What You Should Know About Airbnb WiFi Speeds In Listings
A common ask for digital enabled travelers and digital nomads is whether the WiFi is a good at a given hotel, Airbnb or VRBO. It’s become a primary decision point for travelers who seek to stay connected when traveling or who need to work remotely.
Internet performance is considered vital to the vast majority of travelers today, whether that is on planes, in lodging or in their vehicles moving between places. Remote work, social media and digital entertainment has driven the need for reliable internet nearly anywhere.
So it’s with a lot of excitement that Airbnb recently offered the ability for hosts to run a speed test and put that in their listing. This answers a common and significant question guests have had about host locations. We are excited for this news and even hope this becomes common not just with Airbnbs, but hotels and VRBOs as well.
However if internet performance is vital due to family, work or just preference you may not want to take everything at face value. We dive under the covers a little further and think there are a few things you should also consider when looking into WiFi performance speeds when booking.
Airbnb Listing Speed Tests
One thing we really like about the new feature Airbnb is rolling out is unlike just asking hosts to quote their stated internet needs they need to run an actual speed test. The speed tests simulate retrieving data from the internet to judge how fast it works. If you want to geek out about it, you can even learn about the methodology and platform Airbnb is using to measure speeds.
Airbnb hosts will use their listing app to run a speed test and then they will have the option of saving the speed test to their listing. Hosts will also have the opportunity to re-run the tests.
Airbnb Listing Speed Considerations
While we are excited about Airbnb offering this new information on their listing and even having a way to actually test and validate the speed of WiFi we have a few things we think travelers should consider or ask about rather than just taking these test results at face value.
Speed Tests Are Only A Single Point In Time
While having the speed tests built into the host app means it’s highly likely the Airbnb has the potential for those speeds it’s important to note that the speed test numbers only represent a single point in time. In fact, because hosts can re-run the tests it’s possible they can run it multiple times to get the “best” result. Bottom line, you should consider the speeds a best case speed rather an assumption that speed will be consistently available.
Speed Tests Don’t Measure Reliability
Another thing to consider is that speed tests take some measures of stability into account they generally measure peak speed rather than a real life accounting of what your experience may be like. This is certainly true in terms of reliability. While fast internet is great, if you want to work remotely or even stream, reliability may actually be more important. Many travelers have experienced “fast” internet that went out regularly. These speeds tests will do little to answers questions about whether the internet will be reliable enough, especially during peak periods.
We actually recommend asking hosts about reliability and look through reviews to determine how good the WiFi is likely to be rather than taking the speed test at face value.
A major concern or consideration using WiFi at an Airbnb besides speed and reliability is security. While most hosts use WiFi passwords and basic security, there is a difference between the connection security and being secured.
First, it is possible for an sophisticated host to see what you are doing on their WiFi. While in cases of safety and security, or ensuring guests are not doing anything illegal, this is understandable. However, it is also possible that hosts could go beyond what should reasonably expected.
Another area of WiFi security concern with Airbnb’s is that they may be shared. Often times Airbnb hosts may have multiple condos or small houses connected that are all rented out. They may also use the same WiFi network or equipment which may expose you to what other guests are doing.
Finally, if you are doing sensitive things such as access financial information with your bank, stock trading accounts or crypto wallets you will absolutely want to be very careful about ensuring your information is secure when traveling. We recommend not relying solely on the hosts WiFi security to ensure your sensitive information is safe.
Solutions For Poor Airbnb WiFi
If you are looking for ways to ensure you have reliable internet when staying at an Airbnb, or hotel, VRBO or other type of lodging, there are a few options available.
If you are looking for a way to ensure you have a minimum reliable speed regardless of the host or listing we highly recommend you consider bringing a cellular hotspot. Your phone’s personal hotspot is often a “free” option that most people already have.
There are a few devices and tools that can help enhance your WiFi connections but smoothing out the connection and making improvements. In addition, sophisticated cellular hotspots and travel routers can combine a cellular connection as a backup if the internet goes down. Some smart devices not will given use the cellular connection combined with the WiFi to ensure an always smooth internet experience.
If you are concerned about WiFI security when using an Airbnb there are a few options available. The most common solution is a VPN. VPNs create a hidden tunnel that your internet goes through that others, including hosts cannot access or see the details of. They are great security solutions for travelers and are highly recommended if you regularly access banks, stock brokers or crypto wallets when traveling. Still, VPNs have some limitations and downsides. Free VPNs are even known to be hacked.
Another option is to get a travel router that can run VPN. Travel routers help with WiFi security in a couple of ways. By adding a VPN on top it adds an additional layer of security. Regardless, we recommend avoiding free services even if the price is appealing.
A Device That Does It All
If you routinely travel and need reliable internet for work there is no question you need a smart hotspot. Smart hotspots will streamline connecting all of your devices, getting through any needed Airbnb or hotel login screens even make that poor WiFi more reliable, and offer a backup connection to ensure your internet on the go doesn’t go down.
Go Connect’s smart travel WiFi products do all of these. These devices address each of the major concerns when using internet on the go: speed, reliability and security. Plus they are easy to use. You don’t need to be technical and if you move around regularly they make getting connected a breeze.