60. Use the Web to Locate Hotspots
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
About Wireless Hotspots
You can use the Web to locate WiFi hotspots in your area. Doing some research online before you leave home negates the necessity of driving around trying to connect to hotspots that might or might not exist. It also clues you in to the "public" hotspots that are available rather than the hotspots that are unprotected private WiFi networks. Hotspots provided by coffee houses, hotels, and other businesses are designed to handle many connections on their networks. Unprotected private WiFi networks are open to possible connection only because the network hasn't been secured by the network administrator. Public hotspots expect you to connect; unsecured private networks don't expect you to connect (and you shouldn't connect to unsecured private networks that you detect; doing so is unethical and, in some cases, might be illegal).
Because resource pages that list hotspots seem to come and go on the Web, it makes sense to do a periodic search using your favorite search engine to locate the most up-to-date lists of hotspots in your area or in an area you will be visiting or traveling through.
Use the Web to Locate Hotspots
Search for WiFi Hotspots
Open your Web browser and navigate to your favorite search page. Enter the search term WiFi hotspots and run the search.
Select Hotspot List Link
A number of results will be listed when you conduct the search. Click one of the links to access that resource. For example, I might choose the search result for http://www.wififreespot.com/.
Choose a State
Most websites that provide a listing of WiFi hotspots will allow you to view hotspots by state or might provide a search engine that allows you to search by state and town. In the case of the www.wififreespot.com site, I click a particular state in the state list provided.
Access Local Hotspot List
The local hotspot list for the selected state is typically listed by city. For example, I can scroll down the list of hotspots in the state of Maine and view the hotspots in my town of Portland, ME. Unfortunately, most hotspot listings provide only the location of the hotspot and typically do not include information about the hotspot itself (such as whether the WiFi connection is secured and whether the connection is free or requires payment or a subscription).
If you don't feel that the website has provided a complete list or you want to look at other possibilities, use your browser's Back button to return to your original search list and start the process again.