Enjoy FlixBus using 3 simple tricks!

Enjoy FlixBus using 3 simple tricks!

For me as an IT guy there is one thing I need the most during trips: Internet connection! Unfortunately, FlixBus (German intercity bus company) doesn’t seem to be interested in the needs of people who actually use the bus wifi. They implemented some “security mechanisms” like usage limits or web filters.

There are some tricks that could make every trip more comfortable, even for non-nerds. In this short article I will try to explain them in a less technical manner, so that everybody can use those to upgrade his own FlixBus experience to the next level 🙂

Use every website you want!

Problem

Most of the FlixBus travellers might have noticed that a lot of websites or services don’t work. Especially those loading high amounts of data, such as YouTube, Netflix, and many others. The mechanism behind it are filters from the service provider which seem to have built-in rules that match for different pages.

Solution

A solution to that problem is using VPN (Virtual Private Network). Most universities allow you to enter the campus network via VPN. This connection can easily be used from the FlixBus wifi to bypass filtering mechanisms and access every website you want.

If you can’t use a university VPN you can use open VPN servers all around the world. You should really check out the open-source project SoftEther VPN (https://www.softether.org) which can be used to connect to a bunch of VPN providers.

TL;DR: Use your favorite VPN service to bypass annoying filtering.

Use as much data as you need!

Problem

If everybody in the bus uses YouTube and Netflix the mobile data bill from FlixBus will probably blow up. That’s why FlixBus grants every user a generous amount of 150MB (!!!) to use during your bus trip. Here, the implemented mechanism is pretty easy: FlixBus uses the unique hardware identifiers of the devices logged in to the wifi (called MAC) to find out which device used how much of its data volume.

data limit

Solution

The simplest way to “fix” that (even without technical know-how) is the so called MAC spoofing. The technique behind it is to manually change the MAC address saved in the network adapter. Instead of handling the different steps by ourselves we could use a wonderful tool named TMAC (also open-source!).

Just select “WLAN” in the “Network Connections” and generate a “Random MAC address”. By clicking “Change now!” you will have that new address and the FlixBus wifi will recognize you as a new device. This grants you fresh 150MB of data volume. You can repeat this as often as you want!

TL;DR: Change your MAC address and use more than lousy 150MB.

TMAC

 

Choose the right seat!

Problem

I tried almost all possible seats in a FlixBus and I can assure you that it highly influences your wifi connection and your overall comfort. Many people don’t think about this and end up smelling the toilet or having no wifi.

Solution

flixbus seating plan

Most busses have two floors. The lower one is pretty bad since there usually is a toilet which will smell disgusting. The upper floor has several good places. The area around the stairs is also bad because of toilet smells that rise up. The last few rows have a bad wifi connection as I had to experience. The router is often located somewhere under the first 4 rows.

To have a good wifi connection you should take one of the first 4 rows. Now the question is whether to sit on the right or left side. One answer could be to take the left side because in case of an accident the bus driver would try to steer himself (the left side) away from the danger. So it is more likely that the right side of the bus gets hit. The first row is definitely the most unsafe so you shouldn’t sit there, too. Finally, the best seat seems to be seat 5/6, 9/10 and 13/14 (see graphic above).

TL;DR: To avoid smelling the excretions of other people, having no wifi or dying in an accident choose seats 5/6, 9/10 or 13/14.

Disclaimer

I have not used any of the mentioned IT “hacks” and I’m not responsible for any damage people cause with the information presented here. Have a nice trip! 🙂

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