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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Finding Wifi Anywhere

I probably should have written this article before the holidays because that is often when you are in new locations and maybe need to find WIFI. The information is very helpful though, so it is still worth writing.

I like to listen to podcasts using my phone, so I learned, the expensive way, that if I am not on WiFi with my phone it is using the cell towers for connecting to the podcast. My cell plan (ATT) charges for a certain number of minutes of data. If I go over they automatically add more time and charge me for it. When I use WiFi it does not cost me anything. Although I could do anything on my phone even when not on WiFi, now I always try to connect to WiFi as often as possible. If you travel with a laptop you already may feel the need for WiFi.

Here are some suggestions from an article linked below:

1. Find a Chain Establishment
The article has a list of places that might be helpful for you. I usually look for a coffee shop. Almost all of them have free WiFi now and they have tea and other things, so you don't have to drink coffee.  There is one important thing to remember - connections at chain establishments are NOT secure. Everyone is using the same free wifi or the same password. Anyone in that place can connect to your computer.

The article suggests that when you use free WiFi you use VPN (virtual private network) for security.  It will allow you to use the free WiFi, but also to be protected. There is more explanation of VPN in the links below.

2. Use WiFi Hotspot Apps
There are several apps that will find WiFi hotspots for you. If you don't know where a public WiFi is you can download an app that will locate them for you. Wiffinity, Wifimapper, Facebook, and Wefi are described in this article.

3.  Go to a Public Shared Space
More and more of these are offering free WiFi. Think of public libraries, metro locations, museums, airports.

4.  Rent a travel WiFi device
You can look companies that do this up online. Some names in the article are RoamingMan, KeepGo, and Skyroam. There are many others. If you have an iPhone compare the cost with using your iPhone as a hotspot.If you use your iPhone it will drain the charge and use Data, but it may be good for some things.

5. Use your Internet Service Provider's (ISP) Hotspots
I looked up the AT&T hotspots from this article at!/wireless/KM1103818. They do not have a map of locations, but I know I have seen ATTWIFI when I have looked down the list of what networks were available near me. I never tried connecting, but It seems like a great thing! You will need to know your username and password in order to connect to them.

6. Sign Up for a Loyalty Program
Some hotels and stores charge for WiFi, but if you join their Loyalty program you can get WiFi as a benefit. Check it out.

wifi Kansas City7. Find WiFi in your city
Many cities are setting up free wifi in central locations. Here is a link to what they are doing in New York. The article also lists Seoul, South Korea; London UK; Paris, France and others. When you travel you can go to Google and type in the name of the city and Wifi and Google should find it if they have it. For example, I just learned that Kansas City has "smart" streetlights!

8.  Join a Community
The article talked about something called Instabridge. This is an app that will connect you to crowdsourced WiFi. These are WiFi services that are shared with the community. They are available to anyone who joins the Instabridge community. The app also allows you to "share your home WiFi with friends and family without giving out your password."

This article also mentioned some solutions which I decided apply more to the Geeks among us, so if you are one you may want to look at the article itself. I did not rewrite them here because I don't think they are particularly user-friendly.

How to find WiFi anywhere

Learn about VPN

How does VPN work on an iPhone