So, we can agree with Marriott on one thing…public WiFi does present a cyber threat to anyone who uses it. When it was uncovered that Marriott had used signal blocking technology to prevent guests at their Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center from using their personal WiFi hotspots, Marriott defended its actions: “Marriott has a strong interest in ensuring that when our guests use our Wi-Fi service, they will be protected from rogue wireless hotspots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber-attacks and identity theft,” the company said in a statement. “Like many other institutions and companies in a wide variety of industries, including hospitals and universities, the Gaylord Opryland protected its Wi-Fi network by using FCC-authorized equipment provided by well-known, reputable manufacturers.”
Well, the FCC didn’t buy it and slammed them with a $600,000 fine. It seems the FCC thought Marriott was driven by the $250 to $1,000 per device fee it was charging customers and exhibitors to access the Marriott Wi-Fi network rather than the security of these now empty-pocketed guests.
And cost is not the only problem with forcing their guests to buy their WiFi. A recent study by Hotel Wi-Fi Test, a leading company for collecting, analyzing and distributing data about WiFi quality in hotels around the world, found that the quality of the connection of hotel WiFi is inconsistent regardless of what you pay. Hotel Wi-Fi can also be notoriously slow, especially during peak times when a lot of people are trying to access the same network at the same time.
A mobile hotpot, like those rented out by XCom Global, provide a dedicated Internet connection which usually gives you a faster connection speed as well as built-in security (WPA2, VPN). Plus you can connect up to 10 WiFi enabled devices on a single mobile hotspot rental.
While XCom Global has become a preferred solution for international travelers who want a low, fixed rate connectivity solution for when they head overseas, the company has been quickly recognized as a cost-effective option to hotel and convention center WiFi. XCom Global now has trade show/event packages available for event hosts who would like to supply attendees Internet connectivity at a fraction of the cost of what most venues charge. And trade show exhibitors can bring an XCom Global WiFi package with them to provide a private and secure connection to all of their booth’s WiFi enabled devices – PCs, tablets, printers, POS systems, smartphones, etc. These packages have been developed specifically for use at high-density events, minimizing the problem of slow connection speed that many event attendees experience when a venue’s WiFi is overloaded.
We certainly share Marriott’s concern about the dangers of WiFi. But forcing guest to buy their outrageously expensive WiFi just feels a bit self serving.