PDA to hotel broadband, how?
October 3, 2005 11:22 PM   Subscribe

Just got WiFi PDA, how do I plug in a hotel broadband cable?

I have just got a wifi enabled HP PDA. Now, I don't have to lug the laptop with me when I am on the road but how should I link to the hotel broadband? Should I get a card that accepts the 10/100 network cable (they seem overpriced at £60ish), is there a gizmo to make a wireless network in the hotel room, or am I missing some obvious solution. Would such a gizmo just work, or would I need to face the blank stares at the front desk when I ask about various settings.

Thanks in anticipation of the answer.
posted by priorpark17 to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Apple's Airport Express will create a wireless network in a hotel room, amongst other functions.

But it's more expensive and just a mite more complicated than getting a card for your PDA which accepts Ethernet.
posted by skylar at 11:27 PM on October 3, 2005

Likely you would ask the front desk if they have wireless support and whether you need to pay for it or not.

If you need to pay for it, they'll likely give you instructions on whether you pay when you connect or sell you a username and password good for so much time. Likely they will give you generic connection instructions, which involve selecting the wireless network from your PDA's system preferences and opening up your PDA's web browser to negotiate authentication.

If you don't need to pay for it, you'll likely open up your PDA's wifi preferences window and just select the wireless network in your vicinity. That network will "broadcast" its presence — you would just select it from a list of available networks. Then your PDA would configure its settings. You'd open up a web browser and do what you need to do.

If they don't have wireless, you'd either need a 10/100 widget or bring your own wireless access point (Apple Airport Express is a cheap, quick and easy solution) to connect your PDA to the hotel's wired network.
posted by Rothko at 11:32 PM on October 3, 2005

Seconded. The Express will do everything you need (actually, very little setup will be needed out of the box). At $129, it was totally worth it, and I rarely use AirTunes.

One great thing about it is the ability to have multiple profiles. If you aren't too tech savvy, find someone who is to set up various profiles for you, then you'll have no trouble using it wherever you go.

(It's also great for wireless-less conference rooms)

Oh..it's really small, too.
posted by zerokey at 11:35 PM on October 3, 2005

Would i need a PC to set up the wireless router? If yes that would mean i had to lug the laptop with me. Why isnt there a cat-5 female on my PDA?
posted by priorpark17 at 2:44 AM on October 4, 2005

You can't change the settings on an AirPort Express without using a PC or Mac. I'd recommend getting a cheap generic Wi-Fi router. Almost all of them (except Apple's) allow you to change the settings through a web browser, which you'll be able to do from your PDA.

eBuyer have them starting at around £30.
posted by cillit bang at 5:35 AM on October 4, 2005

Linksys has a travel AP in the same "wall plug" form factor as the Airport Express.
posted by zsazsa at 5:39 AM on October 4, 2005

Actually, as an owner of an Airport express...

You don't need a PC or anything. Just connect it up. As a default, it will broadcast whatever is plugged into it. It's not smart, because it's set to the default password...but yeah, you don't "need" a PC. So if you're on the road, you could just buy it and plug it in.

Then you tell your PDA to look for wireless gateways...once you find your airport (Called Apple something...) then you go to a web page and pay the hotel's fee.
posted by filmgeek at 8:12 AM on October 4, 2005

a little off-topic --
many of the hotels I've stayed at recently have not only the ethernet connection, but a wi-fi cloud covering the hotel (especially if they have a lot of conferences/conventions). You may want to just call ahead & ask.
posted by j at 8:15 AM on October 4, 2005

So if you're on the road, you could just buy it and plug it in.

Maybe. Out of the box, it just uses DHCP to find whatever's out there. If the hotel doesn't use DHCP or requires slightly different settings, you're screwed. Though actually, if you turn off DHCP and NAT before you leave home, it'll just bridge the wi-fi and wired networks, and you should be OK.
posted by cillit bang at 8:32 AM on October 4, 2005

I use an Airport Express that's set to NAT, and DHCP. It's been bulletproof.
posted by I Love Tacos at 4:16 PM on October 4, 2005

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