The Airports In North America With The Fastest (And Slowest) Free Wi-Fi

If you’re hanging around an airport for hours on end, having fast Wi-Fi is a beautiful thing. But we all know that some airports have what seems like lightning-fast Wi-Fi, and others, well, not so much. Here’s how airports in the U.S. and Canada measured up.

Speedtest, which is owned by PCMag’s parent company, J2 Global, has been ranking the speed of free airport-provided Wi-Fi since 2017. They’ve tested more and more airports every year and for the testing period that was the first two quarters of 2019, they were able to look at the Wi-Fi speeds of 51 of the largest airports in the U.S. and Canada (as a comparison, they tested 20 airports, all in the U.S., in 2017).

To determine speed, they study the mean download and upload speeds over each airport’s Wi-Fi SSID. Here’s what they found:

The Fastest

1. Honolulu (HNL)
2. Chicago Midway (MDW)
3. Seattle-Tacoma (SEA)
4. Nashville (BNA)
5. Phoenix (PHX)

The Slowest

1. Louis Armstrong New Orleans (MSY)
2. Salt Lake City (SLC)
3. Houston Hobby (HOU)
4. Fort Myers (RSW)
5. San Jose (SJC)

Speedtest noted that over time, the number of airports with slower speeds (they used 10 Mbps) as a benchmark) has fallen. Click here for a chart of the full rankings.

Speedtest also looked at the speeds of alternate Wi-Fi providers, to see, not only what their mean download speed was, but also how they compared to the free airport SSID. Access to some of these SSIDs may require memberships or paid day passes, but if you have the speed information, especially in comparison to the free Wi-Fi, it may help you decide whether or not to pay to get that particular internet access.

The Fastest

1. Austin-Bergstrom (AUS) – Boingo Hotspot
2. Baltimore-Washington (BWI) – Boingo Hotspot
3. Calgary (YYC) – YYC-Free-WiFi
4. Charlotte Douglas (CLT) – CLT Free WiFi
5. Chicago Midway (MDW) – _Free-MDW_Wi-Fi

The Fastest In Comparison To Airport Provided Free Wi-Fi

1. George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) – united_club is 1117.8% faster
2. Salt Lake City (SLC) – DeltaSkyClub is 699.1% faster
3. Louis Armstrong (MSY) – #MSY-Free_Wifi is 3378.6% faster
4. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood – MedallionNet is 237.5% faster
5. John F. Kennedy (JFK) – TWA is 221.5% faster

Click here for a chart of the full rankings, as well as more of Speedtest’s discussion points of their annual survey.

A word of caution

Any time you use the free Wi-Fi provided by an airport (or a lounge, restaurant, etc.), or even paid Wi-Fi service, you run the risk of someone hacking into your computer. Make sure you use a VPN so no one can electrically grab your email or banking information, passwords, etc.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

 

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