Road Worrier Tests Free Internet At Sydney Airport

Hanging around waiting is a common feature of airports, so a free Wi-Fi service is always welcome. I've just tested out the new Tomizone-powered and Optus-sponsored service at Sydney Airport T2, and I'm pleasantly surprised by how speedy it was.

With the important exception of Adelaide (which has an airport-wide free service courtesy of Internode), generally the only way to get free Internet at an Australian airport is to go into one of the airport lounges. While it's sometimes possible to hang around outside a lounge and hook onto the same network, that isn't always easy: Qantas lounges are often located on an upstairs level, and Virgin Blue lounges are often landside rather than past security.

Sydney's T2 terminal (which handles Virgin Blue, Qantaslink, Rex and Aeropelican) now has a free Wi-Fi service provided by Tomizone, and currently sponsored by Optus. It's not clear how long the option will be in place for, so I figured it was worth heading to T2 for a quick speed and usability test on the service.

Logging on is pretty straightforward: you're asked to provide flight details and a reason for travel, but you can in fact select 'Not flying' for all those options. After a brief Optus-promoting ad (no video, just an image), you can surf to wherever you like. The service was accessible in both wings of the T2 terminal, as well as the food court, and stayed connected on my iPod and BlackBerry when I walked from one end to the other.

The Speedtest.net results were impressive, and indeed slightly odd: the upload speed was reported as higher than the download speed. In practice, it was entirely possible to watch YouTube videos, download mail and access other services: the only obvious restriction was blocking on some adult sites, which is pretty standard behaviour on free public Wi-Fi services.

Those speeds might of course vary as the airport gets more crowded, though even before lunchtime on a Wednesday, T2 seemed relatively busy. For in-transit travellers or perennial early-at-the-airport types, it's definitely a handy option. Here's hoping Optus (or one of its rivals) decides to sponsor a similar scheme through Tomizone at other airports across Australia.

Lifehacker Australia editor Angus Kidman seems to be making a habit of mid-week public Wi-Fi tests in Sydney. His Road Worrier column, looking at technology and organising tips for travellers, appears each week on Lifehacker.


Comments

    I was at Sydney airport a few weeks ago and if I remember correctly, after logging in you are asked to accept the terms of service, without being given the option of actually reading their terms of service. I want to at least pretend that I read TOS and EULA information before agreeing to it.

    Angus, I'm not sure if it's still available, but for some years there's been "Free Internode" at Newcastle Airport.

    It's is/was(?) free web access for everybody, and Internode customers who log in can access the non-web internet.

    I was at T3 in late January and I could get an IP but couldn't access the login page on my laptop or iPhone, neither could anyone else. Was pretty disappointed.

    Regardless it's a good step for Australia to have free wireless at an airport.

    Does anyone know if there is free WiFi in Sydney International? Is it any good?

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