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How to Avoid Paying for Multiple WiFi Connections in One Room

March 20, 2009 at 1:23 PM | by | ()

Paying separately to connect multiple computers in our room to the WiFi network makes us want to do this.

When your Internet-dependent self is traveling with an Internet-dependent companion or two, there is absolutely nothing worse than realizing that a) you're in a hotel that charges for WiFi and b) you're in a hotel that charges every computer in your room that connects to the Internet for WiFi. The worst.

While we fancy ourselves hotel gurus who happen to know our way around the Internet, we would not call ourselves "tech experts." Not at all. And while we would normally occupy ourselves by complaining about the WiFi charges, it has come to our attention that there is a way around this fee-per-computer charge. Yes, if you play your techie cards right, you can usually turn your own Macbook into a WiFi hotspot that your traveling companions can connect to — thereby avoiding forking over cash for every laptop you connect to the hotel's network.

Tech blogger (and winner of our hearts) Dave Taylor answered the call of a distressed hotel guest who ended up in a "hotel where they charge by the laptop, rather than by the room" for WiFi — and wanted to know if he and his travel buddy could get around both paying $25 a day to connect their individual computers to the hotel's network.

Dave gives two recommendations:

What I really like are little wifi base unit gizmos like the Apple Airport Express or similar. For $99 it's a tiny little device that does just what you want.

If all you have are laptops, there's another cool solution, one that's super easy to set up on a Mac and super hard to set up - in my experience - on a PC: Set up a computer -to-computer network so that your computer becomes a wifi base station!

The wrinkle: the device that's going to act as a base station and let other computers piggy-back on the Internet connection has to be hard-wired into the network. That is, you can't connect to the hotel wireless via wifi and also serve as a base unit. If you have an Ethernet option and the right wire in your room, however, here's how you proceed...

And then — seriously — Dave gives step-by-step instructions on how to do this, complete with screenshots and everything. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

We haven't gotten the chance to try this out ourselves yet, but if you have, let us know how it's worked for you.

[Photo: Nathan]

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