Whether you’re on a business trip, stuck in hotel quarantine or away on holidays, there are times where you need a hotel internet connection you can rely on.
Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi coverage in some hotels can be lacklustre or just will not work with the layout of their rooms. Wi-Fi really is the kind of hotel amenity you only notice when it’s flaky or inconsistent.
While annoying, it is often possible to stand at one end of the room to get a decent signal on a phone or tablet. But that’s hardly an option if you’re trying to get work done on a laptop. What’s the use of a hotel room having a desk in this day and age, if it barely gets any Wi-Fi signal?
Luckily, there is a way to boost the hotel Wi-Fi signal so you can work at the desk in your room (or stream your favourite Netflix series) without frustrating connectivity issues.
A hotspot without cellular data
In a nutshell, the trick is to use a well-placed mobile phone to extend the Wi-Fi in your room, allowing you to sit and use the internet wherever you like.
Many mobile phone users will be familiar with the concept of creating a mobile hotspot or tethering. If not, a mobile hotspot is a setting that allows you to share your phone’s internet connection with other devices so that they too can access the internet.
Traditionally, mobile hotspots have been used to share a phone’s cellular data connection (3G, 4G or 5G). Modern Android features now make it possible to share the Wi-Fi connection of some phones with other devices.
How to set up Wi-Fi sharing on your phone
While there are other, simpler ways to get around poor Wi-Fi connections like local SIM cards and data roaming, they too come with the potential for problems. At least with hotel Wi-Fi, it’s usually free nowadays (you’d hope).
It’s important to note that this solution only works for Android phones. As of yet, there is no simple way to hotspot an iPhone without a cellular connection.
For Android users, here is a step by step guide:
- Connect your mobile to Wi-Fi as normal.
- Swipe down on your phone to access the Quick Menu settings.
- Select the Mobile Hotspot Settings
- Turn on Wi-Fi Sharing and then Mobile Hotspot.
- On your laptop, connect to the new mobile Wi-Fi hotspot using the network name and password provided on the mobile hotspot settings page.
- An alternative for connecting other mobile devices and tablets is to use the QR code option and scan the QR code using the device you wish to connect.
When you no longer need to extend the Wi-Fi, just turn off the mobile hotspot. You may find that using your mobile as a hotspot like this uses more battery than usual, so charge it at the same time if you can.
In future, when you want to use your mobile for this purpose your laptop should connect to the hotspot automatically.
Finding the strongest signal
The key to all this though is finding a spot in your hotel room where the hotel Wi-Fi is at its strongest. Solid places to try placing your phone include:
- Near the room door, as corridors are usually where hotels position their routers or extenders.
- By the wall closest to reception when staying in smaller hotels or guest accommodation like B&Bs.
It may take some trial and error to work out where your phone gets the best signal for the hotel Wi-Fi. Once you find a good spot, just place your mobile on the ground or a raised surface and head back to your laptop or device.
Really, the only downside to doing all this is that your phone is out of reach should you need it.
To see how your internet speed compares as you place your phone in different spots, run a speed test from your laptop or device using a service like Speedtest by Ookla or the option provided by Google.
Another benefit of using this Wi-Fi sharing technique is that you can theoretically connect multiple devices to the internet through your phone. That option might sound quite tempting if your hotel or accommodation only provides unique internet login details for a single device.
With your internet woes sorted you can get back to work (or binge-watching shows) and actually focus on the more important things.