Help Me Understand the Terrible WiFi at Logan

Are higher ed people less tolerant of bad WiFi - or is it just me?

June 26, 2016

Why is WiFi so terrible at Logan airport?

When I say terrible, I mean slow and limited.

The length of a free WiFi session at Logan is 45 minutes. The speed is advertised at 5MB. I’m not getting anything close to that.

Logan’s WiFi is provided through Boingo. I’m assuming that it is in Boingo’s interest to offer a crappy free WiFi experience so that we will shell out for their paid service. Never. A better option is probably tethering with your phone.

It seems to be in Logan’s (and every airports) interest to provide robust and free WiFi. The more time we spend in the airport the more food, books and mints that we buy in the airport stores. The airport authority - in Logan’s case Massport - gets a cut of all airport retail sales.

Does the quality of the WiFi influence which airport that we choose? Maybe not, but WiFi has moved from an amenity to a necessity. Having bad WiFi is like having dirty bathrooms. It changes your perspective of the place.

Could it be that higher ed people are more sensitive to bad WiFi? Our schools have invested serious resources to ensure fast and ubiquitous campus WiFi. There may be many things wrong with higher ed, but in my experience fast WiFi is not one of those things.

Whoever at Massport who made the deal with Boingo to provide the WiFi must have thought they were getting a great deal. Boingo handles the technology and the user support. I don’t know the financial arrangement, but I bet that Massport gets a cut of the Boingo WiFi up-sell.

I hope that Massport reconsiders their Boingo arrangement when the contract is up. Whatever short term financial Massport gets with Boingo are swamped by the loss of brand trust (and reputation) from having crappy Logan WiFi. I assume that the people who manage Logan airport care about the experience of 33.5 million passengers that come through its doors.

How is the WiFi at the airport that you use the most?

What airports have the best (and the worst) WiFi?

Is it really fair to compare access to good WiFi as akin to access to clean bathrooms (or reasonable food options?).

Is this a total “first world problem” - or is it legitimate to (publicly) complain about bad WiFi at airports, hotels, and conference centers?



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