Getting anything for free can be difficult but it is possible to get free WiFi relatively easily. But where can you get free WiFi exactly, and should you always use it?
What is WiFi?
WiFi or ‘wireless fidelity’ is how you connect to the internet without cables or a phone line. Radio signals transmit between a device like a mobile phone or laptop and your router creating a network. When connected to the internet data is sent from your device to a service or website and vice versa.
Where might I be able to find free WiFi?
Free public WiFi and hotspots most commonly found in places such as coffee shops, hotels or airports that allow you to connect to the internet (so you can surf the web and trawl social media without using your own phone data allowance). You are almost guaranteed to get free WiFi in places like McDonald’s, Starbucks and libraries. It’s now becoming more common to find free WiFi in shopping centres and popular city tourist attractions to encourage foot traffic into the area. But be warned, with several people using public WiFi at one time, your connection won’t be as good as your home broadband connection.
Is it safe to connect to free WiFi?
You’re on your way back from holiday, your flight’s delayed so it’s time to upload a few more pictures on to Instagram before you rejoin the rat race and sandy toes become a distant memory, we’ve all been there. But it’s worth noting there are some safety concerns you should be aware of. Although free WiFi is a useful service, the security of a public hotspot is often quite lax, putting you at risk of cybercriminals intercepting the connection between your device and the internet, accessing the webpages you’ve looked at, your login credentials and messages you have sent. When your using free public WiFi it’s best to avoid accessing websites that hold sensitive information such as online banking and always log out of an account when you’re finished using it.
Is WiFi always free?
When you connect to free WiFi, it isn’t actually free. It’s free to you use, yes, but it’s being paid for in some capacity. For example, when you get free WiFi in a coffee shop, you need to purchase something like a coffee.
Your WiFi at home is of course not free, but it can feel as good as free if you manage to get a good broadband deal. The easiest way to find the best broadband is to compare deals using a comparison engine like usave. You simply enter your postcode, select your filters and compare dozens of broadband deals
. When you find the perfect one, you might not bother using free WiFi at all and just wait till you’re in the comfort of your own home with a secure WiFi connection.
What is the alternative to free WiFi?
If you’re feeling extra cautious or can’t locate any free WiFi, there are some alternatives:
Most smartphones give you the ability to turn your own device into a WiFi hotspot, you just need to make sure you have a mobile data plan that allows for it. You’ll know if someone is using a personal hotspot by looking at your possible WiFi connections in a public space and someone’s phone is listed. It’s important if you do choose to use this method you secure your mobile hotspot with a difficult password to prevent other people connecting and using up all your data plan. What’s more, turning your phone into a mobile hotspot will drain your battery quicker so it’s probably best to catch up on Netflix when you get home.
A portable router is like your router at home, but you can take it with you. Instead of using your own data plan or rinsing someone’s personal hotspot, all tablets and mobile phones could be connected to one plan. It works by allowing several devices to connect to a data plan sim in a mobile router. This might also be handy if you’re in a hurry to connect to the internet or want a more secure connection as you won’t sharing the connection with several hotel guests for example.