How to Connect to Hotel Wireless

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In practice, connecting to wireless Internet in your hotel room isn't much different from connecting in your home or at any business that offers it. Sometimes Wi-Fi is available free to everyone in the hotel without any login information required. However, in many cases, in-room Wi-Fi requires some additional information from the front desk such as the SSID -- the name of the network -- and necessary login credentials.

Contact the Front Desk

A concierge at the front desk can tell you the hotel network's SSID, as well as any username or password required to connect. Depending on the hotel's policy, you may need to pay a fee to gain access to this network.

Front desk personnel can also help you with any additional configuration steps that might be required to connect to the wireless network on your computer and other devices.

Secure Your Device

Using a public network without taking precautions to secure your device can lead to serious problems, including compromised accounts, identity theft and fraud. Before you connect to the hotel's network, take steps to minimize the likelihood of data theft or computer intrusion.

Update Security Software and OS

Update your anti-virus and anti-malware software to the latest version and run scans before and after connecting to the hotel network. Keeping your other programs such as Web browsers up-to-date, as well as your operating system, can patch potential holes in your software's security.

Turn Off Discovery and Sharing

Another important step to keeping your computer safe is to prevent your computer from connecting to other computers and devices on the network. This precaution keeps would-be hackers from connecting to your computer over the hotel's wireless network.

Tip

  • This process requires you to have administrator privileges on your device.

Step 1

(Image: Image courtesy of Microsoft.)

Press Windows-X and select Control Panel from the Power User menu.

For Windows 7, click Start and select Control Panel.

Step 2

(Image: Image courtesy of Microsoft.)

Click Network and Internet.

Step 3

(Image: Image courtesy of Microsoft.)

Click Network and Sharing Center.

Step 4

(Image: Image courtesy of Microsoft.)

Click Change advanced sharing settings.

Step 5

(Image: Image courtesy of Microsoft.)

Click Guest or Public and select the Turn off network discovery and Turn off file and printer sharing radio buttons.

Step 6

(Image: Image courtesy of Microsoft.)

Click Save changes.

Use a Virtual Private Network

Virtual private networks encrypt data transmission over a network, making it much more difficult for would-be cybercriminals to get any information. The additional security that a VPN provides while using the hotel network is critical for keeping your information secure, especially sensitive account login or credit card information.

Many free VPN solutions are available, such as CyberGhost VPN, SecurityKISS and VPNBook. Free services usually limit the amount of data you can transmit in a session or the transfer speed. Paid services are generally restriction-free, but require a monthly or yearly subscription fee.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Whenever possible, use two-factor authentication to keep your accounts secure, especially while using public Wi-Fi. Two-factor authentication usually involves both a regular password and a random confirmation code generated using an algorithm. Two-factor authentication makes it extremely difficult for someone to break in to your online accounts, even with your password.

Use HTTPS Whenever Possible

Websites that have the HTTPS prefix are websites that encrypt data instead of sending it as plain text. This makes it harder for anyone trying to intercept data sent between your computer and the website to gain access to sensitive information. Firefox, Chrome and Opera users can use the HTTPS Anywhere add-on developed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to secure connections to websites that don't offer HTTPS themselves.

Connect to the Network

When your device is secure and you have the SSID and any necessary login information from the front desk, you can safely connect to the wireless network. Connect as you would to any other network, by selecting the correct SSID from the list of available networks and entering any login information when prompted.

Warning

  • Make sure you're choose only the SSID provided by the front desk. Someone trying to steal information from the hotel's guests may set up a network with a similar name or something like "Hotel Wi-Fi." If you aren't sure about the network, don't connect to it.

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