According to Andrew Yorra, co-founder and vice president of Eleven Wireless, which helps hotels build and manage their WiFi networks, a standard amount of bandwidth in a hotel with free WiFi is usually about 1mbps per each room. So you can check your email, surf the web, update your social media and maybe stream some music.
If a hotel has bandwidth somewhere between 2 and 5mbps per room, that will allow you to upload/download photos and videos, stream music and do some video Skyping. Beyond 5mbps, the internet is your oyster (pretty much.)
Of course, these speeds vary wildly from hotel to hotel and at this point, it's pretty impossible to say which hotel brand is doing it best. But what we've been doing over the past year (and for the forseeable future) is testing hotel speeds. You can do this on a speed testing website like Speedtest.net. Here are a few examples that we've found.*
* (Note: pay attention to the upload and download measurements, not the letter grade. We've seen hotel speed test results that are faster than our home network yet they have a C or worse grade.)
The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas: Included in the $25 resort fee and is good for two devices.
Public Chicago: Free!
Hotel Lincoln, Chicago (a Joie De Vivre Hotel): Free!
The Muse Hotel, Times Square (a Kimpton Hotel): Free!
And for comparison:
A Starbucks in Malibu, CA
McCarren Airport in Las Vegas
Our neighborhood bagel shop
Are you in a hotel and curious about the WiFi speed? Test it and share the results with us!
The Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas (included in the $25 per day resort and includes up to four devices. WOW.)
The Four Seasons Los Angeles (free, but if you need premium internet it's $18.95 a day.)
Red Roof Chicago, Northbrook/Deerfield (free but not very good.)
New York, New York (Las Vegas) Part of the $18 resort fee and clearly not worth it.
Orlando World Marriott Center: $14.95 a day but it's actually working rather good. Streaming some "Scandal" episodes right now.
FOR MORE ON THE STATUS OF HOTEL WIFI TODAY, 2013 HOTEL WIFI REPORT