Alexander’s Law of Hotel Internet Connectivity

I recall a conversation with Bryan Alexander who relayed his travel experience in the form of an inverse law- the higher the cost and luxury status of a hotel, the worse your internet connectivity will be– the best free wireless is found in an obscure Motel 8 in rural Pennsylvania.

This has certainly proven true this week with the NMC Conference in Cleveland- the Intercontinental Suites is a swank place, but the in room internet paid connectivity has been shot to hell all week (was it a hotel full of techies?); there is zero wireless available in a place that you think would cater to businesses, and the rates they charge for our conference connections border on grand larceny (they not per line, but per connected Mac address- so each computer hooked in is another kaching). To some minimal amount defense, the hotel is bound by their contract to a provider with a name I will choose not to slander, because it would be really easy to pile on some nasty adjectives.

It just took 25 minutes for their “service” to process a connection request, at a speed bordering on tin cans and clothesline before the lights came on. It makes little sense, since once that ordeal is over, the connection is fairly decent, like cable in a crowded neighborhood. All their “supprt” line can do is blame the issue on too many connections or (and I swear this is what their rep said, “too many people engaged in illegal peer to peer file sharing.” What a load of dog doo-doo.

So if you want a plush robe in your closet and soap carved into flower shapes, shell out the big bucks; if you need to get some work done on a free and reliable wireless, check into the local No Tell Motel.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. The law isn’t absolute or universal, though. In my recent stay on Vancouver Island, the Best Western had free wifi, but it was completely unusable from my room – had to camp out in the lobby to get a decent connection. Silly FatPort…

  2. Okay, there are caveats to the Law. It does not imply that all cheap hotels have good connectivity, nor does it deny exceptions ;-) And my experience is based upon a few terrible and stellar eperiences a at a small number of hotels. Your mileage may vary. Void where prohibited. Contents may have settle during shipping. Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. Batteries not included. Yadda.

    I believe I need many more disclaimers here as I have gotten some impressions that people think I know what I am writing about.

  3. I have noticed very similar patterns as well. I think the rule is – if you have important work to do on a tight deadline, the wireless will be flaky. If you need to do something important and risky involving any type of public demonstration, you are doomed! :)

  4. The NMC hotel indeed has lame connectivity: little WiFi, and not very fast ethernet. One colleague reported having to deal with a dwarf, one-foot-long cable for the latter.

    As discoverer of this law, I hereby admit the Lomas Corollary, which intensifies the law’s operation.

    D’Arcy is correct to add to the law’s empirical study. You see, it’s a business move to defy our expectations of the law by offering fine connectivity in an upscale lodging.

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