How to Deal with Managed Hotel Internet Access

In order to understand this, you’ll need to watch the video first.

I decided to stay at the Orchard Garden hotel for a few reasons: it was near Union Square, was available at a good price, and claimed to be green. It was worth trying, I thought.

The hotel farms out Internet service, which isn’t out of the ordinary. I encountered my first issue within minutes of trying to get online (wireless). The account registration page, seemingly tied into my MAC address, passed me to a 404 after stepping through the form. I couldn’t get online that way, so I tried a wired connection – which landed me at the same dead end.

I got on the phone, gave the CSR a few bits of info, and within minutes I was online (after they toggled a filter on their end). Immediately, I fired up my email client and started to upload the first of what would likely be several videos to YouTube. I got about halfway through the transfer when I lost my IP address. Curious.

Luckily, I didn’t wait on hold for long before I was speaking to another customer service rep. He suggested I change my cable – which had never failed me before. No matter, I took his suggestion and had a serviceman bring one to my room. As expected, I could still not get a connection.

My third call to the managed hotel ISP yielded no answers. I was left to my own devices, and decided that I’d try my luck with a spotty 3G connection. I’m glad I had that, because…

I’m certain that many of you expected me to stream from the hotel… this might explain why I didn’t. Did anyone forget to tell them there’s a geek convention in town?

To the hotel’s credit, I didn’t directly complain to anybody (figured it would have been a fruitless effort). Turns out, the director of sales caught wind of that video – and had a bottle of white wine delivered to my room that afternoon. He was friendly, but suggested I might have warned them ahead of time of my potentially excessive usage. I’ve stayed at so many hotels over the years, and I’ve never been cut off from the Internet in any of them – ever.

Despite this snag, I’m still going to recommend the Orchard Garden. The food is great, the staff is friendly, and they have a great ethos. Be forewarned: you may have issues with your Internet access. Also note that there’s a similarly named hotel right down the block, so be sure you map things accordingly.

14 thoughts on “How to Deal with Managed Hotel Internet Access”

  1. Very nice post. I too have had horrible experiences with hotels and internet connectivity, A quick tip for people is to check reviews on the hotel. I made sure to also check how good the internet connectivity was too :) Do your research!

  2. That’s why I carry a 3G card as a backup internet connection. Hotel Internet access is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.

  3. Rage contained…

    Looking at this another way, would the hotel turn off the power to your room because you use too much of it? Would the hotel turn off the TV because you watched it too much?

    Thankful that 3G services are pretty good in the UK compared to the US, so I have never had to…

  4. I work for a 311 room hotel near Orlando, FL. Over the past few years, We’ve noticed a steady increase in guests who expect internet access. Unfortunately, as with most tech things, the need tends to outstrip the infrastructure, and when we do get the ok to expand, it’s not long before we’re right back on the bad side again.
    If you are going to be doing more than checking email and a bit of web browsing, it’s usually a good idea to contact the hotel before you book the room, to find out who their provider is, and what usage policy is in place. In most cases if you’re going to exceed their limits, they can re-provision the bandwith to accomodate, but they will probably charge you for this.

  5. I think that that hotel needs to get more bandwidth from their ISP because if a guy can’t even upload ONE video to youtube without getting cut off for using too much bandwidth, that’s a problem. Either that or they need to redo their “filters”.

  6. I’ve never had an issues with my internet connection in regards to bandwidth usage at hotels. More than once I simply found myself dealing with just overall slow WiFi and spotty wired connections

  7. Thats a major bummer. I have dealt with some really bad situations though. I stayed at a hotel once where the power was out for 8 hours and no one understood what happened. There were also roaches in some rooms, and some kids got robbed of their clothes and money. Maybe you should sort these things out before you go? Ive never seen that problem so I really dont know what to do.

  8. When I first saw the video I felt your frustration. While my issues weren’t with bandwidth that I know of – I will have to ask next time – I had a bunch of educational media to upload to BlackBoard while at a convention. I either couldn’t stay connected or my connection to the room was cut. One of the main reasons as I understood it was that there was construction in my wing.

    Glad to see things turned out well after all. You got a bottle of wine…Nice!

  9. I love the video last week! The expression on your face was priceless! I am glad that you did take the time to clarify the experience in this post though.

    Nice work.

  10. I remember one hotel, our internet connection got jacked, but not because of bandwidth. I decided that I would try to play Halo online, but that would involve using GameSpy Arcade to connect online. Well, the hotel saw the name GameSpy trying to connect online somehow and jacked the connection because they figured it to likely be spyware only because of the “Spy” in GameSpy. Oh well.

  11. I travel – a lot. Most hotels could care less what bandwidth I use or what I do. But WiFi is a shared medium so bandwidth, by definition, is constrained by the number of users. I have more issues with the authentication scripts. At one Holiday Inn, the scripts under IE caused Antiv to get upset with a lot of alerts that had to be acknowledged. Firefox was less troublesome. But the authentication periodically reappeared interrupting whatever I was doing.

    I can recall one hotel that ‘was changing wireless providers’ so I was forced into using dial-up. I keep a cheap dial-up ISP on-hand for such events. Dial-up is much cheaper than any 3G plan I’ve seen. The backup has proved itself more than once when the hotel’s WiFi was screwed up.

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