Sunday, 2 November 2008

#54 – Finding free wireless internet in airports

Or sneakily hunting for unsecured networks.

Attitudes to internet access
Airports all over the world have remarkably different attitudes towards internet access. Some are great, and provide free wireless access for all. At the other end of the scale, there are Scrooge-like luddites with a couple of violently expensive computer terminals that have to be operated by coin and are disgracefully slow.
Let’s put it this way, if your only option is to pour money into a box operated by Spectrum Interactive, don’t bother.

Expensive wi-fi connection
The mildly unhappy medium at most airports seems to be a couple of paid-for terminals, plus an expensive wi-fi connection that anyone can access, providing that they’re prepared to dig out their credit card. Prices vary wildly, but sometimes this can be outrageously costly.

Security settings
When this is the case, it’s sometimes an idea to get a bit sneaky. Many shops, bars and restaurants within the airport have their own wireless networks. And sometimes they’re stupid enough to not put any security settings on them.
It’s always worth having a look at the list of available networks and checking out if any are unsecured. If one is, trying clicking on it – you may well get free wireless access.

Greetings from Panama
This post, by the way, was written and uploaded courtesy of the lovely chaps at the Lacoste shop in Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport. Very good of them to leave their private network unsecured.

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