Whether you’re travelling or just trying to get out of the house a bit more, there’s one thing that plagues us everywhere we go: Wi-Fi. We may not have that cloud of Wi-Fi covering the planet yet, but you can find free Wi-Fi almost anywhere, if you know how to look. Here’s what you need to know.
Take Advantage Of Retail Chains
When you’re out and about, fast food joints, cafes and stores can be your best friend. The most obvious local players in this space are McDonald’s, Hungry Jack’s, Officeworks and IKEA. Many independent cafes also offer Wi-Fi, though you’ll often need a password and in those contexts you’ll more or less be expected to buy a coffee.
Use A Hotspot Database
Check That Your Hotel Offers Wi-Fi
Hotel chains vary hugely in what they offer (and perversely, the cheaper hotels are often much more generous when it comes to providing Wi-Fi services for free). Check when you book if the hotel offers internet services and how much they charge. This will often require a phone call or email, since many hotel information pages and booking sites don’t get into specifics (such as what you’ll pay). Another trap to look out for: some hotels only offer Ethernet cables, which can be a nuisance if you’re toting a MacBook Air or just want Wi-Fi for your tablet.
If you’re travelling domestically with any regularity, then getting a dongle or Wi-Fi hotspot will almost certainly prove cheaper than paying for even a couple of nights of in-room access. However, for overseas trips hotel access can be your best bet. One final tip: schedule your use if possible. Hotel internet often gets very slow around 8am and around 5pm, when lots of people return to their rooms. This is especially evident at hotels close to major conference venues.
Get Around Time Limits With MAC Spoofing
simple MAC address spoofing
Search For Hidden Networks
If you aren’t near a documented hotspot, that doesn’t mean you can’t sniff one out. We’ve shown you a number of apps that will help you find free, hidden Wi-Fi networks. Some obvious targets? Electronics retailers and premium airport lounges. With a little bit of searching, you can bring all the hidden hotspots out of the woodwork. Just don’t tell too many people, or they might start protecting their network.
Tether Your Phone
Photo by Paul Irish
Hack Into Protected Networks
shown you how to crack both WEPand WPA passwordsreallyknow how to protect yourself
With all of these tips, it’s very important to remember that when you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, you’re opening up a lot of your data to the world. So be sure you’re also doing everything you can to stay safe on public Wi-Fi networks. Got any of your own Wi-Fi hunting tips to share? Let us know in the comments.
Lifehacker Australia editor Angus Kidman can’t get enough of that free Wi-Fi, baby. His Road Worrier column, looking at technology and organising tips for travellers, appears each week on Lifehacker.