Impressed, perplexed by Howard Johnson

I’m present­ly at a hotel, and I’ve found myself impressed with the Wi‐Fi here. The sig­nal strength is okay and the speed is ade­quate, but that’s not what’s stand­ing out. It’s the brand­ing.

I’ve seen all man­ners of SSIDs since Wi‐Fi became com­mon­place in hotels, from “Free Wifi” to “[hotel name here],” but in my expe­ri­ence, this Howard John­son loca­tion is tru­ly sin­gu­lar… and per­plex­ing to me.

The hotel offers mul­ti­ple wire­less access points. I’m guess­ing this is for bet­ter cov­er­age, but they decid­ed to give each one a dif­fer­ent name. The names aren’t any­thing pre­dictable, like hojo1, hojo2, either.

I’m impressed that the man­age­ment actu­al­ly took the time to inte­grate feel‐good cor­po­rate mes­sages into each access point’s SSID. Using tech to com­mu­ni­cate thoughts in non­tra­di­tion­al ways is cer­tain­ly rel­e­vant to my inter­ests. How­ev­er, pick­ing a dif­fer­ent slo­gan for each AP not only seems tech­ni­cal­ly slop­py, but makes for an awk­ward mish‐mash of old and new com­pa­ny taglines. Also, how am I sup­posed to know the AP I’m con­nect­ing to isn’t an evil twin? It’d be pret­ty triv­ial for some­one to throw togeth­er some­thing like hojolovesy­ou and have its poten­tial for mal­ice be imper­cep­ti­ble next to the oth­er goofy net­works.

My con­cerns over the wire­less ameni­ties are most­ly the­o­ret­i­cal, since my teth­ered Android phone has me ade­quate­ly cov­ered when it comes to Inter­net access. My use of the free Wi‐Fi is lim­it­ed to con­sum­ing to high‐bandwidth con­tent that would make my currently‐EDGE con­nec­tion choke. (What’s more, as a Lin­ux user — varoom! —much of what a the­o­ret­i­cal attack­er could do, out­side of MITM, isn’t real­ly a con­cern to me.)

1 thought on “Impressed, perplexed by Howard Johnson”

  1. Hur­ray Hojo! I have to say that it is def­i­nite­ly one of the most reli­able hotel‐provided wifi I have used.

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