In a recent post about Hilton’s failure to keep up with the competition for in-room Wi-Fi, I mentioned one popular source for testing the speed of the connection. Commentor Glenn was kind enough to post an alternate site. That got me thinking, there are a few more-or-less reliable sources out there but each one will give different results.
Probably the best known is Ookla’s Speedtest. It is loaded with ads but it’s free. Just click on Begin Test and the website does its magic.
The one Glenn mentioned is Hotel Wifi Test. I agree with him that it has one hotel advantage, namely that they not only will check the Wi-Fi speed in your hotel room but will add it to their list of others who submitted test results. Moreover, you can search their database to find hotels with faster connections.
Another source to test your connection speed is Bandwidth Place. In addition, there are some designed by major players. For example, Time Warner Cable offers a test as does AT&T, though you don’t have to be a subscriber to use their testing features.
Here are some problems with all of them. Each of the sites above will give different speeds even if they are done only seconds apart. Without getting technical as to why, it can skew results if you rely on only one or another.
In addition, the hotel Wi-Fi speed is a function of how many users are online at any given moment. Chances are you will get a faster speed if you are online at 3 am vs 9 pm.
Moreover, it is possible that some hotel guests receive excellent speeds while others suffer at the same time, depending on the location of routers.
The connection speed also may be a function of how recently they may have reset their system. Sometimes when enough guests complain, hotels will do a reset and this may increase the speed.
Additionally, it is possible that after guests complain about the slow connection, a hotel may have someone come out to service the routing system. Again, this could result in a faster speed even if only temporarily.
Bottom line, there is no definitive source to determine the speed of a hotel Wi-Fi connection. Yet.
Fortunately Consumer Electronics Show CEO Gary Shapiro has jumped into this foray. He began in earnest tweeting about this dilemma in December and it seemed to pick up steam throughout the month. USA Today picked it up as a story so now the world knows that CES will support a system to standardize testing for Wi-Fi speeds, much less offering quality Wi-Fi at all hotels.
I will be at CES in Las Vegas next week and will update this if Gary offers any more enlightenment.
In the comments below, let us know which of these sites (or others) that you have tested wi-fi speed with and what your results have been.