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Find free wireless hotspots around the UK

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Find free wireless hotspots around the UK

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Freebies (no spend required)
30 replies 42.7K views
Former_MSE_LawrenceFormer_MSE_Lawrence Researcher
976 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Freebies (no spend required)
What's the deal?

If you've bought a laptop recently, chances are it'll have built-in Wireless LAN capabilities. What this basically means is that it'll allow you to surf the net via a wireless network adaptor or router, and you needn't plug any cables in to get online.

Wireless networking has taken off in a huge way in the UK; there are now more wireless "hotspots" here than in any other European country. Sadly, in many places wireless access comes at a premium rate; the services offered at Starbucks and Costa coffee cost an exorbitant £5.50 and £6 per hour respectively- a good deal more than you'd pay in an internet cafe.

Some have side-stepped this expense by logging themselves onto just any wireless networks that they can get near, but this can take a bit of expertise, and more importantly, it's legally dodgy.

However, there are more and more completely free wireless hotspots springing up around the country, and free website directories which find and review them. Currently, the three best sites for locating free hotspots are:
Just search for your area on these sites and see what they come up with. These directories may prove invaluable to business travellers, as well as those just looking to take in some nice scenery while checking emails.

Anything else I should know?

To make use of wireless hotspots you'll need to make sure that your laptop is equipped with either in-built wireless support, or a wireless PCMCIA card. It may also be worthwhile to use an antenna if you consistently find low signal strength.

You should be careful with secure information when using public networks; don't give out your credit/debit card details or any other sensitive info. And definitely don't leave your equipment alone at any time.

The sites above (particularly Jiwire) are also useful for reviews and info about going wireless. If you have any further information about getting wireless internet access for free then please click reply and post below.
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  • BrowntoaBrowntoa Forumite, Board Guide
    45.9K posts
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    it's worth doing the following if you are accessing wireless hotspots

    http://www.microsoft.com/atwork/stayconnected/hotspots.mspx

    Stay Secure When Using Your Mobile PC in Public Hotspots

    Hotspots in public places usually don't provide any type of security. It's your responsibility to take the necessary precautions to ensure a safe connection to your corporate network or to the Internet. Here are some steps you can take.

    Install a firewall. A firewall helps protect your mobile PC by preventing unauthorized users from gaining access to your computer through the Internet or a network. It acts as a barrier that checks any information coming from the Internet or a network, and then either blocks the information or allows it to pass through to your computer. Microsoft Windows XP includes a firewall that you simply need to turn on. If you're running Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Firewall is turned on by default for all network and Internet connections.


    Disable file and printer sharing: File and printer sharing is a feature that enables other computers on a network to access resources on your computer. When using your mobile PC in a hotspot, it's best to disable file and printer sharing because when enabled, it leaves your computer vulnerable to hackers. Remember, though, to turn this feature back on when you return to the office.

    To disable file and printer sharing:

    1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.

    2.In Control Panel, click Security Center.

    3.In the Security Center window, click Windows Firewall.

    4.In the Windows Firewall dialog box, click the Exceptions tab.

    5.On the Exceptions tab, under Programs and Services, clear the File and Printer Sharing check box and then click OK.

    Make your folders private.
    When the folders on your mobile PC are private, it's more difficult for hackers to access your files.

    To make a folder private:

    1.Click Start, and then click My Computer.

    2.In the My Computer window, double-click the drive where Windows is installed, and then double-click Documents and Settings.

    3.Double-click your user folder, right-click the folder that you want to make private, and then click Properties.

    4.In the Properties dialog box, on the Sharing tab, click Do not share this folder, and then click OK.

    5.Repeat the steps above for each folder that you want to make private.
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  • Was recently in Bristol airport few weeks back and had laptop and found a good few wireless connections, most you had to pay for but one was free.

    Connected to this and it looked like everything was fine until i tried to go on the www. It was connected yet would let me on the internet:confused: Really only wireless connection ive tried outside my home.
  • In general terms - You may have connected to 'freeband' but all you know is that you have connected to a non-encrypted access point.

    This may or may not be connected to the internet, it may or may not be a private or commercially owned unit. Chances are that you connected to a private access point where the broadband is down, or you could have connected to a company LAN.

    I'm not sure how the UK stands on illegal connection now, but I recall a fairly recent case of a chap who was fined £500 or so for using someone's wireless connection whilst parked up in his car.

    Does anyone know the up to date scene with this?
  • johnydeath wrote:
    In general terms - You may have connected to 'freeband' but all you know is that you have connected to a non-encrypted access point.

    This may or may not be connected to the internet, it may or may not be a private or commercially owned unit. Chances are that you connected to a private access point where the broadband is down, or you could have connected to a company LAN.

    I'm not sure how the UK stands on illegal connection now, but I recall a fairly recent case of a chap who was fined £500 or so for using someone's wireless connection whilst parked up in his car.

    Does anyone know the up to date scene with this?

    500 was really harsh :eek:
  • I was recently in my local wetherspoons establishment and messing around with my mobile phone. I discovered they do have Wifi in the pub. On my next visit their magazine says that you can get a voucher or code from the bar for half an hour free access to their WiFi. Ideal if you are on your travels ratther than pay the fees at service stations. Also if you log onto their website https://www.jdwetherspoons.co.uk you can even download the TomTom point of interest file to get you there.:T
    :j
  • tr3mortr3mor Forumite
    2.3K posts
    spoons is cool - every time you buy a drink or food you get a voucher valid for 1/2 an hour - so spread out your visits to the bar half hourly and free wireless all day! :D
  • can you save the Weatherspoons vouchers for use at another time - for example if you go for a meal with family on Wednesday night and get 6 vouchers.... can you use 3 hours on a dull friday afternoon when you don't fancy going back to the office?

    Are the vouchers unique to that pub? Reason I ask is the broadband/modem is housed in those "quiz machines" you see in the pub so if its the same brand of machine somewhere else will that work?
  • johnydeath wrote:
    I'm not sure how the UK stands on illegal connection now, but I recall a fairly recent case of a chap who was fined £500 or so for using someone's wireless connection whilst parked up in his car.

    BBC NEWS - Wireless hijacking under scrutiny

    This guy had consistently gone out of his way to "steal" the connection, i.e. he parked up in the car on a number of occasions to specifically steal the connection.

    Really it's still a grey area - but basically it's not a good idea to pinch your neighbours bandwidth. It's very different for access points that have been set up up with the full intent of sharing such as those done with FON. Here the problem is whether your contract with your internet provider allows for it to be shared.....!
  • TKP_3TKP_3 Forumite
    522 posts
    Shannon airport (Ireland) has free wireless hotspot
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  • nearlyrichnearlyrich Forumite
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    Hung up my suit! Mortgage-free Glee! I'm a Volunteer Board Guide
    If you get your BB from BT you get some free minutes each month for Openzone access, I tried mine out last week when I was staying in a hotel and it worked just fine. My (work) life is so much easier with access to the Internet on the move and the sooner we have Wimax everywhere the better.
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