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My guide to finding wi-fi
If I can do it, you can do it...
Initial draft compiled in a coffee shop after clearing my overnight email via a commercial wi-fi service. Edited and emailed late the same day from Heathrow Terminal 2 via my ISP's wi-fi service
A few weeks ago I received a rather vitriolic email claiming that I had completely 'lost it'. This is not all that unusual by the way! I've received many similar emails and reader comments to my blogs. Apparently the reader in question could never find broadband access, and in particular wi-fi, and therefore doubted my reports, comments and actual usage claims.
Well, I responded with a statement of my personal experience, and then started a less than scientific study of actuality. So, for all those sceptics out there - here is my report and some recommendations about finding wi-fi.
Over the past six months or so I have taken particular note of my 'on the road' access habits and success rate. To a first approximation my connectivity is around 85 per cent by wi-fi and 15 per cent by wire LAN. At no time did I have to use a phone line or mobile phone link. Around 35 per cent of connections were free, whilst 60 per cent were via low-cost commercial services, and just five per cent were at 'rip-off' hotels and bars when I paid because I happened to be desperate to connect due to time constraints.
Now to put this into context... I respond to all emails within 12 hours 365 x 24 x 7, unless that is, I am on a long flight, or have had some tech failure. Also, my average file size tends to be higher than the average and often breaks the megabyte barrier. And finally, I do this no matter what the time, date, location or country.
So, to reaffirm my earlier reports and claims on the subject, I seldom find it difficult to get connected by wi-fi on the road. For more than 60 per cent of my wi-fi needs I find access wherever I happen to be in the UK and US within a city block or less. For about 35 per cent of the time I can get wi-fi within three city blocks or less. The remaining five per cent usually translates into a further city block or failed servers!
The big on the road problem is: how do you find wi-fi access points? So here is my personal guide:
Finally, in response to your comments, I report on the world as I find and experience it, from the places where I live work and travel. If it doesn't line up with your experience, then see the above suggestions - I hope it all helps!