Don’t we all wish that at least some things in life be free? Wi-Fi is on most wish lists. Wi-Fi is an inherent part of airwaves around us. The only problem – It’s not obvious, it’s shut tight and it’s not free to access.
But just like free parking, there are a few places where Wi-Fi can be accessed without spending a penny. That’s the easy part. The difficult part is scanning the airwaves in search of Wi-Fi hotspots. Thankfully, the first is accessible thanks to some public hotspots and the second, using software tools and Wi-Fi firmware.
We have cleared a lot of air with our own collection of Wi-Fi how-tos. Lifehacker’s The Definitive Guide to Finding Free Wi-Fi is also an important add-on for your Wi-Fi bag of tricks. The guide takes you through three levels of need in the search for free Wi-Fi. Just how extreme is your need?
The Easy Effort Way Using Public Hotspots
Locate public Wi-Fi hotspots around libraries, Barnes & Noble bookstores, McDonald’s, the airport, university campus, independent coffee shop, or hotel lobbies. These are probable places which offer free Wi-Fi as a utility.
The Medium Effort Way Using Apps
Many free Windows, Mac and mobile OS apps enhance Wi-Fi scan and seek. The Lifehacker guide recommends NetStumbler and WeFi for Windows, iStumbler for Mac, JiWire Free Wi-Fi Finder (iPhone), WiFiFoFum (Windows Mobile) and WeFi again for the Android.
You can go online with a smartphone and check out a few web apps to find a Wi-Fi hotspot. The guide mentions WiFinder, Hotspot Haven, JiWire, Wi-Fi Hotspot List and Hotspotr as bookmark worthy.
Also, check out Ekahu HeatMapper (Windows only) for wireless signal strength mapping.
The High Effort Way Using Hacks
The Lifehacker guide looks at ways to hookup your smartphone as a wireless router. And also the really acute way of hacking into a WEP-secured wireless network with Backtrack.
Check out our own high effort How To: iPhone as a Wireless Router for your Laptop.
At HacknMod we have also looked at ways to enhance a Wi-Fi signal –
The resources are around us. A few rounds of learning by doing will make you a Wi-Fi ninja.