Travel WiFi Q&A January 2021
Every month we post the highlights on our subreddit dedicated to all things Travel WiFi, Travel Router or WiFi Cellular 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 January 2021. Recent topics we help answer include how to improve the WiFi connection when living in a hotel, how to connect a home pod to hotel WiFi, whether travelers use VPN regularly, how to connect a PS4 to hotel WiFi, and how to secure your work when using travel WiFi.
Q: How do I improve my WiFi connection while living in a hotel?
Posted by u/Sasuke_1738
My mother and are currently living in an Extended Stay America and we’ll be here till June or even August. I’m currently a 12th grader and its hard to get my school work done. The internet is always cutting out and I’m always having to reconnect. I was wondering if I can get some type of router and improve the connection or if there was internet I can buy or something like that. I also play games on my PC time to time like CSGO but its gotten real difficult to play since there is all this lag. My PC is good but the wifi is terrible. Anyone got any advice as to what to do?https://www.reddit.com/r/TravelRouter/comments/l7wnnu/how_do_i_improve_my_wifi_connection_while_living/
Bad hotel WiFi is about as common of a travel complaint as there is. As we’ve discussed before there are a variety of reasons for this. Even hotels with fast internet connections commonly have periods of slowness. We even created a blog post to explain why hotel WiFi is typically bad because it’s such a common question.
However, rather than rehashing what is wrong with hotel WiFi, here is an excerpt from the article on what you can do to make WiFi better.
- Buy a travel router that has WiFi performance enhancing capabilities.
- Get a cellular hotspot as a backup, though this does come with a cost. Some of the best though work only as a “backup” to help keep the additional costs low.
- While becoming less and less common some older hotels will still offer a hardwired connection. If so, you can plug in for a more reliable connection.
Q1: VPN – do you guys use it when traveling?
Posted by u/AliveandDrive
Recently I have been thinking about using VPN more and more. Part of it is because I will be working overseas quite soon, and will probably need to access public wifi in restaurants/hotels/cafes etc.
When you guys travel, is using a VPN a must? Or you are not really concerned with it?https://www.reddit.com/r/TravelRouter/comments/l7wml7/vpn_do_you_guys_use_it_when_traveling/
Q2: How do you all keep your work private while using hotel wifi?
Posted by u/together_we_build
How do you all keep your work private while using hotel wifi?https://www.reddit.com/r/TravelRouter/comments/l1an8m/how_do_you_all_keep_your_work_private_while_using/
We answer two travel WiFi security questions in one. How to secure public WIFi at hotels, airports, co-working locations and coffee shops are common question so its not surprising to see this question asked regularly. While you should absolutely take travel WiFi security seriously and VPN is a commonly recommended solution, there are a few things to consider.
First, VPN is not a magical cure all for security when traveling. While it adds a nice layer of security it won’t guarantee you privacy. This is even more true if you use a free VPN service. Second, there are a number of services that don’t work with VPN such as streaming. While you can disable VPN or bypass it for select services, you’ll need to know how to do so in order to accomplish that.
Bottom line, VPN will traveling for sensitive operations (work, finance, sensitive communications) is a must. However, don’t assume VPN is a get out of jail free card without downsides. It’s also not the only way you can project yourself. Travel routers or cellular hotspots will also create isolation which helps secure your WiFI on the go. A multi-layered, intelligent travel WiFi security approach is the way to go.
Q: Hotel WiFi (lack of support for Homepod )
Posted by u/The-Protege
Posted by u/4aks
I do hope Apple solves the hotel WiFi support issue … I’d like to have the mini in my travel bag
I have a work around, since I have a separate phone for work …
Hook both my personal phone and the HomePod mini up to work mobile hotspot — can now use mini to play soundcloud etc from personal phone
Is it possible to play Apple Music/podcasts directly into the mini if it’s the only device on my hotspot WiFi ? I haven’t tried this yet … might make it worth subscribing to Apple Musichttps://www.reddit.com/r/TravelRouter/comments/la8e7n/hotel_wifi_lack_of_support_for/
We are seeing an increase in the number of smart speakers people want to take with them when traveling. While this post specifically asks about Homepod, we have recently seen and answered questions about the Amazon Echo, Google Home Max and Sonos. The answer for each is generally the same. You can, but its not easy. Most of these products, even when they claim to be designed for travel, don’t really travel well.
First, many hotel WiFi networks don’t allow different devices to talk to each other. This is a security concern for them. Second, most of these devices essentially need to be re-configured when moved to a new WiFi network. If you only travel once or twice a year and stay in the same location the entire time, this may be something you can get passed.
For most travelers who may stay in a few different locations pre-trip or travel regularly, this becomes a burden. RVers, Digital Nomads, Business Travelers and more will find these answers unacceptable.
We recently published a blog post specifically on how to get a Homepod to work with hotel WiFi . The steps are:
1. Unplug the Home Pod for at least 5 seconds (this may already be done if the power was off while traveling to the hotel)
2. Plug the Home Pod back in and wait 5 more seconds
3. Touch and hold the button at the until you hear multiple beeps
4. The Home Pod should announce it will reset. The reset process should take about 1-2 minutes.
5. Within Bluetooth range (under 30 feet, but as close as possible to be sure) touch setup on the popup screen when the phone detects the Home Pod device.
6. Setup the Home Pod including “transferring” the WiFi settings.
7. Extra Step That May Be Required: Look for the “Show WiFi” notification, click on it and note the “WiFi” address. You may need to provide this to hotel support for it to work.
Clearly this is a lot of work. The best option is to buy a travel router. This will allow you to configure your smart speakers for your own network that does not change. Then, with each location just connect your travel router to the hotel, airbnb, RV park or other WiFi and your devices will be good to go. This works not just for smart speakers, but phones, tablets, laptops, streaming sticks and smart assistants.