Business Traveler (USA) - - WORLD WISE -

With­out a doubt, all WiFi is not cre­ated equal. From place to place, all over the world – and for all sorts of dif­fer­ent tech­ni­cal rea­sons – get­ting on­line is just not a con­sis­tent ex­pe­ri­ence. Some days are bet­ter than oth­ers, and some lo­cal­i­ties seem blaz­ing fast – oth­ers, not so much. Some­one out there saw the same need and de­vel­oped a cool tool to mea­sure our con­nec­tion pain, and even shape our de­ci­sions about where to stay.

Slow in­flight con­nec­tions are not sur­pris­ing given the tech­nol­ogy chal­lenges at 30,000 feet, and per­haps it’s un­der­stand­able that air­port WiFi is in­con­sis­tent, in light of the de­mands on band­width. But what about ho­tels? With ris­ing in­vest­ment in the lodg­ing sec­tor, hote­liers are now ded­i­cat­ing se­ri­ous ef­forts and retrofits to gain con­nec­tiv­ity for – and loy­alty of – their best cus­tomers. En­ter the new wiz­zy­wig to help us mea­sure the suc­cess of those in­vest­ments and de­cide which ho­tels de­serve our business.

The hotel­wifitest.com web­site of­fers a sim­ple WiFi test that guests can run while stay­ing in a ho­tel. To en­sure that the ba­sic qual­ity ex­pec­ta­tions for In­ter­net ac­cess are met, the test mea­sures up­load and down­load speeds, la­tency and sta­bil­ity, and then tab­u­lates the ad­e­quacy of prop­erty’s WiFi. We know the qual­ity of ho­tel WiFi varies widely and now we can mea­sure prop­erty-byprop­erty and city-by-city.

Look­ing at NewYork, where 212 ho­tels were tested, I found sev­eral in­ter­est­ing branded and bou­tique ho­tels with light­ning fast speed. I also no­ticed The NewYork Hil­ton Mid­town, the largest ho­tel in the city with almost 2000 rooms, was on the top of the ranks for con­fi­dence and con­nec­tiv­ity. Fol­low­ing a mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar ren­o­va­tion it goes to show that – when it comes to con­nec­tiv­ity, any­way – size is not an ob­sta­cle.

In ad­di­tion to mea­sur­ing the ad­e­quacy of down­load and up­load speeds, la­tency and sta­bil­ity, to­day hotel­wifitest.com for­mu­lates a fac­tor that will in­ter­pret those tech stats into your ap­prox­i­mate hap­pi­ness with your ho­tel con­nec­tiv­ity. In the ex­am­ple of the NY Hil­ton, you should ex­pect to ex­pe­ri­ence five stars of con­nected hap­pi­ness on their paid WiFi.

After gath­er­ing all this great data and ap­ply­ing the math­e­mat­i­cal wiz­ardry, hotel­wifitest.com has com­piled a list of 20 des­ti­na­tion ci­ties glob­ally, ranked by the per­cent­age of ho­tels that fail to meet its cri­te­ria for hav­ing ad­e­quate WiFi. Among the 20 most tested ci­ties, Stock­holm had the low­est per­cent­age of ho­tels with low- qual­ity WiFi (4 per­cent), while the city with the high­est per­cent­age of ho­tels with in­ad­e­quate WiFi is Las Ve­gas (57 per­cent).

So far, hotel­wifitest.com has racked up tests on hun­dreds of ho­tels cross­ing mul­ti­ple coun­tries. Here are the ci­ties in or­der of be­low-par WiFi ho­tels (the lower the per­cent, the bet­ter). City Per­cent of ho­tels with in­ad­e­quate WiFi Stock­holm 4 Hong Kong 8 Am­s­ter­dam 17 Tokyo 19 Rome 27 Dubai 29 London 30 Berlin 31 San Diego 33 Barcelona 35 Wash­ing­ton 37 Sin­ga­pore 38 Chicago 38 Vi­enna 40 Bangkok 41 NewYork 41 Or­lando 44 San Francisco 48 Paris 53 Las Ve­gas 57 It’s also in­ter­est­ing to note that speedy WiFi and high room rates do not nec­es­sar­ily go hand in hand. While the pillows may be fluffier and the bathrobe cushier, pay­ing more for your room is no guar­an­tee of bet­ter In­ter­net per­for­mance.

For ex­am­ple among the 200-plus ho­tels tested in NewYork City, at the posh 5-star Plaza ho­tel – with its 5th Av­enue ad­dress and $925 a night rate – the WiFi’s‘ex­pected speed’came in at a leisurely 1.6Mbps. On the other end of the spec­trum, the speed­i­est WiFi on the list be­longs to the Da Vinci ho­tel, which clocked in with a blaz­ing 53.1 Mbps – and rooms that start a more mod­est $279 per night. Plus the WiFi is free.

As we con­tinue about our business, this new wiz­zy­wig may or may not dras­ti­cally change our be­hav­ior. How­ever the power of be­ing in the know will def­i­nitely level the play­ing field for our ex­pec­ta­tions. BT

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