Hotel WiFi Speeds Are Slowing Down Nationwide Because Of The iPad

Hotel WiFi Speeds Are Slowing Down Nationwide Because Of The iPad

Photo: Flickr/HiddenPeanuts

Add free hotel Wi-Fi to the list of services Apple’s iPad is making a thing of the past. The bad thing about the iPad being the best-selling gadget on the planet is, paradoxically, that the iPad is the best selling gadget on the planet. Turns out, the iPad sucks up quadruple the amount of wireless bandwidth as a smartphone — and hotels want to start metering your usage.

Hotels, which started promoting free “high-speed” Internet access in the days when most guests had smartphones that sipped bandwidth are now scrambling in the face of the fire hose of data available to the huge number of iPad owners. The head of a company providing access to hotels describes Apple’s tablet as “the final nail in the coffin” for free Internet, the New York Times reports Tuesday.

So, hotels appear to be headed the way of wireless carriers and ISPs forced to deal with consumers demanding access to more and more data. People wanting to watch Netflix or play real-time online games should pay a premium. Such tiered access will allow the idea of free Internet to survive – but only for light uses, such as checking your email.

Would you pay more to ensure you get preferential treatment the next time you and your iPad check in at a hotel?

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  • aga

    The big problem with the iPad is it keeps reloading the same data when browsing the web.

    Take CoM pages. You look at the main page, click on an article, go back to the main page which is downloaded again. In one reading session, the same page can be downloaded many times. I have many Gb memory, why is Safari not caching data more efficiently?

    I have unlimited download, no cap. I feel sorry for those with strict limits!

  • Grahas

    I will not check into a hotel that does not offer free wifi

  • Guest

    The problem with iPad is it’s a mobile device that renders desktop browsing in Safari. When I first purchased my iPad 3G, I only opted for the 250MB plan. What a shock it was when I got an AT&T usage alert after a week on the road. I upgraded to the 2GB plan after that. Now when I visit a website, I always check to see if they offer a mobile version and add it to my bookmarks.

  • Chris

    with tabbed browsing, you could visit the homepage once and open each article in a new tab…that’s how I do it (mostly for reasons of speed, not data limits)

  • CharliK

    I might but it would depend on the costs involved. 

    If I can afford to go to a $100 a night hotel being asked to pay another $5 a night for wifi really isn’t that bad. 

    but if we are talking about a $30 a night motel, yeah that’s a tad more extreme to me. 

    Then again they would probably just raise all prices $5 and I wouldn’t have a clue 

  • Connor Mulcahey

    They already overcharged at hotels, now we’ll be getting an even crappier connection

  • Anonymous Coward

    Look at this tribe of overweight couch potatoes.  Mom and Dad look to be in reasonable shape, but none of the kids are going to see 55 without complications from morbid obesity, diabetes, etc.

  • Flu Guy

    I travel a lot and if a hotel has slow internet – I try to not stay there again. For me, it’s not the cost they charge because my company pays the bill… but I still try and keep it affordable. For an average $150 a night – they damn sure better be giving 4-6Mbs speeds or I am not coming back.

    All they really need to do is rate-limit the traffic to be fare to everyone. But as I find in many hotels… they really don’t have a clue as to how they could control costs and the traffic. They are in the hotel business… not the network business.

  • TN Guy

    With the high costs of hotel rooms, free wifi should be a given.  It is pretty tacky of a hotel charging $150+ for a room and then charge an extra $10-15 for wired or wireless internet.  To add to that, the speed usually sucks.  Total ripoff.

  • Mitro

    Explain how an hotel could give 4-6 Mbps to 400 users for instance?

  • ElNunya

    Free hotel wifi came out before smartphones existed. Therefore this whole article is BS. Just because someone is using a ipad instead of a laptop now means absolutely nothing, except hotels are cheap fucks.

About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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