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  1. #1

    Default Free WiFi access.

    I'm a Londoner, about to head to Calgary for a two month road-trip down the West Coast to Los Angeles.

    I'm struggling to find basic info on WiFi access in the States. I've heard things about WiFI in the States being tricky.

    In the U.K. if you have a laptop (in my case a Mac), a web browser and know the right (free access) spots, you can turn up, surf, send and receive e-mail (using your existing mail programme) and enjoy an overpriced beverage in the process.

    I'm not too fussed about regular access, I'd just like once a week or so, to be able to check my e-mail, blog some things and surf the internet for local knowledge... Is it as simple in the States as it is in the U.K.?

    Any info would be greatly appreciated. I'm basically looking for an Idiot's (read - 'Foreigner's') guide to WiFi in the States!

  2. #2

    Default There's quite a bit of wi-fi around.. but spotty

    There are several places you can usually find "free" wi-fi

    Any Starbucks coffee has wi fi. Pretty much 90% of coffee shops have wi fi for the use of their customers. (I think they figure you'll hang out and buy more of their overpriced coffee if you're waiting for downloads...)

    Many (most) public libraries have it, as well as university libraries. Not all though -- some have public terminals connected to the internet instead.

    A lot of hotels do now -- sometimes you have to call the desk to have them activate a password for you, or tell you the password for free use. A bunch don't have wifi, but free high speed plug in internet. The low end hotels still might not have this, but for those which have a "business center", then its close to 100% I'd guess. (They also have a fax machine and a printer, although they may charge per page.) For those, you have to go either use their free public terminal, or bring your laptop down to plug in.

    Many truck stops on the interstate have this, for long haul truckers to check their email and get routings and jobs from their company.

    Lastly, there are several services available through the nation wide phone companies which offer high speed wireless just about anywhere in cell phone range. These are not free, but unlimited usage is like $80 a month, plus the connection card.

    So in general, I'd say its about the same as in the UK. You have a bit more densely populated urban environments than in the US. In general, you'll find lots of opportunities for "Free" wifi in the cities -- but out in the country, somewhat less. But if as you say you're used to having an "overpriced beverage" while your download completes -- it really does sound the same.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks Larrison. A great help.

    Looks like I should factor a 'caffeine' allowance into my trip budget.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    9,523

    Default Here are some more resources

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesDouble View Post
    I'm basically looking for an Idiot's (read - 'Foreigner's') guide to WiFi in the States!
    Most of us use some form of Wi-Fi every day. Here are a couple of field reports that you ought to read...

    The Texan approach (but still has some good info for you)

    West-coast based Del Albright's report.

    Mark

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Toronto, ON Canada
    Posts
    82

    Default Wi-Fi Hotspot Locator

    Here is a site which will help you locate Wi-Fi hotspots. If you know your route you can find all the place along your route which offer Wi-Fi. Or simply find a Wi-Fi hotspot for your next stop.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by jacksonjohn83; 03-06-2008 at 07:13 AM. Reason: Trying to fix the link, no luck though...

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