Friday, August 3, 2012

10 Great Spots to Find a WiFi Hot Spot

As prices continue to drop on E-readers, tablets, iPhones, and other electronic devices that allow people to access the internet with more ease than a traditional laptop or computer, more and more people are buying them.  The influx in people owning these devices creates a need for places where you can use them, however many places don’t offer free WiFi.  And while you could buy the devices that allow you to access the Internet, they can end up being pretty costly.  So now that you have your new tablet how do you find out who offers free WiFi hot spots?  Check out the following 10 great spots to find a WiFi Hot Spot.
  1. This is a great site.  It breaks down the search for WiFi into easy searches such as restaurants and retails establishments versus hotels and other types of businesses.  They will even tell you which sites will require that you create a “free” login in order to access the WiFi.  Are you traveling to Europe?  You can use this site to find Hot Spots in Europe as well.
  2. Traveling in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Asia, or the Middle East?  This site is sponsored by and can find Hot Spots in these countries and many more.  This site also offers stories about new technology in regards to electronic devices, wireless transfers, and more.
  3. I would recommend this site for world travelers.  You start with a map of the world and you can click on whatever country you are traveling to.  However, once you click on that country, or state as the case may be, then you have to keep clicking and narrowing your search down until finally you get a map of either blue or green bubbles.  The blue bubbles represent those Hot Spots where you have to pay to access the Internet and the green bubbles are the free Hot Spots.  You have to pass your mouse over the bubbles in order to see where they are.  A word of warning: if you have several bubbles in the same area it can be difficult to get the correct bubble to come up.  Not very user friendly, but it would work in a pinch.
  4.  A very different site, but still useful for those that travel and need to be able to use their laptops or tablets on the go.  Boingo offers a paid service to provide Hot Spots worldwide and now even on airplanes.  It’s inexpensive compared to a portable 3G device.  Once you are a member you can use the service and search on the site for free for Boingo Hot Spots worldwide.
  5. This is a very user-friendly site, but it’s limited in the Hot Spots it has.  If you are going to be in a major city like Dallas you can pull up a list of Hot Spots as long as your arm, however if you are in a suburb outside of the city it may come up empty.  I would not recommend this site to those in small cities.
  6. AT&T sponsors many of the free hot spots and therefore it makes sense that they would have a good listing.  It’s a search tool that is easy to use.  Simply type in your zip code or city and state and it will pull up the free WiFi hot spots.  These may just be the AT&T hot spots, but still a useful tool.
  7. More labor intensive than others, this tool requires you to download a program to search for WiFi Hot Spots.  Just be aware that the database is not very complete when you’re using it.  The nice thing about the program is that you can download it to your device and it will automatically connect you to a free WiFi Hot Spot that has the strongest signal.  This saves you a step, but it also doesn’t allow you to check out the site before you connect to it.
  8. The WiFi hot spot list is very user friendly.  All you have to do is type in your zip code and it will pull up in writing where the free hot spot is and what the address is.  It also will tell you what network it is.  Their list however is far from complete.  Other sites offer a map of the area so you can get right to it.  If you are local and know where the streets are or if you can program the address into your GPS you are golden, but if you are in new area and aren’t using a GPS then the sites with the map might be a better choice for you.
  9. Hotspotr is a great site and very easy to use.  Type in your zip code and it will pull up a map with all of the hot spots marked.  The lists are generally very comprehensive.  It’s very easy to follow and as you roll your mouse over each point it will tell you where it is.  A great choice for finding a hot spot in your area.
  10. T-Mobile is all about 3G with their phones now, but they also offer a service you can pay for that will give you WiFi in many places around the country and the world.  The price tag isn’t too bad and it allows you to access a lot of Hot Spots in cafes and airports around the country.  Definitely worth checking into if you have a T-mobile phone anyway or even if you are just looking for an additional service to help you get connected.

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