Troubleshooting: StayOnline Connections

While staying at a hotel, I had trouble connecting to https web sites.  Basically, I couldn’t log into anything: email, blogging, etc.  The hotel where I was staying had a company called StayOnline managing their network.

First, figuring out what network to connect to was rather confusing.  The card in the room said to connect to the SSID called “stayonline”.  But, that network did not exist.  Instead the right one was called “etwireless”.  When I called the support line, they answered LodgeNet.

Here is what I noticed:

  • I could connect to any website that did not use SSL — “http” only
  • If I rebooted to Windows, I had no problems.
  • In Fedora 9, when I went to any “https” it would just sit and spin.  The connection would eventually time out.

The solution is to disable TCP Window Scaling.  Run this command as root:

echo 0 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_window_scaling

I found this information from this post:

SSL Problems with StayOnline Hotel Internet Providers

The post mentions that they did not support Linux.  I have to give them credit.  When I told them that I have Linux, they did not turn me away.  I was a little perterbed that they did not know the solution.  This post has been out there since February.  It would be even nicer if they could fix the problem so that Linux user’s don’t have to worry about it.

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