Searching hotspots

Where can one find Wi-Fi access while travelling?
Hotspots spring up everywhere, says the press. But not every Wi-Fi-equipped place advertise its service.

So if you’re looking for hotspots, one of the first thing to do, is to visit the Web: some Websites offer database of the various Wi-FI accesses in the world: but these sites would have to be constantly adjourned and not all establishment providing Wi-Fi bother to keep them informed.
JiWire , or Wi-Fi Zone , Hotspot Haven (this one gives price, reviews, ratings, etc.), or NodeDB are just a few among the international ones: they let you search by address and sometimes also by category (free, hotel, airport, café, etc.) But they don’t cover every area in every country.

But what if you have forgotten to surf the Net and need access right here right now?
You can rely on international chains such as Starbucks or Mc Donald (provided they are among those which have already been Wi-Fi-equipped), but it might be worth pushing the door of non-chain coffee shops or restaurant located a few steps away from StarB: some have chosen to offer cheaper or free access to attract clients. Many university campuses, bookstores or libraries offer free Wi-Fi too.

Keep an eye open for traces of Warchalking too. These symbols on sidewalks and walls indicate nearby wireless access, allowing other computer users to connect to the Internet wirelessly.

No-hassle tools to search for hotspot are wi-fi detectors:
– the Kensington WiFi Finder is about the size of a credit card, it detects most WiFi networks with the press of a button and filters out other wireless signals.
WFS-1 from Smart ID is about the same size.
– key-chain size Chrysalis wifi seeker locates Wi-Fi Hot Spots and determines signal strength level too.
But these devices lack the ability to distinguish between closed and open networks, and a display to show what network SSIDs (the Wi-Fi network name) were found, not just that there is a signal (read Wifinetnews for more details).

So if you are looking for wi-fi node, there is only one sure way to find it: open your laptop and tour the city.