I travelled from Paris to Amsterdam this week… (for a business conference).

I took the Thalys speed train. They offer WiFi on board… supposedly via satellite with fallback to multilink 3G when necessary. The reality is it works only 50% of the time. It especially doesn’t work every time the train is stopped in a station with a roof. It’s almost a joke. They claim offering internet access at hight speed is a technical challenge… yeah well… I almost believed that until I set up my iPhone for tethering and got a better connection through my phone than through the train’s WiFi. It costs some data fees, but on the other hand, I don’t have to go through the annoying WiFi login screens.

I then stayed at the Okura Hotel in Amsterdam (I didn’t really chose it, it just happened to the the “official” hotel for the conference). I could list tons of reasons why this hotel doesn’t deserve its 5 stars. One of them is they offer 2 star WiFi connection they still call “HiSpeed” and charge an extra 12 ?/day for. Annoying log in screens, over and over and over again, on every device, every hour… and then it would stop working at random times. Here again I reverted to 3G tethering.

The only time when WiFi actually worked fine was in the Amsterdam Centraalstation lounge, where I waited for my train on the way back. Good old WEP/WPA password and you’re in, full speed! That were my only 30 minutes of high speed internet during the whole trip.

Globally I’m pretty disappointed. During my previous trip to switzerland I actually found decent WiFi almost everywhere…

I so can’t wait for the time when mobile operators will be able to join together and offer a global worldwide data plan, so we can just stay on our 3G/4G and stop having to hunt down for WiFi networks and passwords and suffer awful login screens filled with ads all the time.

Also, why can’t Orange, who has presence in God knows how many European countries do this for Europe right now?

Comments from long ago:

Comment from: wifi mobile hotspot

The MOXX portable Wifi device can automatically be connected to various devices such as iPad, laptops, smartphone… You can also share with your family, friends or colleagues! www.moxx.fr

2014-12-05 13-41

Comment from: François Planque

I would normally regard a comment like the above as spam and not validate it but in this case, I looked at it and I actually like the product.

If you’re traveling to France you can book a moxx and get it delivered to your place. It’s a small box that will act as a WiFi base station and provide internet service through 3G/4G networks. When you leave, just drop it at a post office in the prepaid return envelope. 7.99 €/day -> cheaper than what hotels charge and it works almost everywhere you go.

2014-12-06 02-16

Comment from: c kwok

Well, in a small city like HK or Singapore just several hot spots will be good enough to cover the entire city, however technically speaking there is even no free wifi or low cost connection.

I would say, it’s more commercial or political reason rather than technical.

2015-08-15 04-29