I do not really regard my Wine Page as a blog in the traditional sense as it is not a web diary, I hope my articles are more considered than that. However, I call it my blog by way of a shorthand explanation as to what it is. Therefore I am a wine blogger and that is sometimes a very frustrating thing to be.
When out and about it is often absurdly hard to stay connected and therefore to be able to publish articles. I find it very strange that it is so difficult, to me it defies logic. I have an excellent internet provider and wireless network at home, so surely hotels could have the same thing?
On my trip to Tuscany last week I was put up in some very nice hotels, but not a single one of them provided effective wifi. It was not available in the rooms at all, in any of the hotels, only the reception areas. Even then it didn’t cover it all, but only reached certain places. When I asked why this was, they told me that the building was old and wifi couldn’t reach through the thick walls. I am sure that is true, however I am no techie, but I could put this right it in a moment. My wifi at home couldn’t reach upstairs, but I installed another router piggy-backing off the main one – problem solved. Also one of the places I teach is a cellar and recently we got a dedicated router down there with the result that we now have wifi working many metres underground. These things can be done and are actually not expensive at all, so why do so few hotels get it right, or even try?
I get the feeling they were attempting to make do with a single router, such as I have at home, for an entire hotel. This was certainly borne out by the weakness and unreliability of the signal when it was available.
What’s more they charged for it. What is this with hotels? Wifi costs very little, yet they seem to charge a great deal for it, even when the service is poor. I have nothing against a small charge, but some of these places were trying to get between €7 and €10 an hour, which would be more acceptable as a daily rate in my opinion. Also they indulge in overly protective username and password systems – why don’t they just hand out their password and levy a daily charge for everyone who wants to use it. Why are they so bureaucratic about this? It seems pretty pointless to me, making something simple appear overly complex. Those systems can also make connecting very difficult and time consuming. It seems to me that most foreign hotels still regard wifi as something strange that a few people seem to insist on, but not the absolute necessity, I think it is. Truth to tell, whether I am working or not if I cannot get online then I feel bereft and helpless and go into something of a decline. I presume this would be alien to a nation where everything closes for a 2 hour lunch!
It seems strange to me that all portable wifi devices, iPad, iPhone, laptops etc. only really work properly at home where my wifi system means that I do not really need them. To make this all work when I am out and about I invested in a Mifi, but even that only works in the UK. As soon as I go abroad, where I really need it, the charges become prohibitive. As I go to Spain such a lot I did buy a Spanish Sim card for it, but have so far failed to make it work, despite following the instructions to the letter.
Surely it is not beyond our capabilities to have Europe wide portable wifi at a sensible price and to have straightforward effective and affordable wifi available in hotels?
I would be grateful if anyone has any thoughts on this subject and even more if they have any real solutions.