Wi-Fi at airports has got worse, says study

Good luck checking Facebook before you get on a plane - a new study from Thinkbroadband has found that Wi-Fi in London airports is worse than it was last year.

The fastest Wi-Fi in town is at Stansted Airport, which boastsdownload speeds of 6.4Mb. In 2015, however, those speeds were muchfaster at 8.1Mb… which still isn't exactly superfast, but far moreimpressive than 2016's speeds.

The biggest drop in speed was found in Luton Airport: while2015's recorded speed was 4.5Mb, these days it's a piddling 0.9Mb.That could be down to the fact that it extended its free Wi-Fi timefrom 90 minutes to four hours between Thinkbroadband's visits -more people are probably connected at any one time, hogging thebandwidth and dragging it down for everyone. Pesky flyers.

The only airport where reporters didn't see a drop in speed wasHeathrow, which has kept at a steady (and snail-paced) 1Mb allyear.

Slowest of all, however, is the Wi-Fi at Gatwick - 0.4Mb, downfrom 0.5 in 2015.

On the other hand, Heathrow and London City Airports both getpoints for not having a time limit on their free Wi-Fi. Once you'reconnected, you can stay online as long as you like.

Here are the speeds it recorded in London's airports, inSeptember 2015 and November 2016:

Airport 2015 speed 2016 speed Time you can use it for
Stansted 8.1Mb 6.4Mb 1 hour
London City 4.5Mb 2.7Mb Unlimited
Heathrow 1.0Mb 1.0Mb Unlimited
Luton 4.5Mb 0.9Mb 4 hours
Gatwick 0.5Mb 0.4Mb 1 hour 30 min

Thinkbroadband emphasises that these are the speeds you'll findon the general, free Wi-Fi service offered by each airport. Itdoesn't include faster, more premium tiers of broadband that youcan access by paying more, nor has it measured the speeds of Wi-Fioffered by shops and cafes in the airports.

Source: Thinkbroadband

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