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Chromebook Won’t Connect to Hotel Wi-Fi – What to Do

Posted by Arch on September 11, 2019
chromebook won't connect to hotel wifi

Are you having strange issues, not being able to connect to the Wi-Fi network in the hotel you’re staying at? You are not alone. Chromebooks can experience wireless connection issues, where the connection cuts out every few seconds or minutes. Sometimes, connection times out after different amounts of time, depending on which hotel you’re visiting.

Here’s what you can do to fix this frustrating problem.

Reload Wi-Fi

Sometimes, all apps and devices out there experience connectivity issues. It may sound trivial, but the solution to your problem may be as simple as turning Wi-Fi on and off. In the bottom right corner of your Chromebook, navigate to the status bar and click it. Now, go to Settings. In the Settings menu, scroll down until you see the Internet Connection heading. Disable the Wi-Fi connection using the appropriate button.

Do not turn the Wi-Fi on immediately. It is recommended that you shut down your Chromebook, leave it like that for 5-10 minutes, and turn it back on. Navigate back to the Settings page and turn the Wi-Fi Connection on.

chromebook

Reboot Router

You can always call the room service and ask them to reboot the router(s). This will only take a few minutes in total, which shouldn’t be a problem. However, if this doesn’t work, try resetting the router in your room. Most hotels feature Wi-Fi extenders in order to supply their guest rooms with better connection. These Wi-Fi extenders are essentially routers and, being routers, they can sometimes experience glitches.

Reset the router/extender in your room by unplugging it. Wait a few minutes before you plug it in and turn it on again.

Try Another Network

If none of the above solutions helped, you may be experiencing a more complex issue. Try signing into another network by navigating to the Connection Settings in the bottom right corner of your screen. If you don’t have any other network near the hotel in question, use your phone to make a hotspot. Once the hotspot is set up, try connecting your Chromebook to it, like you would with any other wireless network.

If this works, it probably means that your Chromebook won’t connect to the hotel wireless network for some reason. Most likely, this is due to the “Captive Portal” issue. Don’t worry, because a solution for this issue exists, although setting it up and using can be a bit frustrating.

The Captive Portal Issue

Some Chromebooks may experience issues with public Wi-Fi networks. It is as if the devices don’t trust the security of public networks, which can be pretty annoying.

Captive portals look like they’re “hijacking” your connection by redirecting you to their connection page. This is actually a good, solid security feature that many public places, such as airports, coffee shops, and hotel lobbies, offer. However, Chromebooks detect these redirects as security threats, causing them to prohibit you from connecting to your hotel’s Wi-Fi, or at least not allowing you to browse while connected to it. The portals that hotels tend to use redirect you from non-secure pages to the portal in question, every few seconds. Whenever redirected to this portal, your Chromebook perceives the redirection as a security threat, again prohibiting you from connecting to the wireless network. This is how most hotel Wi-Fi networks are set up and this is why this problem occurs.

So, if you’re browsing the internet using a hotel’s Wi-Fi, you’ll hit a secure web page (as most of them are) and your Chrome browser will display the dreaded “This site can’t be reached” message.

Try refreshing the page each time you are redirected back to the portal. For a brief moment, you’ll be able to see the webpage that you wanted to visit, up until you’re redirected to the hotel’s portal page again.

connect to hotel wifi

Luckily, there are Chrome extensions with the auto-refresh feature. You won’t have to know JavaScript to use these apps and you won’t need a terminal. Auto Refresh Plus is a good example of a Chrome extension that can solve this issue.

This extension works by reloading the portal URL. However, the extension does this every three seconds, regardless of whether you’ve been redirected to the portal or not.

Be prepared to manually clear a bunch of pop-up windows, too. This can be very unnerving but, again, it might solve the problem with a captive portal.

Powerwash

If none of the above methods seem to have worked, you might want to perform a powerwash, which essentially means performing a factory reset on your Chromebook. Before doing this, make sure that you’ve backed up everything that you need.

Once you’re certain that you want to perform a powerwash, navigate to the Settings menu on your Chromebook. Scroll down and select Advanced. In the Advanced section, you’ll see the Powerwash menu. Select Powerwash > Restart. In the box that pops up, select Powerwash > Continue. Now, follow the steps and perform the powerwash.

Back Online

Chromebooks are known for experiencing connectivity issues in hotels, but the fix is usually just a quick Wi-Fi reload and device restart. Of course, you should restart the router, just in case. If you’re experiencing the captive portal issue, a browser extension might be the solution. If the problem persists, perform a powerwash. Of course, you can always contact the Chromebook technical support.

Have you experienced this issue, too? Which hotel were you staying at? Have you managed to solve the problem? Feel free to talk about it in the comments section below.

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