer for 7 years and they absolutely have the best customer service of any company I’ve dealt with. Everytime I’ve had an issue their customer reps dealt with it immediately professionally and knowledgably. They also have had some of the nicest customer reps as well.

Oliver

I rarely used WiFi at Starbucks prior to the switch to AT&T (I could get “free” (to me) access through iPass, but didn’t feel like making my employer pay $9/day if I could also use my EVDO card for free.

Since the switch to AT&T, I have used WiFi on occasions and never experienced a problem connecting or getting decent speed. That said, virtually all my favorite non-Starbucks coffee houses nowadays have free WiFi, so I am not really very dependent on the big “bad” chain from Seattle. Just noticed the other day that Peet’s Coffee and Tea seems to be rolling out WiFi now…

William C Bonner

I’ve had problems in some of the Starbucks. I pay for internet with T-Mobile and there’s nothing more frustrating than a service that you pay for not working.

More recently I’ve spent time in other coffee houses that have free WiFi.

Judi Sohn

I’ve absolutely noticed a serious decline in T-Mobile Hotspots, and not just at Starbucks. It’s slow and very prone to fits which the folks at T-Mobile will always blame on the device.

My wifi provider of choice these days is Boingo, by far. Even better that they’ll be in all Starbucks soon thanks to partnership with AT&T. I’m just waiting another 2 months for my T-Mobile contract to expire to officially jump ship. The only place it will matter is in Borders.

Jasen

Absolutely! Since I am a barista, I use wifi on my iPod touch to check news and blogs whenever I get a break. It has been wonky ever since at&t(and free wifi for employees) started. Only recently has AT&T improved. Maybe at the same time T Mobile started having problems?

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