How to find hotels with decent free Wi-Fi

New services rank hotels worldwide

 
Woman working on a laptop on a hotel bed
(Thomas Barwick/Iconica/Getty)

Regular readers know of my burning, undying hatred for hotel Wi-Fi.

Either the in-room connection speed is super slow and designed to keep you from watching Netflix or it’s super expensive, to the point where your home connection looks like a good deal.

A while back I mused about creating a startup website/tool that would name and shame shoddy hotel Wi-Fi. Such a tool would allow travelers to make better informed decisions about where to stay. Lord knows I’ve checked into a few places only to find myself unable to work because of the pathetic connection on offer.

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Alas, I’m not much of an entrepreneur so I never did get to the idea. A few others did, though.

Rotten Wi-Fi is a Lithuanian start-up that’s offering a website and tool for iOS and Android devices. It reads your location and lets you do a speed test, which is added to a database. The website owners report results regularly through a blog. This week’s entry, for example, lists some hotels in London with good and free Wi-Fi.

The site is a bit rough and doesn’t yet offer searchable results so that you can check a place out before booking it. It is, however, also measuring cafes and other public Wi-Fi hotspots and listing the best and worst of those.

A more advanced site is HotelWiFiTest, which lets you enter the city in question. It then displays hotels where tests have taken place and lets you know if the Wi-Fi is free or paid.

The site even has a Firefox browser extension that automatically links in its hotel Wi-Fi reviews if you’re using Hotels.com, TripAdvisor or Expedia.

With ubiquitous connectivity growing in importance every day and wireless roaming fees still high, such sites are only going to become handier, especially as their databases grow. Perhaps some day we’ll even be able to watch some Netflix in a hotel or, heaven forbid, get some work done.

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