Free wi-fi in hotels is always such a crowd-pleaser that it’s amazing it’s not universal. Of course, some hotels really don’t want you to stay in your room, wanting you to be in their restaurant, bar or conference room.
In these hotels, wi-fi can be prohibitive, and since the price is usually per gadget, you triple your bill when you connect tablet, phone and laptop. Some hotels don’t allow you to have more than one device registered to your room anyway.
Worse, if they do offer free wi-fi it’s restricted to communal areas like the bar – where you’ll be spending money in a different way. This is fine if you’re checking Facebook updates but not suited to confidential work.
Belkin’s latest gadget gives you the freedom to create your own personal hotspot for multiple gadgets. You use the hotel’s network, so you are still paying for connecting to that, but only for the router, which creates the connection for all your other gadgets.
It works with up to five devices simultaneously, which is handy if you’re using your room as a hub for your colleagues to work with you while you’re all away from the office.
What’s more, the router connects by Ethernet cable, so if there’s actually no wi-fi at the hotel, only a cable connection, the Belkin means you’re not restricted to where to sit. The router is supplied with the appropriate cables and a charger with UK and EU connectors.
It’s very simple to set up and works well, though if the hotel wi-fi is slow then using multiple devices will only hobble it further. And if you’ve picked a place with a wi-fi connection but no Ethernet option, it’s no use.
Still, it may be cheaper than upgrading to a better-equipped hotel. And needless to say it works everywhere, not just in hotels, so if your office has cabled internet only, it could add extra flexibility – though check with your IT supervisor first.
This is the sort of gadget that you would hope didn’t need to exist – hotel internet should be fast, wireless and free. But until then, it’s a good stopgap.