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Online Testing Firm Puts US WiFi Hotspots on the Hot Seat

(The OpenSignal.com web site.  Graphic by Ed Fischer)

(The OpenSignal.com web site. Graphic by Ed Fischer)

Ian Bush Ian Bush
Ian Bush is an anchor, reporter, news editor, and technology editor&nb...
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By technology editor Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — What’s your best bet if you’re out of the house and looking to hop onto a WiFi network?

Now, the crowds have spoken, from nearly half a million hotspots across the country.

“We feel our data is very representative of the current state of WiFi in the United States,” says Samuel Johnston, of the British firm Open Signal, whose smartphone app has run millions of speed tests on WiFi hotspots.

At hotels, for example, Johnston says WiFi speed can be a differentiating factor.

“As hotels get more expensive, they provide better services to their customers,” he notes.

Johnston says Hilton is the speediest of the major chains, albeit one with among the priciest rooms.

But about half the hotels surveyed performed below the 5 Mbps that Netflix puts as the minimum for HD streaming.  Chains not meeting that benchmark included Motel 6, La Quinta, Holiday Inn, Days Inn, and Comfort Inn.

Crowdsourced results indicate that WiFi at McDonald’s restaurants is more than twice as fast as Dunkin Donuts or Panera Bread.

Among coffee shops, Johnston notes, “Starbucks have made a move to really boost their Internet connection,” by switching its provider from AT&T to Google, resulting in an 80 percent boost in Internet speeds.

More details at opensignal.com.

 

 

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