A note on hotel and airport wifi

I’m back, and after four days of little sleep, running on empty. I’m going to call it quits for this Thursday.

But one thing has been bugging me. Airport and hotel wifi.

Usually, you get two options for each, no matter where you are: a free option, and a paid option. On my trip to Barcelona this week, I didn’t have a 3G device, and certainly not one that wouldn’t have charged a fortune for data overseas. So I was limited to wifi.

The basic pattern is this: free wifi never works, and paid wifi is slow.

So I wonder: why even bother? There are routers to purchase and place and wire up. There are networks to create and administer, landing pages to design, you name it. Creating a public wifi hotspot is, in all likelihood, a lot of bother that costs money and time.

Free wifi never works. Okay, you may be resigned to the “you get what you pay for mentality”, and I’m not disagreeing with that, but then why offer it at all?

Paid wifi is slow. Resorting to paid wifi in Barcelona – at a flash, expensive, new, posh hotel (that I wasn’t paying for, thankfully) – gave me a download speed of 1 k/s. I tried to download cover roughs for Empire State that Angry Robot had sent to me, and it was going to take 6 hours.

What. The. Hell.

And this is more of a problem, because paid wifi usually ain’t cheap. In this situation, you most certainly are paying for something that mostly doesn’t work. And have you ever tried to complain and get your money back on something like this? It doesn’t happen.

Airports and hotels of the world: this is 2011. Either offer a service that works, and works well, or don’t bother.

*ahem*

Now I’m off to read the Little Book of Calm, and gander a while more at my Empire State cover roughs…