Your Comprehensive Guide
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Table Of Contents
- What Is A Good Wifi Signal?
- List Of Tools / Hardware That I Use
- How To Find Hotels Abroad With Good Wifi
- Getting Fast Wifi Outside of Your Hotel
What Is A Good Wifi Signal?
To me, a good wifi signal is having a video call with a client with little to no interruptions in the connection.
The goal when I started my digital marketing business was to work wherever I wanted and whenever I wanted. However, if every time I went abroad my clients noticed a big difference in my quality of work, my email response times, etc I knew I wouldn’t keep them long. I’ve noticed that a video calls tend to be the most taxing thing I do for the Wifi, so for that reason my goal for you in this post is to teach you how to have a video call with a client from anywhere in the world (or at least give you the best shot at this!)
Here are the hard metrics for this goal
- Download Bitrate – 50+ MBPS
- Upload Bitrate – Avg. Of At Least 1.5 MBPS
- Speed Latency – Avg. Below 100 MBPS
You can do plenty of tasks underneath these numbers, I’ve streamed videos, downloaded files and done plenty of work below these metrics without much problems, however the title of this blog is how to get Fast WiFi anywhere, not regular Wifi, so my focus will be on hitting these metrics.
List Of Tools / Hardware That I Use
- 50 Ft. of ethernet cord – Plugging an ethernet cord into your labtop from a Wifi Router is definitely the best way to get a consistent internet connection, I had a 90 minute Zoom meeting with only one hiccup high in the middle of nowhere in the Ecuadorian Andes after plugging my ethernet cord into the hotel’s Wi-fi Router. See a picture of where I was below.
- Solis Hotspot – I was skeptical about this hotspot at the beginning, not going to lie however it’s proven itself quite handy! In Ecuador, it averaged 7 more MBPS in upload speed than my Google Fi hotspot. At the time of writing this, it is averaging 3 more MBPS in upload speed than my Google Fi Hotspot in Greece. If you’re interested, here’s the spreadsheet where I track the wifi connection across the countries I’ve visited. (I just started this in April 2021 unfortunately so many missed opportunities!).
- Google Fi – this turns my phone into an international hotspot – with this service I get unlimited data, and texting internationally in 200+ destinations and pretty cheap calling as well. I haven’t been able to find a country that I don’t get coverage in. I word it like this, I get good coverage everywhere but not great coverage anywhere, the coverage in the US isn’t as spectacular as Verizon – but for me it’s more than enough. When writing this, the service starts at $80 a month and get’s $10 cheaper per month for each person that you add to your plan. If you’re interested in trying it out, and would like to support this blog, here’s a link for $20 off your bill when you signup.
- May 2022 update – Google Fi has turned off my international data since I was outside of the country for too long. They don’t have any hard and fast rules for when they’ll cut you off, but wanted to share. I had been out of the country for a bit over 6 months straight.
- Search Function In Booking.com Reviews – If you go to Booking.com or use the Booking.com app you can search a keyword to see what reviews pop-up related to that keyword, more on this below.
- Nperf.com – For testing, they allow you to test all of the metrics mentioned above. There are plenty of other tools to test wifi speed, my recommendation is to stick with one tool, because you’ll find the inter-tool reliability is pretty bad (meaning you get consistently different results from one tool to the next).
- Bonus Tool – A Tracking Spreadsheet – If you’re as nerdy (or neurotic) as I am you can even track your test results in a Google Sheet, like mine here. From there you can easily see how your wifi speed is from place to place, you can see how your hotspots are performing on average, etc.
How To Find Hotels Abroad With Good Wifi
- Look For Co-Living Spots First – I’m writing this from Southern Mexico and they have all kinds of co-living places. 9 times out of 10 if the place is labelled as a Co-living spot, then it means that they’ll have quick Wifi. So just search in Google, Booking, etc. for Coliving + your city, and see what you can find. These places will usually have discounted prices if you stay for a month at a time. Selina is my favorite co-living spot, with locations all over Mexico and the US.
- Search Reviews On Booking.com – Go to their reviews, then use the search icon to search their reviews for the keyword “wifi”. See how many people have reviewed positively and or negatively on their wifi. You can also look for terms in their reviews that talk about “good for business stays”, etc. this tends to insinuate they have good Wi-fi as well.
- Save Good Hotels – As you find hotels with good reviews on their Wi-fi save them in your favorites on Booking, or a 3rd party app.
- Test The Wifi Before You Buy – Go to the hotel your heart most wants to stay at, once you get to the lobby let them know that you’d love to stay there but you work online and need to check the wifi first. Run a test through Nperf.com, and if the results hit the minimums outlined in the “What Is Good Wifi” section then that’s your hotel! If not, head onto the next one.
- Bonus Points – Ask the hotel staff if you could see the wifi router, if they let you check it out you should be able to plug your Ethernet cord in for even more stable wifi (if needed).
Extra Tips Around Fast Wifi At Hotels
- The fewer people using the Wi-fi the better – All things equal, an empty hotel is going to have better wifi than a full hotel, but this can also mean just using the wifi early in the morning when everyone is asleep. If your sleep schedule hasn’t adjusted to the timezone yet this can be a plus! Work while everyone else is asleep.
- Wifi may differ from floor to floor, or even spot to spot – Ideally, you want to be as close to the router as possible with the fewest walls between you and the router. Nicer hotels will usually have a router on each floor, but others may only have a router on the lobby floor. Be aware that your wifi score may decrease drastically from the lobby to your 6th floor room… (or in some cases it may even be better!). It’s best to run the wifi test in the lobby, if it’s fast enough then make sure you are ready to work in that lobby in case your room has poor wifi.
Getting Fast Wifi Outside of Your Hotel
In this case a lot of the same elements outlined above are going to hold true namely the following
- Busier places may have slower wifi (or if you see everyone is on a lab top they could have great bandwidth! So take this advice with a grain of salt)
- Metropolitan cities tend to have faster wifi than rural areas, Nperf actually has a pretty cool map that can give you a decent idea of what the download speeds are for different parts of a country.
- Try To Use an Establishments Wifi – Even if you have to buy a drink, this is usually cheaper and faster than a hotspot. Although if you’re only going somewhere for wifi, test the wifi first before buying something. I had to buy a $7 poor quality beer at some bar in Tahiti only to find out the wifi didn’t even work! I didn’t even want to be at the bar I was just looking for Wi-fi, (needless to say, I was pretty pissed). I then had to rush to the next cafe / bar to see if I could find a place with wifi.
- Test Out Your International Hotspots – If the wifi isn’t working at a nearby establishment then I always try out both of my hotspots, see which one is faster and go with that one. I prefer to have two hotspots available to me at all times, I like Google Fi’s and Solis’ but there are others out there for sure!
You can find fast Wifi in most places, as long as you have a couple different backups and you’re patient. If you’re in a rush to find a hotel or a cafe quickly you may get lucky, but chances are your Wifi will lack.