How to share a hotel or cruise ship single WiFi Connection

Both hotels and cruise ships often limit the number of devices that can connect to their WiFi network. Fortunately, as with most things when it comes to technology, there are several fairly easy ways around these restrictions. Keep on reading to find our how to share a single WiFi connection with all your high tech internet enabled gadgets......

 

How does the hotel WiFi know how many devices are connecting

When connecting to the internet, most hotels direct the first internet request to a portal where a code or registration details are required before internet access is enabled. At this point, the hotel WiFi system registers your internet device’s MAC address with your WiFi code \ registration details and will only allow that device (or the permitted number of devices) to connect.


How to share a single WiFi connection with multiple devices

 

Wireless Travel Router

Using a wireless travel router is probably the simplest and most effective solution to share a restricted WiFi connection. CyberShield Hub Travel Router

The CyberShield Hub can easily be used as a travel router and has the features required to share an internet connection.

If using a router other than the Cyber Shield Hub, make sure it has WISP and MAC cloning (optional) in order to work.

How it works, is that the devices you want to access the internet connect to the travel router WiFi network. The travel router in turn connects the hotel WiFi using a technology called WISP. The Hotel WiFi network will only see the single MAC address of the travel router. All the other internet devices MAC addresses will not be visible to the hotel network as they connect to the travel router WiFi.

This method has the added security benefit of creating a firewall between the hotel network and your internet devices. Also, If your internet devices have previously used the travel router WiFi they will already have connection details stored and won’t require them re-entering.

It is important that when first connecting to the hotel network that it is done with the travel router, so it’s MAC address is the one detected by the hotel WiFi and registered as the permitted device.

In other words….

  1. Connect your laptop \ mobile device to the travel router WiFi
  2. Setup the WISP connection to the hotel WiFi
  3. Open a web browser on a laptop \ mobile device to get redirect to the WiFi portal page
  4. Enter the hotel code \ registration details
  5. The hotel WiFi automatically registers the travel router MAC address
  6. Connect all your internet device to the travel router WiFi and they will have internet access

    How to configure the CyberShield hub to share a WiFi connection

If another device has already connected to the hotel \ cruise ship WiFi, then a feature called MAC cloning can make the travel router appear to have the same MAC address. Make sure that the travel router and device that had it's MAC address cloned are not both connected to the Hotel \ Cruise ship at the same time. How to clone a MAC address on the CyberShield Hub

 

Use a PC \ Mac as a hotspot

It is possible to setup both MacBooks and Windows laptops as a hotspot to share internet connections.

PC as a Hotspot

 

There are a few limitations to be aware of.

  • MacBooks cannot use the same WiFi network card as a hotspot and connect to the hotel WiFi. Either two networks cards are required (e.g. connect a USB wireless network card) or it is possible to create a Bluetooth hotspot \ Personal Area Network (PAN). If the hotel has physical network points then these can used to connect and the MacBook WiFi can easily be used to create a hotspot
  • Windows laptops can create virtual wireless network adapters making it possible to connect to the Hotel WiFi and create a Hotspot using a single network adapter. This requires moderate IT skills. As with the MacBook a second USB WiFi adapter or Bluetooth PAN can be configured as the hotspot

 

Ask

At some hotels you can simply ask the reception for additional WiFi codes to connect multiple devices, It’s worth trying….what have you got to lose?

 

Mobile Phone Hotspot

With big improvements in mobile phone networks it is possible to share a mobile phone internet connection using the built-in hotspot feature. This obviously completely bypasses the Hotel WiFi and probably won't be an option when in the middle of the ocean on a cruise ship.

Quick Setup guide for mobile phone hotspotMobile phone Hotspot

On iPhone \ iPad,
Go to Settings > Cellular > Personal Hotspot and turn it on.

For Android devices
Go to Settings > More > Wireless & Network >Tethering & mobile hotspot, then turn on 'mobile Wi-Fi hotspot'.

On both Apple and Android device the WiFi name and password can be changed in the settings to whatever you want.

Just be aware that some mobile phone companies disable the ability to tether like this, especially on iPhone \ iPad devices, so double-check before using

 

Top tips when using hotel or cruise ship WiFi networks

  • To prevent abuse and control bandwidth usage some WiFi networks restrict certain internet activities. For example, network ports for email clients and VOIP are often blocked to prevent them from working. These blocks can be circumvented by using a good VPN.
  • Always use a VPN to ensure the internet connection is secure
  • Check websites accessed use secure https at the beginning of the address
  • Hotel and especially cruise ship WiFi connections will be considerably slower than home or office networks, so don’t expect high bandwidth services like Netflix, iPlayer, Skype etc to work well, if at all.
  • Unless using a VPN don’t use Hotel \ cruise ship WiFi for confidential tasks…..you don’t know who’s watching.
  • Use your web browsers privacy mode. Some WiFi network providers use cookies to monitor which devices are using the internet
  • Always have an update virus scanner installed
  • Disable your WiFi connection when it's not being used
  • Make sure your device doesn't have sharing enabled e.g your laptop isn't sharing folders