Most hotels offer free Internet access these days, and this can be a great addition to any travel package, especially when you travel to a foreign country. This way, you’ll be able to share your great experiences with all your friends as they happen, and maybe even do some “real” work while you are gone.
Here are some tips that will help you connect to your hotel’s Wi-Fi network the proper way, and then maximize your Internet browsing experience.
Begin by updating your computer, tablet or smartphone. Do this at home – before leaving, of course. Often times, software patches fix important security problems, and you want to keep your device free from any form of malware. According to Data Alliance, the number of malware threats has grown by 600% in the 2012-2016 interval. so the danger is real.
How will you connect to the Internet while you are away? If you’ve got an older laptop, it may not have a Wi-Fi card. If this is the case, you can purchase an inexpensive wireless USB adapter, and then plug it into one of your laptop’s USB ports to fix the problem for good.
Some hotels keep their Wi-Fi networks open, allowing people to connect without using a password. Others make use of the ancient WEP protocol, which can be cracked by an experienced hacker within minutes. Stay away from these types of networks; you want to connect your device to a WPA2 or at least a WPA network that requires a password.
You should get the Wi-Fi network name and password at the reception desk. If you didn’t get it, simply ask the receptionist to give you that info. And if it’s an open network, tell him/her that you need to connect to the Internet using a password-protected network. Most hotels have several Wi-Fi networks, and you should always use a secure network, even if this means paying a little extra.
The available networks will be listed in your device’s Settings -> Wi-Fi sections if you have an Android phone or tablet, for example. If you’ve got a laptop running Windows 10, you can see the Wi-Fi networks nearby by clicking Start -> Settings -> Network & Internet -> Show Available Networks. The much faster alternative is to click the display + network cable icon in the taskbar. That icon may be hidden on some computers, though, so the first method is guaranteed to work fine anytime.
Click the name of your hotel’s Wi-Fi network; if it can’t be found in the list, try and reboot your device, and then start over. You can also add the desired network manually, by typing in its name. But if this fails as well, it’s time to take your device to the reception desk and ask them to connect it to the Internet. I guarantee that you aren’t the first person to have this problem, so you shouldn’t feel uneasy because of it.
But let’s assume that everything works fine, the way it does in most cases. Open your browser, and it should send you to your hotel’s landing page, where you will have to input the password (sometimes called “authorization code”) and click an “OK” button. That’s all! You should now be able to have full access to the Internet, being able to browse the web, access your email, etc.
Depending on the OS, you can verify the strength of the Wi-Fi signal by clicking or moving the mouse over the wireless icon that can be found in the taskbar. On mobile devices, signal strength is visible once you get to the list of Wi-Fi connections. If the signal is weak, move your device in the room until its strength improves (you see more active signal bars).
Once you’ve gotten Internet access, you can share it with other devices through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and even by using a plain USB cable. Another solution is to utilize a travel router, a small device that makes use of your hotel’s connection to create a new Wi-Fi network, where you can connect as many devices as you need.