Heathrow Airport has finally got it into its head that actually providing passengers with free WiFi is a good thing.
To begin with, they offered 45 minutes – or 1 hour 30 if you were a Heathrow Rewards member.
I wandered into LHR this morning at the crack of dawn (well – dawn hasn’t broken yet, but that’s besides the point), and saw a new sign on my travels:
Of course, I had to investigate. Logging on to the Heathrow Hotspot I got this:
Well, it isn’t a lie. 4 hours if you aren’t a member of Heathrow Rewards (their frequent shopper scheme) or 8 hours if you are a member – with paid options too.
How does the free option measure up? Is it any good?
Put it like this: I wouldn’t be relying on it if I was wanting to do serious work.
Tests were conducted on a rebooted Macbook Pro, joined to _Heathrow WiFi
There were some tests that gave lower results, but these were “abnormal”. In actual tests, download speed was varying from .6mb to .9mb, whilst upload speeds were in the same sort of range.
Not great for those of you on laptops wanting to get work done, but plenty for a smartphone usage.
For a comparison, I tried the speed in the British Airways Galleries lounge… and I’ll be frank: there’s no comparison.
Airports are finally “getting” that WiFi and Internet access needs to be available, and cheap/free. Yes I agree the speeds need to be throttled on the free service bands so the networks don’t get swamped – and that the premium buyers get some sort of benefit.
But just under a Megabit… that’s a bit too slow in this writers eyes.
However, a big congratulations for Heathrow Airport for in effect giving away free WiFi for the majority of the time a passenger maybe stuck at the airport. Considering some airports (like Paris CDG, Barcelona El Prat and Madrid) only offer 15 minutes of free WiFi…
…. it’s a darn good start, if not leading.
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