If you travel a lot for work, chances are good that your notebook PC is
equipped with a wireless adapter. So it's understandable that you hate
the thought of being tethered to a wired Internet connection —
especially a dialup one. Follow these tips if you find yourself away
from home and looking for a wireless connection.
By Ron Pacchiano
Locating WiFi hotspots Considering how much quicker
broadband is compared to
dial-up, your desire for wireless access
while on the road is understandable. Fortunately, more and more areas
are setting up public
hotspots, so taking advantage of wireless conductivity is getting
easier by the day.
You can find many in coffee houses,
hotels and even public libraries. Online resources such as
Hotspot List, WiFinder and
Zone Finder are the closest
things I've seen to anything that resembles a centralized WiFi hotspot
database. Just put in the city and state that you're located in and it
will give you a list of all the registered hotspots in the area. This is
not foolproof, though, and there is always the possibility that even if it
indicates that there are no hotspots in your area, more than likely
there are. They just might be a bit harder to find.
The simplest way to locate these
networks is to just ask people local
to the area. The hotel manager is usually a good place to start. I'd
even recommend asking some of your clients. Who would know the area
better then the people who live and work there? You might even be able
to do a Google search for the particular city your visiting and that
might possibly produce some additional listing.
Key Terms To
Understanding Wireless Networks
Short for wireless fidelity and is meant to be used generically when
referring of any type of 802.11 network, whether 802.11b, 802.11a,
dual-band, etc. The term is promulgated by the Wi-Fi Alliance.
A specific geographic location in which an access point provides
public wireless broadband network services to mobile visitors
through a WLAN.
A type of data transmission in which a single medium (wire) can
carry several channels at once.
you can use to assist in your search for wireless conductivity
is to use an inexpensive WiFi finder (like the Kensington WiFi
Finder) to detect and confirm the presence of Wi-Fi radio
signals. This device is about the size of a car remote and can
be clipped to a key chain for convenient access. When activated,
they search for
802.11b wireless transmissions. It will
automatically generate a signal to let you know when one has
devices are far quicker and more convenient to use than
booting up your
notebook and starting an application like NetStumbler just to confirm whether an active Wi-Fi connection is
available. Prices for these devices start at about $30. Once you
locate a hotspot, though, you may need to use detection
on your PC anyway to distinguish if the wireless network you
found is public or private.
Also, you should keep in mind that "public" doesn't
necessarily mean free. Many Wi-Fi hotspots charge a connection
fee, as do WiFi subscription services such as those offered by
some mobile phone providers. With thousands of new Wi-Fi hotspots
coming online every year, you should be able to locate one in
the area you're visiting without too much difficulty.
Products to Help Take Advantage of Your Wireless Connection
Recently, I came across a product called the WiFlyer
from a company called Always on Wireless. The WiFlyer
enables you to have a portable, shareable, wireless connection
using either a dial-up or a broadband Internet connection. This
lightweight unit is small enough to fit in your briefcase or
laptop bag, and can be installed in matter of minutes. An
easy-to-use configuration wizard is available to assist you in
setting up the unit, minimizing the chances of a miss
In addition to wireless conductivity, the unit is also equipped
with two built-in
ports. So laptops without Wi-Fi access can get online as well.
To protect your connection, the WiFlyer enables you to set
address filtering, and other security controls. The WyFlyer
is particularly useful if you happen to be traveling with a
friend or other companions who also need to get online. Thanks
to its portable size, it's easy for you to take it anywhere you
need to get Internet access — especially in locations such as a
conference room or a meeting area where network access isn't
The Always On WiFlyer isn't the only portable wireless access
point/router option on the market, although there are only a
few. If you regularly rely on dial-up connectivity when
traveling or you want the option to easily create a wireless
network connection, the WiFlyer is definitely worth looking
Did You Know...
Starbucks claims to have built the largest footprint of Wi-Fi
hot spots in the world in their stores. In October2005 Starbucks
announced they were teaming up with Bell to provide hotspots in
400 locations throughout Canada as well.
Wi-Fi HotSpot List
Wi-FiHotSpotList.com is the leading resource for finding wireless access points
around the world. Thousands of Wi-Fi HotSpot locations are listed and new sites
are added daily.
Wi-Fi Planet (formerly 802.11 Planet) is your complete guide to the world of
networking products based on the various 802.11 wireless networking protocols
(collectively known as Wi-Fi). With daily news, features, reviews, and
tutorials, Wi-Fi Planet covers all areas of the rapidly changing wireless LAN
Always On Wireless
WiFlyer enables you to have a portable, shareable wireless connection on either
dialup or broadband. Simply connect the WiFlyer to an ordinary phone line or
Ethernet cable and connect wirelessly to laptops or PDAs. The powerful, but
lightweight WiFlyer is small enough to fit in your briefcase or laptop bag and
can be installed instantly. Compatible with any 802.11b or 802.11g
wireless-ready laptop or PDA.
The latest updates and new products in wireless networking: new EV-DO handsets
for Verizon and Alltel; AirMagnet has upgraded Laptop Analyzer; mosquitoes could
soon be controlled by Wi-Fi; and more.
VoIP Meets WiFi - An Introduction to VoIP, WiFi and VoWiFi
The advances of VoIP and Internet telephony in general have come a long way
since their inception. Most recently, the "next big thing" has been to merge
Wi-Fi with VoIP, producing one of the oddest acronyms you'll ever see. VoWiFi.
VoWiFi, or Voice over Wireless Fidelity, simply means a Wi-Fi based VoIP service
. or in even more general terms, a wireless based VoIP system.
PracticallyNetworked has provided practical, easy-to-understand help for
small network builders since early 1998. The site contains the most
complete "How-To" information for setting up Internet sharing found
anywhere! Users can find extensive troubleshooting information, tips on
getting special applications to work through firewalls, and product
reviews on Hardware Routers, Wireless and HomePNA LAN products, and