Travel Router Q&A: September 2020
Every month we post the highlights on our subreddit dedicated to all things Travel Router, Travel WiFi or WiFi Hotspot related. There, you can ask any questions about these topics. We summarize these for our monthly Q&A blog posts. If you are on reddit feel free to join in the conversation at /r/TravelRouter. You can also ask us a question on Facebook or Twitter.
Below are our favorite Questions and Answers from September 2020. This months topics included how to ensure you always have WiFi when traveling or being a digital nomad, does the new Google Chromecast work with hotel WiFi and what wireless routers work with captive portals.
Q: How Do You Always Ensure You Have Wifi?
Posted by u/ravenranchh1
I currently work and am looking to move into my van and travel full time but I work a 40 hr work week. Is there any resources out there where people collect or post info where they always have wifi using their Mobile Hotspots?https://www.reddit.com/r/TravelRouter/comments/j6x387/how_do_you_always_ensure_you_have_wifi/
There were a number of responses. They varied from using McDonalds, coffee shops and other free WIFi services to buying your own international hotspot.
While the options and price points vary, if the goal is truly to ensure you have WiFi there is really only one answer that is truly viable today: Buy a travel router with a cellular connection. This option is viable not only for the US, but also internationally. Some devices will even allow you to do both.
However, there are a few things to note. Cellular doesn’t work everywhere. If you are going to be truly off of the grid you may need to consider boosters and/or external antenna. Second, the performance may vary but, it’s the way you are most likely to ensure you have WiFi. If your job depends on regular connectivity, look for RV parks, Airbnbs and hotels that include WiFi. A cellular connection as a backup will help ensure you get the best of both worlds.
If you are going to go with the WIFi sharing, free WIFi at public businesses or other “crowd sourced” free WiFi, definitely be sure to use a travel router to secure the connection.
Q: CC w/ Google TV | Hotel Internet WiFi | Working
Posted by u/danton1316
I’ve seen this asked but not answered. I travel a lot and like to take a FireTV with me to already have all of my accounts logged in. I’m in Charleston SC right now and was able to log into my hotel wifi with a browser interface (This hotel uses zoottle.com). The highlighted button was not always clear, but overall browser interface with the remote was fine.
Apps That I use and have tested:
YouTube TV (Did not ask me to change areas)
Posted by u/ajwillys
Q: Chromecast with Google TV on hotel WiFi?
Hi, I’m considering getting the new Chromecast with Google TV and selling my shield ( I don’t use any of the value add features). One thing I like is that when I connect to wifi that requires me to click agreement to something or additional login, I can do that with shield via browser but not Chromecast. Does the new Chromecast allow that?
Danton really answered their own question – and for ajwillys – yes, the new Google Chromecast does work with hotel WiFi. Previous versions did not.
In fact, we recently did a review on the new Google Chromecast as a travel streaming device. Here were our thoughts:
The new Chromecast with Google TV is a massive improvement over the previous Google Chromecast in travel scenarios. In our previous review of streaming sticks for travel, the Google Chromecast is the only device we absolutely would not recommend for travel. We didn’t recommend previous versions for two major reasons: it’s lack of support for hotel, airbnb or other third party WiFi and its inability to work with captive portals.
If you are considering a streaming stick for travel, either as a dedicated device or as one you can use at home and take with you, the newest generation Google Chromecast is absolutely a viable option.
Q: Wireless router that can connect to captive portal?
Posted by u/The-Protege
I live in an apartment complex that uses some sort of AWS open network exchange backend to authenticate residents.
Is there a wireless router that can connect to, and allow me to access the web page where I would sign in? It asks for a username and password provided by the complex that’s unique to me.
You connect to the wifi and login via a webpage like any other public guest network.
Travel routers seem to be what I should be looking at? Ideally I’m looking for a recommendation… something that can spoof a mac address and route traffic through VPN (OpenVPN hmm)… I don’t want my shitty apartment network to see the router. So ideally it will look like a laptop with all traffic and DNS protected.
There are not many options to help deal with this. While some Travel Routers may be able to help with this, the reality is few do anything special. Most captive portals will let any device on a router use the connection once the portal is cleared. But almost no products, that we are aware of anyway, actually help automatically deal with and manage captive portals.
Except with our Go Connect with SmartConnect that is. Shameless plug? Sure – but a big part of what we think is unique about our products is we solve the issues with travel and routers nobody else does. And all without needing to be technical to use it.