Which airports in the U.S. and Canada have the fastest Wi-Fi? And is it worth the cost to upgrade to a Wi-Fi SSID that you have to pay for?
Ookla Speedtest dove into those questions in its newly released annual assessment of airport Wi-Fi offerings. The data is based on consumer-initiated Speedtest Intelligence data from 51 of the largest U.S. and Canadian airports, collected during the first and second quarters of 2019.
This year’s list covers twice the number of airports that Ookla had previously reported on, including the top performer: Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, where the mean download speed was 145.12 Mbps. That was more than 37% faster than the second-place finisher, Chicago Midway, which was also a new addition to the list.
Last year’s winner was Seattle, Washington’s Sea-Tac, which came in third this year. Sea-Tac’s mean download speed fell slightly — 4.4% — from last year, Ookla’s Isla McKetta, head of content, wrote in a blog post on the analysis. In fourth place was Nashville International Airport, and Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport took fifth place.
The slowest airport Wi-Fi was at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, with followed by Salt Lake City International Airport, Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport, Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Meyers, and Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport.
Ookla also analyzed data from five Canadian airport Wi-Fi networks. The fastest finisher among them was Calgary, which came in at 17 among all the airports tested. The company noted that Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport had the slowest airport Wi-Fi among Canadian airports — which was also the case last year — but its mean download speed jumped 154.4% since last year’s report.
The airport Wi-Fi was the fastest option at about half of the airports tested: 26 out of the 51 airports tested, McKetta wrote. At the other 25, the fastest SSID available was often in one of the airline lounges for frequent travelers.
Among Ookla’s findings:
-Among the 25 airports where non-airport Wi-Fi SSIDs were the fastest, Boingo’s SSIDs (either “Boingo Hotspot” or “PassPoint Secure”) were the fastest. McKenna noted that “at airports where we saw both the ‘Boingo Hotspot’ and ‘Passpoint Secure’ SSIDs, mean download speeds on the ‘Boingo Hotspot’ SSID were routinely faster.”
-The United Club was the fastest Wi-Fi at six other airports: Dulles International Airport, LAX, San Francisco, Chicago O’Hare, George Bush Intercontinental and Newark airports, where it offered mean download speeds “well above 100 Mbps,” Ookla found.
-In seven other airports, other airlines’ lounges had the fastest Wi-Fi available, including TWA offering the fastest Wi-Fi SSID at JFK, with a good 60 Mbps on its competitor airline lounges. The Alaska Lounge had the fastest Wi-Fi at Sea-Tac.
-Delta operates three separate SSIDs in Atlanta, and “DeltaSkyClub” had the fastest downloads at 111.89 Mbps, “Delta_Guest” came in second at 86.42 Mbps and “DeltaWiFi” at 28.65 Mbps.
Read the full details from Ookla Speedtest here.