Connection through Wireless Internet hotspots nationwide is easy to establish. We have a free Wi-Fi Locator of hotspots nationwide. Start with your wireless-enabled mobile device, which can include your laptop, camera, cell phone, notebook, and more. Manufacturers are getting creative with the types of devices they are wiring for internet access. These devices are equipped with an internal wireless adapter, or they have a USP port or PC card slot through which you can plug in your wireless card to facilitate a wireless connection. Sometimes you must also install specific drivers that allow your mobile device to pick up an internet connection.
The next step in getting a mobile broadband access is to subscribe to a wireless internet plan. Your DSL, cable or fiber optics provider often will allow you to get connected at hotspots for free as part of your subscription; or you can subscribe to a more enhanced wireless connection for a monthly fee. Whenever you are within proximity of a hotspot, your mobile device will be able to detect it when it is turned on. If you have an older computer, you may require sniffing software to detect these hotspots.
AT&T has a free USBConnect6 Velocity USB modem that facilitates your wireless access anytime you are near one of their 20,000 hotspots nationwide. This mode, which has a built-in GPS, can also be used with location-enabled web pages and available Apps.
Where are All the Hotspots, Anyway?
There are so many public venues today that offer free WiFi access, or access for a fee in some instances. Places like Starbucks, McDonalds, Panera, and other fast food and coffee chains all boast free WiFi to their patrons.
Libraries, airports, large book store chains like Borders and Barnes & Noble, and even business support retailers like FedEx Office. When your mobile device detects one of these hotspots, you will be provided directions on how to access the network.
How to Work Securely at Public Hotspots
While public WiFi access is very convenient, they are open networks, and they can be vulnerable to security breaches because data, including your passwords and email, is not encrypted. A couple of pointers:
- Disable your wireless adapter when you're not using it so that your mobile device doesn't automatically log into available hotspots without your knowledge
- Select "https" or other secure connection option in your email account
- Firewall -- don't leave home without it! Often, firewalls are part of your antivirus software. But if not -- make sure your firewall is activated while using a public hotspot
- For extremely sensitive data, utilize password protected cloud sites