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Starwood Hotels ISP Monitors Your Net Traffic

Here I am in high tech Seattle in the very swanky W celebrating my one year anniversary with Helene in my life and it appears I'm having my Internet traffic monitored.

It seems the hotel's service provider LodgeNet has a firewall that looks for certain type of traffic and then slows you down to 56K (i.e you get to pay $15.00 for dial up) for ten minutes if you do something it doesn't like. Well when it happened the first time I called their support team and was assured my room would be white listed after explaining what had transpired.

When it happened a second time my call to support triggered a reply from the service tech who said it must be something with the registration page because I was locked off the system. For $15.95 a day I don't expect that to happen to me, especially when I pay the extra dollar for a Real IP address (read advanced user with need to do more than just surf the web).

Basically what LodgeNet appears to be doing is running two sets of IP's on their hotel router, one with shared IP and another which gives me a real IP address (better for Skype, Gizmo Project, SoftGnome) and for things I like to do. Also I'm playing around with BlogBridge a Java based blog reader that is super cool. Perhaps their router/server doesn't like Java very much.

What's upsetting though is that my traffic seems to be monitored and when I do something their firewall's rules don't like--like clicking twice on a slow servers link the system barfs and cuts me off.

I've asked the hotel to comment on their approach to monitoring my traffic but they've yet to comment. So while I know how to work around that sorta stuff (using HotSpotVPN2) i rarely like to go that route.

I'll keep the crowd posted on this as it ties into something I've been talking to a publisher about regarding Internet access in hotels.

P.S. This experience with the Internet doesn't reflect on the W in my opinion. We have been enjoying the rest of the experience.