1. Internet appliance *with browser*. 2. Hotel wifi. 3. ??? 4. Netflix!
May 14, 2012 6:57 PM   Subscribe

I have a Blu-ray player *with an internet browser* that still can't authenticate with my hotel's wifi.

I travel a lot and bought a Roku, thinking it would be a better solution for Netflix etc. while traveling than lashing my laptop to my TV. Silly me -- in order to get on the internet at most hotels, you have to join their unsecured wifi network, then browse to any page, which redirects you to their authentication page, where you supply the code given to you b the front desk and voila, 24 hours of internet access. And the Roku has no browser, so no ability to do this. (I could ask the hotel to add my MAC address to their router, but they charge $3 a day for the privilege.)

So, I bought a Sony BDP-S390, largely because I want to be able to watch Blu-rays in my room, but it also has web services like Netflix and Hulu, and a web browser that should solve the authentication problem. At home, I have a secured wireless network, and I just selected my network, entered my password and was able to go online. At the hotel, I select the unsecured wireless network, launch my browser, enter an arbitrary address like yahoo.com ... and the browser page never resolves. It never redirects me to the authentication page, and in fact just beachballs for 10 minutes before saying "Cannot open the page."

How could the hotel be stymieing the Sony appliance? Is it PEBKAU situatoin? What can I do?
posted by blueshammer to Technology (7 answers total)
Does the browser support javascript?
posted by odinsdream at 6:59 PM on May 14, 2012

Ah, that's a great question. I hadn't thought of that. Let's see ... it says "JavaScript Setup" is "Valid."
posted by blueshammer at 7:34 PM on May 14, 2012

Could the hotel's network be browser sniffing to determine whether to serve a desktop or mobile version of the authentication page? Maybe it's getting stuck because your Blu-ray player has a user-agent it doesn't recognize.

Have you only tried this in one hotel? Or do you always stay in the same hotel? It's possible that other hotels may let your Blu-ray resolve to their authentication page, so if you can switch up your hotel on the next trip, try it out.

Another option, though I'm not sure exactly how to do it - if you have your laptop with you, spoof your laptop's wireless MAC address to match the Blu-ray player's. Login on the laptop, shut down, then power on the Blu-ray.
posted by trivia genius at 7:47 PM on May 14, 2012

You can solve the problem differently by using a small router, like the Asus or Tenda in WISP mode. These are just two examples, there exist others. Then you use your laptop to authenticate, after which the router serves up internet for the other devices.
And, if the hotel offers a wired connection, you can map to a different frequency that isn't so congested for better performance.
posted by Runes at 7:50 PM on May 14, 2012

Those aren't my favorite solutions, trivia genius and Runes, but I appreciate them. Thanks.
posted by blueshammer at 8:02 PM on May 14, 2012

Does the hotel have a *secured* network that you could also use? They may just be hobbling Netflix so people don't suck up all their bandwidth watching movies off the free wifi.
posted by rhizome at 8:15 PM on May 14, 2012

and the browser page never resolves. It never redirects me to the authentication page, and in fact just beachballs for 10 minutes before saying "Cannot open the page."

Is the device trying to access some hardcoded Sony DNS servers that are inaccessible before authenticating to the hotel's network? I can't seem to find anything on the internet suggesting that it might, but since the rootkit fiasco a few years back, I wouldn't put it past Sony to do something like that for "market research".

If that's the case, there's a slight chance that it's incorrectly assuming any IP obtained via DHCP gets you out to the internet. You could try setting the device to a static IP in the hotel's unsecured range, manually setting the DNS servers to whatever ones you'd get in that range, then try browsing to authentication page, hitting submit, then switching it back to DHCP (hopefully the access point remembers your MAC) to obtain an Internet-accessible IP.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 3:43 AM on May 15, 2012

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