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View Full Version : airport express and hotspots - how easy?


dubbed
Jul 4, 2004, 03:32 PM
i'm just wondering, how easy is it to bring an ibook w/ae into, say a library or starbucks with free wireless internet, and get connected?
do i have to fiddle with settings, or will my ibook automatically detect a hotspot and connect for me?

just wondering if i should get an ae card for my ibook or not. if its as easy as getting within a certain area of a hotspot and getting connected, thats great. if i have to input a bunch of settings, ip addresses, etc.. i might not want to bother..

thanks!

sebgate20
Jul 4, 2004, 03:48 PM
As far as I know, all you do is select the SSID (the network name) from the AirPort/AirPort Extreme on the menu bar. You should then only need to open Safari and start browsing.

Any results?

Seb

P.S See my other post

Horrortaxi
Jul 4, 2004, 04:02 PM
First, Airport Express serves a different purpose. That's what you might use to create a hot spot. In your laptop would be an Airport Extreme card. It gets a little confusing with Airport this and Airport that.

Second, Starbucks internet isn't free. You're looking at $6.00 an hour or a monthly rate with x amount of time--like a cell phone plan.

How easy is it to join one of these networks? It couldn't be easier. Your Mac may join the network automatically. If it doesn't, click your Airport icon and select the network you want to join. If you're at Starbucks it'll be called 'tmobile'. When you start your web browser it will go to the login page so you can pay or login. If you do find free access, the process is the same except that there's no login. If you get prompted for a password you've found a network you're not supposed to join.

Hope that helps.

dubbed
Jul 4, 2004, 04:27 PM
sorry, i'm new to this.. the terms can get confusing.

but that was helpful, good to see it's easy

First, Airport Express serves a different purpose. That's what you might use to create a hot spot. In your laptop would be an Airport Extreme card. It gets a little confusing with Airport this and Airport that.

Second, Starbucks internet isn't free. You're looking at $6.00 an hour or a monthly rate with x amount of time--like a cell phone plan.

How easy is it to join one of these networks? It couldn't be easier. Your Mac may join the network automatically. If it doesn't, click your Airport icon and select the network you want to join. If you're at Starbucks it'll be called 'tmobile'. When you start your web browser it will go to the login page so you can pay or login. If you do find free access, the process is the same except that there's no login. If you get prompted for a password you've found a network you're not supposed to join.

Hope that helps.

Grimace
Jul 4, 2004, 04:43 PM
Second, Starbucks internet isn't free. You're looking at $6.00 an hour or a monthly rate with x amount of time--like a cell phone plan.
Hope that helps.

Weird, I've only been in two Starbucks with my PB, and both times it's been free. hmmf, guess I got lucky.

Horrortaxi
Jul 4, 2004, 07:18 PM
I checked Starbucks' website and it appears that the Tmobile thing is regional. Some Starbucks have wireless internet that is not hosted by Tmobile and it could be free, but the website doesn't say. Lucky bastards.

jtown
Jul 4, 2004, 08:17 PM
There's a bit of an ethical issue with open access points. Often, Joe SixPack will go get the $9.99 special at Best Buy, plug it in, and call it done. If the router was shipped "wide open", anyone will be able to connect to it but that doesn't mean Joe wants to provide access to everyone within range. I've known a number of people who went out, bought routers, set up all the security, then configured their laptops to connect to the strongest network only to find that they were tapping into a neighbor's unsecured network instead of their own.

If you want to be 100% ethical, ask the proprieter if they provide internet access and how to connect to it. Some do it for free, some charge by the hour, some give you X hours with each purchase, some have partnerships with T-Mobile's subscription WiFi service.

If you're just looking to connect to any old open access point and aren't concerened about the ethical issue, click on the AirPort Status icon in the menu bar. It'll list all of the available wireless networks. Click on the one you want to try. If it's open, you'll be able to surf in a few seconds. If not, you'll either get an error or be prompted for a password. Move on to the next one.

FWIW, I use a network called "linksys" at my new favorite cafe. I don't know if it was left unsecured intentionally or not but I don't feel too bad about using it to surf the web and check my mail a few hours a month.

jsw
Jul 4, 2004, 08:17 PM
Weird, I've only been in two Starbucks with my PB, and both times it's been free. hmmf, guess I got lucky.

If you're in Boston (guessing based on the "Harvard U." location...), would you mind letting me know where the "free" Starbucks are? The last time I tried in one up north here (Andover), it was "pay-per-view".

latergator116
Jul 4, 2004, 09:35 PM
You can also pick up a wireless connection from any apple store. (I figured this out when I brought my iBook to the CambridgeSide store.)

neoelectronaut
Jul 4, 2004, 10:04 PM
There's a bit of an ethical issue with open access points. Often, Joe SixPack will go get the $9.99 special at Best Buy, plug it in, and call it done. If the router was shipped "wide open", anyone will be able to connect to it but that doesn't mean Joe wants to provide access to everyone within range. I've known a number of people who went out, bought routers, set up all the security, then configured their laptops to connect to the strongest network only to find that they were tapping into a neighbor's unsecured network instead of their own.

If you want to be 100% ethical, ask the proprieter if they provide internet access and how to connect to it. Some do it for free, some charge by the hour, some give you X hours with each purchase, some have partnerships with T-Mobile's subscription WiFi service.

If you're just looking to connect to any old open access point and aren't concerened about the ethical issue, click on the AirPort Status icon in the menu bar. It'll list all of the available wireless networks. Click on the one you want to try. If it's open, you'll be able to surf in a few seconds. If not, you'll either get an error or be prompted for a password. Move on to the next one.

FWIW, I use a network called "linksys" at my new favorite cafe. I don't know if it was left unsecured intentionally or not but I don't feel too bad about using it to surf the web and check my mail a few hours a month.

That's sort of my worry. I don't know how far my wireless network stretches, nor if my neighbors even have access to it. And that osrt of worries me.

Also, my friend came over and brought his Powerbook. He had to connect ot "default". Is there any way to change that name?

Elbeano
Jul 4, 2004, 10:59 PM
It all depends on the router how exactly you're going to change that name, but you're almost definately going to go in through the router's ip, and change a setting in there. You're going to have to play around a little if you don't have specific instructions with the product. I personally set the security up to the point on mine that it's a bother to access it even for people that I want to. They have to have a password and a 20 some digit hexcode or some crap to get in to mine. I find it pretty funny because other than our house, I don't think there is anyone on my street, let alone within my range, that has anything higher than a pentium 2 machine.

jtown
Jul 5, 2004, 05:42 PM
That's sort of my worry. I don't know how far my wireless network stretches, nor if my neighbors even have access to it. And that osrt of worries me.

Also, my friend came over and brought his Powerbook. He had to connect ot "default". Is there any way to change that name?

Not to be too rude but...RTFM. All of the information you need to customize and secure your wireless network should be in the manual. If it's not, take it back for a refund and buy another brand. Any decent wireless router will have simple step-by-step instructions for setting up your network including basic security precautions.

Without knowing what equipment you have, nobody here is going to be able to give you step-by-step instructions. And, if they did know what equipment you have, they'd just be reading it out of the manual and posting the information.

pounce
Jul 5, 2004, 05:58 PM
here is a simple question. so long as we are on wireless security, ssid, wep keys, and so forth.

if i program all of that into both my powerbook and the airport express i just ordered, does the airport express have some sort of internal battery backup for all of those settings? it's meant to be portable, but i do want to run some basic security on the thing. in fact, if i can stop it from broadcasting ssid so much the better. just to keep any curious folks nearby from even knowing it's there/snooping around. withing my home network i have a variety of audio files (audio engineer by trade) in shared folders and i don't want snoops accessing them. obviously the computer saves all of such settings. i am sure this is covered in the airport express manual, but if anyone knows about internal memory for saving those security settings and about turning off the broadcasting of the ssid, i'd love to know. thanks.

jtown
Jul 5, 2004, 10:53 PM
There’s no need to reconfigure AirPort Express every time you carry it from one place to another. The AirPort Express Assistant lets you store up to five profiles for different locations, so you simply have to switch from one stored profile to another, depending on where you’re using AirPort Express at a given moment.

It doesn't say whether those profiles are stored on the APE (hey, I like that one) or if it's assigned by the computer at startup but, either way, it sounds like Apple has made it simple to save and switch between multiple profiles depending on your requirements at various locations.

noel4r
Jul 6, 2004, 12:12 AM
if you set up security on your wireless router so that you're the only can log in to the network, would it make a difference on the speed? coz i tried that using WPA or WEP (i think) and it slowed my surfing to a crawl. felt like i was on dial up (i have verizon dsl)

FlamDrag
Jul 6, 2004, 12:28 AM
Another helpful bit...

Many Panera Breads (aka St. Louis Bread Factory) have (deliberately) free wireless internet access. Because of this alone, I have spent far too much money on bagels and coffee.

pounce
Jul 6, 2004, 03:34 AM
if you set up security on your wireless router so that you're the only can log in to the network, would it make a difference on the speed? coz i tried that using WPA or WEP (i think) and it slowed my surfing to a crawl. felt like i was on dial up (i have verizon dsl)

i -have- to use wep keys at work and there seems to be no perceptible difference between surfing there and surfing at home where i do not yet use wep keys with the current home wireless system. i'll add some security when i get the airport exress. i didn't think wep alone could affect your speed once you've logged in.

could anyone answer the fairly basic question - what security method is best for a home user. simple, doesn't affect surfing speed, offers reasonable security for a home computer. i suspect not broadcasting the ssid is a good thing.

powerbookje
Jul 6, 2004, 05:19 AM
make you network invisible and enable MAC filtering

titaniumducky
Jul 6, 2004, 07:03 AM
There's a bit of an ethical issue with open access points. Often, Joe SixPack will go get the $9.99 special at Best Buy, plug it in, and call it done. If the router was shipped "wide open", anyone will be able to connect to it but that doesn't mean Joe wants to provide access to everyone within range. I've known a number of people who went out, bought routers, set up all the security, then configured their laptops to connect to the strongest network only to find that they were tapping into a neighbor's unsecured network instead of their own.

If you want to be 100% ethical, ask the proprieter if they provide internet access and how to connect to it. Some do it for free, some charge by the hour, some give you X hours with each purchase, some have partnerships with T-Mobile's subscription WiFi service.

If you're just looking to connect to any old open access point and aren't concerened about the ethical issue, click on the AirPort Status icon in the menu bar. It'll list all of the available wireless networks. Click on the one you want to try. If it's open, you'll be able to surf in a few seconds. If not, you'll either get an error or be prompted for a password. Move on to the next one.

FWIW, I use a network called "linksys" at my new favorite cafe. I don't know if it was left unsecured intentionally or not but I don't feel too bad about using it to surf the web and check my mail a few hours a month.

Also, MacStumbler will scan and show you all the networks within range. Then it tells you whether each one is open or closed.

question fear
Jul 6, 2004, 08:42 AM
paneras are free. but then again, panera food is greasy. (i worked at two different ones in varying and higher levels and believe me, its greasy nasty stuff...dont eat the foccacia while near your computer.)
also, i dont know if starbucks has this, but borders now has free guides from o'reilly outlining how to get the online via tmobile with a laptop (pc or mac or linux), pda (palm or ppc), and even wifi enabled cell phones.
pretty interesting guide, gives you a good rundown on the features and troubleshooting.
and carletonmusic, i, too, am curious where you found free starbucks wifi around here...i know both brighton locations and the watertown one are all paid access...
-carly

blue&whiteman
Jul 6, 2004, 09:01 AM
I have a question.. why would anyone go to a coffee shop to use the internet? most coffee shops are just lame and far too trendy.

neut
Jul 6, 2004, 09:51 AM
I have a question.. why would anyone go to a coffee shop to use the internet? most coffee shops are just lame and far too trendy.

i think i know why... its all about the girls (http://www.playboy.com/magazine/starbucks.html). ;)


peace.

question fear
Jul 6, 2004, 10:20 AM
I have a question.. why would anyone go to a coffee shop to use the internet? most coffee shops are just lame and far too trendy.

i know people who go to coffee shops and do work while on the road, in informal meetings, etc. there's something to be said for having a meeting in a relaxed setting and still being able to connect to your office to cement your pitch or whatever.
also, tho this is slowly disappearing, if you live in an area with no dsl or cable but there's a wifi spot in your town its a cost effective way to get fast internet.
it's not for everyone, but there is a surprisingly large market for it.