HOWTO: Get broadband internet access in a Mumbai hotel

I’m back in Mumbai for the second time in a week. The wedding was fantastic and I’ll write that up later when I’ve got all the photos uploaded and spent some time documenting the whole experience that has been this visit to India. But in the meantime, here’s an anecdotal story about my efforts to get online.

I’m staying at the Best Western in Mumbai. It’s recently had broadband and ethernet fitted so guests can use their laptops, replacing the older dialup sockets in many other hotels. Last time I was here, I used the business centre for a while, then moved room to get one with broadband ethernet internet access, then used the business centre when the connectivity did not work. This time, I was prepared to spend a few hours with tcpdump, arp and a bunch of other tools figuring out how the networking kit was broken. Here’s how to get broadband in this hotel:

  • Buy a 24 hour access card
  • Connect the laptop, notice it immediately gets a lease via DHCP both in Linux and also using OS X
  • Try accessing the gateway ( without any luck.
  • Run tcpdump and see arp queries flying around the network, without replies. Figure out they’ve got broken switches.
  • Generate arp traffic to other hosts, find one that will tell you the address of the gateway box (00:D0:09:65:AB:07).
  • Manually add the entry into your arp table (arp -s 00:d0:09:65:AB:07).
  • Get online.

So, there you go. Something else they don’t teach you in school.


One Response to “HOWTO: Get broadband internet access in a Mumbai hotel”

  1. Alex Mace says:

    I’m very jealous – I was in India about a year ago, and the experience was mind-blowing. Slightly surprising that one of my hotels in a third world country had ADSL when I couldn’t get it at home though.

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