Much is technically wrong

Twitter says “Something is technically wrong”. The hotel wi-fi is up and down. Mostly down. My Sprint data card gets squat from this hotel. AT&T is borderline useless at #sxsw, probably because 90% of the attendees have iPhones.

My wife is headed off to Europe in the morning, and I’m trying to get her going with a Skype account for her laptop because we failed to unlock the Nokia phone that used to run on AT&T but hasn’t been used in a bit — and because Skype would be good to have in any case. But Skype just gives her a spinning wheel for long periods before saying “Unable to connect to Skype P2P network”, which is apparently a known problem. A post there says to go to http://heartbeat.skype.com/ … but that page doesn’t load.

Grrr.

Now it loads and says everything is fine. It ain’t. So we’re giving up.

3 comments

  1. Phil Wolff’s avatar

    Many of the ISPs that serve hotels block Skype.

    Two reasons.

    First is the “Enterprise Overkill” approach. Very aggressive security systems perceive Skype’s p2p-ness and wily attempts to connect to other users as some sort of attack or the initiation of bandwidth-consuming bittorrents or file sharing. I’ve sometimes fixed this with a call to the hotel’s ISP’s help desk and get some temporary policy exceptions.

    Second is the “Emirates Protectionist” strategy. Some hotels block Skype for commercial reasons. It cuts into their telephone surcharge revenue, especially if they cater to international business travelers. No joy if this is their motive.

    The counter meme is hotels that charge as much as the market will tolerate [bear or bare?] but that open up the pipes and leave you to a darwinian fight for bandwidth with your fellow tenants.

    My other bit of grief is that hotels say they offer wi-fi to all their rooms. They do. But your experience is vastly different if you are at the other end of the hall from a router. Tip 1: ask for rooms near a router if they don’t have in-room ethernet. Tip 2: bring your own portable wireless access point and run it off of in-room ethernet.

  2. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Thanks, Phil.

    I always bring my own access point. Helps when they have Ethernet. The OMNI didn’t. And its problem was something else. What mattered is that they knew they had a problem, during a major Internet-related trade show, and blew it off. I’ll avoid staying there again.

    As for the Skype problem, it was a bad file in a library on my wife’s laptop. No blockage involved. This time, at least.

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