I am told this happened in the conference hotel of the FGS conference in Birmingham, Alabama, last week: the hotel rooms were equipped with wired ethernet connections for Internet access. There was no wireless wi-fi service available in most of the hotel rooms. That works great if you are carrying a laptop computer but what about an iPad? or an Android tablet or a smartphone? or any other device that doesn't have an ethernet connector?
There are two solutions:
Solution #1: If you prefer to travel with only a tablet or smartphone device, you need to purchase a portable wi-fi router. They cost about $20 to $40 or so. It should pay for itself within two or three days. The portable ones take very little room in a suitcase or carry-on bag. It is just like the router in your house except for its size. Plug the ethernet cable in the hotel room into the router, turn it on, maybe do a bit of configuration, and you have a private wi-fi service that will supply signals to all your wi-fi devices within 50 feet or so. Best of all, you only pay one fee to the hotel room. That's better than paying double or triple prices if you are using two or three wi-fi devices!
I have carried a portable wi-fi router on most of my trips for several years. It is smaller than the proverbial pack of cigarettes and weighs about the same.
You can purchase a portable wi-fi router from most any computer retailer. For a sample selection, look at Amazon at http://goo.gl/kcGhW.
Solution #2: If you happen to be traveling with a laptop computer as well as handheld devices, you can still use all of the devices by converting your laptop to a wifi router. It is surprisingly easy to do on Macintosh and on Windows 7 although a bit more difficult on older versions of Windows. LifeHacker.com has step-by-step instructions for Macintosh and Windows 7 systems:
If you are using a Macintosh laptop, look at the instructions at http://lifehacker.com/283088/share-your-macs-internet-connection-wirelessly
If you are using a Windows 7 laptop, look at the instructions at http://lifehacker.com/5369381/turn-your-windows-7-pc-into-a-wireless-hotspot
Vista and Windows XP can share Internet access but are not so good at sharing a wi-fi connection. Doing so usually entails using third-party hardware or software which means more money. Microsoft does provide some instructions about Internet sharing for users of older Windows systems:
If you are using a Vista laptop, look at the instructions at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Using-ICS-Internet-Connection-Sharing
If you are using a Windows XP laptop, look at the instructions at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306126
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