20 best U.S. airports for tech travelers

Looking for a place where you can get things done -- or be entertained -- while waiting for a flight?

By Mark Sullivan , PC World |  Networking, wifi

The Wi-Fi service at SLC is free, and it's faster than the 40-airport average. In our tests, the Salt Lake City airport's average Wi-Fi speed was around 2 mbps for downloads airport-wide, and 2.2 mbps for uploads. As for the cellular service, Verizon LTE pumped out average download speeds of 4.3 mbps, while Sprint averaged 2.2 mbps, and AT&T and T-Mobile each averaged 1.3 mbps.

#9 Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)

BWI bills itself as the "easy come, easy go" airport, since it offers a relatively stress-free commute for laptop and smartphone users who live in the District of Columbia, Maryland, or Virginia.

Baltimore-Washington Airport averages more than 7.3 outlets per gate; and many of the gates feature comfortable seats and work stations, with access to power outlets and USB ports. These come courtesy of Southwest, which operates in 26 gates in the A and B terminals, accounting for 70% of traffic through the airport.

But BWI's greatest strength is its Wi-Fi service. We measured an average download speed of 6.5 mbps and an average upload speed of 2.5 mbps in our tests throughout the airport's five concourses; those numbers make BWI's Wi-Fi service the fifth-fastest among major U.S. airports. The airport currently offers a fee-based service, but like many other airports, it is looking into the possibility of introducing a free service sometime next year.

Cellular service at Baltimore-Washington wasn't bad either. In our tests, the average download speeds for the four major carriers were 4 mbps for Verizon, 3.22 mbps for AT&T, 3 mbps for T-Mobile, and 1.76 mbps for Sprint.

#10 San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Competing with Oakland International and San Jose International to serve perhaps the most tech-savvy market in the country, San Francisco International Airport must contend with travelers' high expectations regarding tech amenities. For the most part, it delivers. The airport averages 13.6 outlets per gate, by far the most in the United States for such a large airport.

SFO has some older terminal buildings, but the spanking new Terminal 2--home base for Virgin America--may represent the future of air travel. T2 is simple, clean, and spacious, with a distinctly high-tech ambience: It looks and feels like Silicon Valley.

Virgin America played a major role in designing the terminal, right down to the signature mood lighting that Virgin America uses at its ticket counters and gates. The interior is filled with cool lounge areas and tastefully appointed gates that make you feel as if you're in someone's living room. Even more important, the place is loaded with electrical outlets and spacious desktops. We counted almost 400 outlets and 144 workspaces in T2 alone.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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