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June 2nd, 2004

High Speed on the Highway

My wife and I just got back from a trip to Chicago. As before, we broke the travel up into two days: Denver to Omaha, and then Omaha to Chicago. Now that there’s a lovely laptop with WiFi in our home we were looking forward to having access to the Internet everywhere, including the hotel bathrooms.

The actual results, though, weren’t that great.

First up, the Holiday Inn Omaha. There was no pretense of high speed access here, wired or unwired: there was nothing. But it was a nice enough place, with an indoor pool and children who loved running up and down hallways. I give the Omaha Holiday Inn an F for connectivity.

Next was the Crowne Plaza Allerton, in downtown Chicago. This is a wonderful old building that was recently restored. And, behold! Wired Internet access. There was a small plastic holder on the desk: just plug in and go. Well, I did, and it didn’t. I tried everything and while the computer could get an IP address, nothing happened. I called the toll-free tech support number and was told to unplug and replug many things too many times for a vacation. The hotel management was notified. No WiFi. I give the Allerton a D-, because at least they tried.

That leads us to the Holiday Inn Skokie, where Ryan also enjoyed a stay last year. The good news: free WiFi! The bad news: the signal wasn’t strong enough to reach our room. Using the free WiFi meant heading to the centrally-located Holidome, which meant reading email over the sound of children playing badminton and shuffleboard. It could have been worse. I give the Holiday Inn Skokie a B-.

Finally, that leaves the Crowne Plaza Omaha. Could this hotel outdo the larger (and much more expensive) Allerton? Yes! Not only was there wired access, but there was WiFi as well. Not a single problem connecting, accessing, etc. Beautiful. The Way It Should Be. A+.

I like WiFi when it works. But when it doesn’t, it’s a mess.

Posted in Miscellaneous

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