Is this any way to set up a hotel Internet connection?

I’m in Amarillo, Texas staying at a hotel that advertises that the rooms include “Hi-Speed Internet” (it’s on the hotel sign! We’ve come a long way in the last few years!) and was amazed when I got into the room to find that it’s an Ethernet jack (you have to borrow a cable from them. A three-foot cable. I’d pay money for a 10-foot cable right now). But worse, they aren’t running DHCP or anything even vaguely logical. Instead they have a 3×4 handout at the front desk detailing how to set a hard IP address, gateway address, etc. But that’s not the best part. The best part is that the IP address is: “192.168.1.99-213”. Yes, you have to randomly try values until you find that you’re not sharing an IP with someone else in the hotel. Very weird. Very… not a nice DHCP-based wireless network.

And it’s always great fun to browse the “network neighborhood”. I count ten other folders (e.g., other users in the hotel who have their systems open to the network). Hmm… one of them is P2PDATA, interestingly enough. And a bit of poking around and I find a file called – ready for this? – 2001 Dixon R Tax Return.tax. Oh, Mr (or Mrs) Dixon. You need to fix your security! Or, perhaps, Microsoft, you need to set things up so that by default all Windows systems are closed, not open.

7 comments on “Is this any way to set up a hotel Internet connection?

  1. I’ve stayed in quite a few hotels with both hard wired ethernet and WiFi availible in the room. I’d say that on average 7 out of 10 have problems with their network when I stay with them!!! Usually, the problem is one of 3 things. If it is an ethernet network, the problem is either low quality switch gear that needs to be reset (and given LOTS of time for your mac address to be passed all the way down to the switch that has the ability to give a DHCP address), or the cable spans between switches are longer than the prescribed limit. The third problem I’ve seen is the DHCP server needs to be rebooted (typically integrated into a DSL modem or other residential quality piece of hardware).
    Also, on any of the completely “open” networks, there is no terms of service that I’ve ever seen, so I like to bring my own access point along and plug it into the ethernet port so I can be wireless in a wired environment. I too can attest to the “network neighborhood” problem on these networks! *hint* *hint* There are great ways to solve ALL of these problems and MORE! BTW, have you ever had trouble sending email through your SMTP server from one of these locations? If you’re ISP is roming-user friendly you probably haven’t had a problem, but what about the majority of the world 🙂
    Did I ever mention the time when I charged a $10 connection to my buddy down the hall? Oh, it is sooo possible in some locations 🙂 (I of course paid, I just wanted to see if it would work)

  2. Hey it COUBE be WORSE. You COULD be saddled with NOTHING MORE than A DIALUP connection to the Internet.
    Wireless DOES seem to have potential though, but not anytime soon (although there are groups like Seattle Wireless working on it).
    Cheers for now 🙂
    Pat

  3. You’re absolutely right. There’s nothing like dialup with a $0.75/call room charge. You don’t realize it, and you dutifully disconnect after checking your email, and three days later are surprised at a $20 connectivity charge at checkout. Yech.

  4. I know this is an old thread and I hope I’m not violating any blogging “netiquette” rules, but on the security issue, isn’t it feasible to just go into your network connection properties and unselect “File and Printer Sharing on Microsoft Networks” when you are connected to a hotel or cafe network? This should stop anyone from seeing your files, correct? Since I have a password protected Administrator and other usernames on my laptop, they shouldn’t be able to browse the file system with the standard double-backslash addressing ( \\GabesLaptop\C$ ).

  5. I don’t post to forums/blogs very often and after reading my above post, it may appear like I’m not asking a question and coming accross as mildly pompous. I’m seriously curious here. I’m an IT tech but I’ll be the first to admit that my network security knowledge is lacking. Are there any other areas to guard against when using an open network. Passworded accounts, firewall (which are usually difficult and clumsy to use, specially for people like my boss and outside-salesreps), and I presume, turning off the “File and Print Sharing on MS Networks”.

  6. hI THE QUESTION i HAVE IS , IS THERE A WAY TO BE ABLE TO TALK ON MIC WHEN USEING EHTERNET IN HOTEL INTERNET SITUATIONS? I ASK THIS BECAUSE I TRAVLE ALOT AND i AM UNABLE TO HAVE INTERENT CONFERANCES WITH MIC SINCE WHEN I SPEAK THEY HEAR WHAT EVER IS ON THE TV EVEN IF ITS OFF.?

  7. This is my first experience with blogging, I’m looking forward to reading the Insider’s Guide to BLOGGING, by Dave Taylor.
    Brandy

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