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Connecting to Wi-Fi in hotel rooms?


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imagination's Avatar
imagination imagination is offline
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17-Feb-2005, 11:01 PM #1
Connecting to Wi-Fi in hotel rooms?
Hi I have a question about using my notebook to connect to wireless internet in hotel rooms. What exactly do I need to connect? I have a trip planned, and some hotels advertise free Wi-Fi or wireless internet.

I have a Toshiba Tecra 8100 (kinda old, ~2000-2001) with Win 98SE. It has a IrDA infrared port. Is this enough, or do I need to buy a wireless PC card? Would the NETGEARŪ Wireless-G PC card work? I have 2 Type I/II PC Card slots, but no USB slot and I'm looking for an inexpensive solution.

I assume the hotel gives me a password and I set up some kind of network connection on my computer?

I'm sorry for such a basic question, but I really have no clue when it comes to networking/wireless kinds of things (I'm still using dial-up!). I've googled, but I haven't found anything that really answers my question about how to connect in hotel rooms.

Thanks so much!
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sundram sundram is offline
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18-Feb-2005, 03:45 AM #2
Hi,
1. No the iRDa port will not be good enough
2. Yes, you will need to get a least a PCMCIA Wireless card; but not necessarily the G version, since the B will be cheaper and will work just as well during the life expectancy of your current laptop.
3.For a cheaper solution, check if your laptop has a network card built-in. So, that you can connect to the hotel network thru that instead of wirelessly. Most hotels which offer wireless connection, would most probably also offer in-room 10/100 network cable connections. Anyway, if you do not have a network card built-in to your PC, then either you can gt a PCMCIA network card or go for the Wireless card - whichever is cheaper. However, I would go with the wireless card, since the chances are the next laptop you buy would most probably have at least the network card built-in, and so, you will be able to use the wireless card on it.

4. And finally - check and make sure that the whatever card you buy works for Win 98. Especially in the Wireless G case.

And I got to tell you my personal bias AGAINST all things NETGEAR. I just have a lot more trouble getting their stuff to work with other brands - and their customer support is really no help at all when you need them to try and work out connections to other products you already own.


Have fun with your hotel stays. Don't do anything naughty. But if you must, then just be careful at least.

Cheers,
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imagination imagination is offline
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18-Feb-2005, 05:31 PM #3
Thank you!!
Thanks so much Viji! I finally understand now.

I checked my notebook, and unfortunately, no network card. I think I'll go with your suggestion of getting a wireless PC card, as it should come in handy when I upgrade, and also if I go DSL/cable at home then it'll definitely be a wireless network. So the B and the G cards do the same thing? That's good to know. Good point about making sure they work with Win98! Definitely a must. And I'll keep in mind your issues with Netgear. I'm going to go research wireless cards now.

Finally, thank you for the laugh I got at the end of your post! I'll try not to get in too much trouble in my hotel rooms!

Thanks again and have a great weekend!
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sonyguy68 sonyguy68 is offline
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21-Feb-2005, 06:35 PM #4
Hotel Wi-Fi
I've had great hotel wi-fi success with an old Sony laptop running Windows 98 SE and a Netgear MA521 32-Bit Wireless PC Card. It's an 802.11b card and is compatible with all the hotspots I've encountered so far. Yes, the hotel will probably give you a passcode when you check in. After you boot up the laptop go to the MA 521 Utilities screen and select the SITE SURVEY tab. Initiate the survey, and the MA 521 should find whatever hotspots are available. Pick the one with the best signal strength and click APPLY. Then open your web browser -- it should be diverted from your usual home page to a sign in screen of some kind -- be patient, this may take awhile. Type in the passcode, and then go to whatever website you want via your browser.
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imagination imagination is offline
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22-Feb-2005, 04:57 PM #5
Great! Doesn't sound too difficult, sonyguy. Thanks so much for your help!
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22-Feb-2005, 05:31 PM #6
Every hotel I have stayed in with free Broadband ( wired or wireless ) no password was needed . . you just turn on the card software ( or use Windows Zero Configuration if you have XP ) and search for available networks. Most have no security and are very easy to connect to.

Funny about the NetGear comment . . I have much better luck with clients who use NetGear than those using Linksys . . in fact my personeal wireless network is all NetGear.

Have fun . .wrs
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imagination imagination is offline
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24-Feb-2005, 06:45 PM #7
Thanks for the input, simps! I really appreciate all the help here!!
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