Have you ever checked into a dingy hotel that only gives out just one Wi-Fi credential per room and charges extra if you ask for separate credentials? More often than not, the Wi-Fi is locked behind a dynamic captive portal and can’t be used on multiple devices. Thankfully, there are a few easy ways to share the hotel’s Wi-Fi connection which doesn’t involve cracking the Wi-Fi password. You can achieve this with a Windows, Mac or even an Android smartphone. Let’s see how.
How to Share Hotel Wi-Fi with multiple devices
If you’re running Windows 10 on your computer then this process is just one step long. Windows natively let you create a hotspot and share the Wi-Fi connection you just got from the reception. It works because most Windows laptops have two separate Wi-Fi bands and one is used to access the Wi-Fi and the other to create one. To share the Hotel Wi-Fi, connect your Windows laptop to the hotel wi-Fi. After that Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile Hotspot > Share Connection from Wi-Fi > Share Connection over Wi-Fi. Turn it on and you’re set.
By default it pickups an SSID something like Desktop- followed by a random alphanumeric number. If you want to change that, click on the Edit button, type whatever network name and password you want to use like ‘Hotel WiFi extended’ or something and then click “OK.”
Unlike Windows, you can’t create a Wi-Fi hotspot and connect using Wi-Fi at the same time. However, macOS does offer other simple solutions if you’re trying to share Mac’s internet connection to your iPhone. You can either do it by connecting a lightning cable between your iPhone and Mac or share the internet via Bluetooth. USB offers greater speed but Bluetooth is wireless. Open System Preferences> Sharing> Internet Sharing> Share your connection from: Wi-Fi> To Computers using: Bluetooth and iPhone USB.
Related: How to kick people off your Wi-Fi
If you don’t have an iPhone or want to share the internet connection to multiple devices then you should invest in a cheap Wi-Fi Adaptor for your future trips. You can get one from Amazon for as low as $8. I tried it on a TP-Link TL-WN722N Wi-Fi adaptor but theoretically, it should work with any Wi-Fi adaptor.
To share the Wi-Fi, connect to the hotel Wi-Fi from the Wi-Fi Adaptor app. Go to System Preferences > Sharing > Internet Sharing. Share your connection from Wi-Fi Adaptor(listed as 802.11n NIC or something)> To computers using: Wi-Fi. Configure the hotspot by clicking the Wi-Fi options and edit the name and password of the hotspot.
Simply connect the devices to the newly created hotspot and enjoy the Wi-Fi on all the devices.
If you have flagship Android devices like Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy Note 9, etc, then just like Windows you can share the hotel Wi-Fi natively. To Share the Wi-Fi, go to Settings> Wireless> Mobile Hotspot> Setup. Turn it on and connect all the devices to your mobile hotspot.
In case your phone doesn’t have this option, you can still do it with third-party apps like Netshare No Root Tethering. The only requirement is that your smartphone should have a dual-band Wi-Fi Adaptor. A quick Google search would tell you if your phone is supported or not. If it is then simply run the app and share the internet using the app.
We have done a detailed article on how to share Android’s WiFi over hotspot using Netshare No Root app, you can read more on it here.
4. Carry A Wireless Repeater
If you travel often and don’t want to use your existing devices as WiFi repeater, maybe you can consider buying a cheap Wireless Repeater.
Most WiFi repeater works in 3 modes; Ethernet, WPS, and usual password-protected network. So, if anyone of this option is available in the hotel you frequently visit, then you can buy a cheap WiFi repeater. However, WiFi repeater doesn’t work if the WiFi is open WiFi or if the network has a captive login. In such cases, it’s better if you restore to above options.
So these were some of the ways to share a single Wi-Fi connection at a hotel. Things get easier, especially if you do a little bit of planning ahead of time. Alternatively, you can request the reception to upgrade your Wi-Fi devices, most of them do it for free if you ask them nicely. At the same time, if the hotel is ripping you for every service, maybe it’s time to switch hotels. Or, if you have a decent data plan, you could always use data tethering to share your smartphone’s data connection with your other devices. What do you think of these methods, let me know in the comments below?