Hotel WiFi versus EV-DO


I posted earlier about the WiFi situation in hotels and my own current situation in San Francisco.  This generated some questions about why not just use EV-DO since I have it along with comments sharing reader’s bad experiences with hotel connectivity.  I have been testing both the hotel WiFi here and the EV-DO for comparison purposes and not surprisingly find that both networks vary widely in speeds obtained depending on, well, who knows what exactly.

Here are some test results for the EV-DO in the hotel room:

Evdo_speed_1 Evdo_speed_2

These two tests were taken back to back with the same things going on.  They were probably about 2 minutes apart.  Both of these speeds obtained would do in a pinch but nowhere near the capability of EV-DO Rev. A as I was getting yesterday in Houston.

Here are some tests of the hotel WiFi network, also taken back to back near the same time of the tests above:

Hotel_wifi Hotel_wifi_2 Hotel_wifi_3 Hotel_wifi_4

I took four tests of the WiFi because as you can see it varies so widely (and wildly).  I can tell you having used this network for hours now that the two slowest bandwidths above are the most common on the network.  This shows why it’s not always an easy decision whether you pay for the connectivity if you must or if you go with 3G if you are fortunate enough to have that option.  I can tell you from experience that 3G typically doesn’t vary as wildly as hotel networks often do so you get at least a constant bandwidth for the most part.  This means you can test the EV-DO before you decide to pay for the WiFi if you must.



How does battery life compare?

Also, “XBox Media Extender” is a PC that has movies for an XBox to watch, not an XBox.

Dave Zatz

The last time I traveled with a “box” the hotel Internet connect (wired) blocked the Roku Netflix box. Think it was by port, but I’ve also seen certain types of traffic blocked on typical ports like 443.


Personally, I use hotel wifi when I can. I’ve hit the 5 gig cap on my ATT 3g card a few times.


The big struggle I had with dropping hotel internet and going to EVDO was my hotel in St. Louis was solid concrete – I barely had one bar in the room. The best signal I could get was down the hall next to a window. So, even relying on EVDO isn’t a guarantee.


I have a nice external antenna for my XU870 (last used in SFO) for when I can’t depend upon the hotel. The closer you get to five bars the better the speed, well most of the time…


The hotel I am in tonight happens to have a Media Device named Azureus on the network. No computers or iTunes libraries though.
Might have to VPN it tonight if it gets crowded. I hate to hook up to the Mogul again. Data Roaming can be a little pricey in Canada.


Families travel with Xbox 360s, PS3s and Wii’s all the time. So I am not surprised to see one on a hotel network. I too often see shared iTunes libraries etc.


I was just visiting my mom at Atwood Lake over the weekend and used my Mogul for tethering. Even with two bars of EV-DO roaming, I was getting fantastic speeds… since I get tethering as part of my plan, I’m content to use it whenever possible.


I was in a pretty nice $$$ hotel in Toronto last night and found 5 shared libraries in iTunes and then my notebook asked me if I wanted to connect with an XBox Media Extender. I immediately went to my network conection and found 3 other connected PC’s, XBoxes whatever!
I immediately disconnected and hooked up to my Mogul to check mail. Roam fees, be damned!
Next question, who brings their XBox 360 to a Hotel?

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