Les Kamens wrote:
As a location photographer, I am constantly plagued with hotels that say they have fast internet but when i connect i get somewhere around 50 - 100 kbs down and 20-60 kbs Up.
I'm not surprised. I do a lot of IT work involving internet access, and wireless, and I've seen all kinds of issues with speed.
It could be that they do have fast internet - except that it's not fast enough for the load on it. Besides laptops, you may have smartphones and tablets trying to stream movies, update email, browsing, etc.
If you have an option for wired as well as wireless in these hotels, try the wired links. The wired links will be at least as fast a wireless, and probably faster. (I carry my own wireless router so if I have a wired option, I can plug in my router and my laptop, cellphone and wife's laptop are all ready to go, and without a shared wireless password too.).
Another big issue is antenna placement. Most hotels have a decent system, but sometimes you'll get a room that has marginal signal to a distant access point. Sometimes you have more than one choice of access points, and it's possible a more-distant access point has better overall speed than one with stronger wireless signal too.
There has to be a better way. Is there a provider out there that has a portable device that is really fast so I'm not hung up by having to be tethered to a hotel or some other network.
If you have a smartphone AND if you have decent signal to the phone, you may very well get good to excellent speeds by using tethering. This can, of course, cost a lot of money with some (many? most? all?) wireless plans if you are doing the amount of data you need. Still, it's worth checking into. My Samsung Galaxy S3, using Tmobile service, will often give me at least T1 speeds (1.5mbps) tethered.
Tethering charges: you have two things to worry about here - the amount of data you are allowed with your smartphone plan, and (often) an addition charge to turn on the tethering feature. ($15/mo with my Tmobile plan). What I've found is that the tethering charge is for Wifi 'tethering', where the data comes and goes over the phone spectrum, but the cellphone itself becomes a wifi access point to your laptop. There is another option - use USB tethering. (Cord between phone and laptop).
With the USB tether option, I can get internet access for my laptop without paying the Tmobile $15/mo charge. I use a program called PDANet+ on my phone. (PDANet+ isn't free, but you can use the trial version for 5 minutes or so at a time, or some amount of data - it's enough to at least prove the concept. You also need a client piece (Windows or Mac) on the laptop.
I'm generally uploading between 2-5 gigs a night.
That's a tough amount of data.
You could also see if there is faster internet access in the lobby or business center of the hotel.