Last Updated on September 20, 2021
Slow hotel wifi sucks.
The few tips in this post will probably help you improve your hotel wifi speed.
But unfortunately, most of the methods require you to buy some piece of tech to help.
And since I’m guessing you are sitting in your hotel room right now grumbling about a painfully slow internet connection they might not all be useful to you right this minute.
But the tips will allow you to come better prepared next time, and the last tips might just help you today so make sure you read on until the end.
How To Boost Hotel Wifi Signal
Often the signal in your hotel room simply isn’t strong enough to give you a fast and stable wifi connection.
This could be because your room is too far away from the router and thick walls might be making your connection painfully slow.
You can’t do anything to boost a weak hotel wifi signal, but you can use a better antenna to pick up what’s available.
The receiving antenna on your cell phone or laptop is not designed to work with long-range wifi. The main concern for a cell phone or laptop is that the antenna is compact and attractive.
So one way to get a better speed from a weak wi-fi signal in hotel rooms is to use a big ugly USB antenna.
A cheap antenna like the one below will help you get a more stable connection even when the wi-fi signal in your hotel room is weak.
Obviously, if you are already in the hotel then this won’t help you this minute, but you could order one of these USB antennas right now and you’ll have it to use for your next trip.
Or you might just happen to be in a hotel right next to a pc accessories store.
Usually, it’s possible to ask at the front desk if you can get mail delivered to your hotel and you could have it as soon as tomorrow by shipping overnight.
Get a USB extension cable while you are at it. Combining the USB antenna with a USB extension cable will allow you to move the antenna around the room. Sometimes just moving the antenna a few feet can make all the difference to the results of speed tests.
These antennas are great for increasing your room’s internet speed when the reason for the slow connection is a weak wireless network signal.
But they’ll only allow you to improve the speed on your laptop since your cell phone won’t have a USB port.
Something like this wifi range extender would help when you have more than one mobile device.
That Netgear device also has large ugly antennas too which will work better to pick up that weak wifi signal.
After connecting to the hotel wifi, the little box will create its own wifi network.
You can then connect your laptop, cell phone, or other mobile devices to the range extender.
Both of these solutions will only help when the cause of the slow hotel internet connection is a weak signal.
They do still need a fair signal to work with. If your hotel room has a very weak wifi signal then your best bet is to request that you are moved to a different room.
Or you can try the next trick, to use a wired connection rather than a wireless connection.
Creating A Wired Ethernet Connection In Hotel Rooms
Before wi-fi became commonplace many hotels provided a wired ethernet connection.
In fact, many hotels still do provide wired ethernet.
If you bring a nano travel router that has an ethernet port on it you might be able to plug it into the hotel’s wired network. That way you won’t need to worry about the wifi signal strength at all.
The little device by TP-Link would do the trick.:
Like the range extender, the N300 will create its own wi-fi network, but it will be getting its internet via the wired connection rather than the unreliable internet coming from the wi-fi.
If you are into gaming and want to travel with a games console like a ps4, ps5, or xbox one, then a wired connection might improve your hotel room gaming experience.
A lot of younger readers might be wondering what ethernet ports are?
Before wi-fi was everywhere computers all connected to the internet using an ethernet cable.
All computers and laptops had an ethernet port.
Wired connections are much more stable and provide much faster speeds with fewer connection drops.
These speed test results compare a wireless hotel room connection vs a wired ethernet connection found behind the TV.
As you can see download speeds were almost doubled, the ping time was halved, and even the upload speeds were improved. That’s a big difference.
A low ping time is great when playing video games online.
To go down this route you’d need a travel router and to bring your own ethernet cable.
You’ll find the hotel’s ethernet ports hidden near the desk or behind the TV.
They might be a little dusty since they are rarely used these days. But they often help to make your hotel internet connection faster, better, and more stable.
How To Bypass Hotel Wifi Thottling
Sometimes the reason your hotel wi-fi is slow is not because of a poor signal.
Sometimes your hotel may be deliberately slowing down your wi-fi speed.
Take a look at this SpeedTest result from my current hotel wifi that I obtained using my laptop.
Both the download and the upload speeds have been capped at 24 Mbps.
If I test my cell phone and my laptop simultaneously both manage to get 24 Mbps speeds.
So the hotel is limiting the speed per connection.
You can bypass this type of throttling by combining multiple connections.
So if my laptop had two wifi adapters I could combine two connections and get 48 Mbps speeds.
Or you could connect using an ethernet port and wifi. The two streams could be combined to bypass the speed limit.
To do this you will need software that combines multiple internet connections. Speedify makes both desktop software for Windows or macOS and they’ll also do you an app for your cell phone on Android or iPhone.
The only thing I would say is that it’s a bit of a dick move. The hotel in this case has restricted the internet speed to evenly share the available bandwidth among all the guests.
If you are adding multiple wifi adapters and combing them you are sort of hogging the bandwidth and being unfair to other hotel guests.
Try to read reviews and check hotel internet speeds before you book the hotel. Cheap hotels will say they provide internet access but don’t have the budget to pay for high-speed internet access for all guests.
How To Speed Up Hotel Internet If A Specific Type Of Traffic Is Being Throttled
Hotels or internet service providers may throttle speeds for certain types of internet traffic.
Some hotels may want to give you a slow internet connection to allow you to browse the web but not for downloading torrents or streaming videos.
You can sometimes bypass this type of throttling by using VPN software.
When you use a VPN all your data is encrypted. The hotel or the ISP doesn’t know if you are watching Netflix, downloading torrents, or any other activity that they want to restrict.
Since they can’t see what you are doing they can’t throttle your internet speed.
A VPN is also just a great thing to have when you travel, especially if you travel internationally.
Connect using a VPN back to your home area and you won’t be treated as suspicious when logging into your online banking.
Your privacy is protected and your security is enhanced.
Also, you’ll still be able to watch that Netflix series that you were halfway through even though it’s not available in the region you are staying.
So if you think that you don’t have a weak signal, and there is no cap on the speed, then try using a VPN to see if your internet connection was being throttled.
NordVPN offers a free 30-day trial so you can test it out before committing to pay.
Create Your Own Wifi Using A Mobile Hotspot
Something to consider is whether you might be better off forgetting about the hotel wi-fi and bringing your own internet by using a portable wi-fi hotspot.
I have a Huawei hotspot similar to the one above and it always finds a place on my packing list.
You’ll need a sim card to pop in it though, and one with sufficient data. It’s a very handy thing to have if you are traveling internationally.
Most of these devices have decent battery life too so you can take them out with you on day trips meaning you’ll have wifi with you wherever you go.
Or alternatively you can use tethering on your cell phone to share data to other devices.
The Bottom Line
The way to speed up hotel wifi depends on what is slowing it down.
If it’s a weak wifi signal then try to get some gear with a big ugly antenna involved.
Alternatively, look in your room to see if there is an ethernet port. Does your laptop have an ethernet port? Does the guy at the hotel counter have an ethernet cable? You might be in luck.
Sometimes hotel internet is slow just because it’s a cheap hotel and they don’t want to pay for fast internet.
There, isn’t much you can do about that. Check hotel reviews for people mentioning internet speed next time.
Perhaps you can get internet by tethering your phone or using a mobile wifi hotspot with a local data sim card.
Hopefully, this post will have given you some ideas to try. You might be out of luck this trip but next trip you can be ready.