Do all WiFi hotspots cost money?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by raynegus, Sep 25, 2004.

  1. raynegus macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2003
    #1
    I'll be getting my first laptop next week (15" powerbook). I've always been a desktop powermac user, so the wireless wifi thing is all new to me.

    I was in my local Borders bookstore and noticed a sign stating their was a wireless network there. When I asked about it, they said there was a monthly fee to use it. I asked if all wifi hotspots were like this and he insisted they were.

    Is this true, or was this employee misinformed?

    I was under the impression that my powerbook (with airport card) could just hook on to the internet if a wifi signal was present. If this is the case, how do they regulate who has paid the fee?

    Also, can someone please recommend a wifi finder (the small kind that fits on a keychain) and comment on how useful it is.

    Thanks!
     
  2. yoda13 macrumors 65816

    yoda13

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2003
    Location:
    Texas
    #2
    they do not all cost money, but most of them do
     
  3. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2001
    Location:
    VA
    #3
    it all depends are where you are. Philadelphia is planning a big one and there is one on the Mall in DC. These are just a few, there are more, some can be found here

    D
     
  4. lisius_kent macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Location:
    Bend, Oregon
    #4
    How they do it is...

    How they regulate how you are a paying user is they encript the network, and when you pay they give you a user name and password for that network.
     
  5. slughead macrumors 68030

    slughead

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    #5
    It'd be nice if someone were to create a billing system where all the hotspots were interlinked, and given a portion of the customer's fee based on whose node the user connected to.

    Can you imagine it? people jamming one another's wifi hotspot so they could usurp its popularity?

    That'd be my future get-rich-quick scheme.
     
  6. stoid macrumors 601

    stoid

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2002
    Location:
    So long, and thanks for all the fish!
    #6
    Starbucks and Panera Bread all have free Wi-Fi.
     
  7. gottagetmac macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    #7
    In France they have a nation-wide hotspot provider- called Orange. In most of Western Europe, in fact, there are companies where you can use the same user name for many hotspots.
     
  8. t300 macrumors 6502a

    t300

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    Apr 10, 2004
  9. jacg macrumors 6502a

    jacg

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    Jan 16, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    Free Wi-Fi?

    I was on holiday in California and picked up a weak (un-protected) Wi-Fi signal from a certain point in my hotel room. It wasn't from the hotel.

    Access to the internet certainly made finding my way around easier (I can't believe how many times I was politely laughed at asking for a bus timetable before I got one online).

    I expect stealing bandwidth like this will be frowned upon...
     
  10. munkle macrumors 68030

    munkle

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2004
    Location:
    On a jet plane
    #10
    If you want to check out available wi-fi networks in your area, give MacStumbler a pop -for educational or auditing purposes only of course! ;)
     
  11. t300 macrumors 6502a

    t300

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    #11
    Well, there is still a very gray area as to whether or not using someone's open WiFi is right or not...No need to say "illegal" as it is NOT. It is just a question of ethics. There is no right or wrong answer so let's not go this route, as it has been traveled many times..
     
  12. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

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    Sep 3, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #12
    All of the Apple stores have free wireless internet access. I used to take my laptop down to the mall and sit outside the Apple store to get online before my cable internet was installed.
     
  13. hotwire132002 macrumors 65816

    hotwire132002

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    #13
  14. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #14
    Not really contributing anything to the thread. Just wanted to chime in on the Philly hot-spot.

    If this wi-fi project is anything like other Philly projects, we can expect it to be finished in 2016. Of course, the specs will still be 802.11b and they'll end up charging the citizens of Philly whether they use it or not.

    Seriously, the only commercial place that I've seen free wi-fi (other than the Apple Store) is Panera Bread. I haven't tried it because I don't want to spill the delicious soup on my iBook. ;)
     
  15. howard macrumors 68020

    howard

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    Nov 18, 2002
    #15
    doesn't starbuck use t-mobile, which you have to pay for?
     
  16. winwintoo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2003
    #16
    I'm confused. What do you need MacStumbler for if you have an Airport card in your laptop?

    Just open the laptop, and if there's a network available, it will show up in the airport menu.

    If the network is free, your airport will likely join it automatically. All the ones that I've encountered that I had to pay for home-paged my browser to the sign-up page. The ones in airports offer a lot of good local info for free on that home page, but to hook up to the net to read your email or surf, you have to pay.

    m
     
  17. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #17
    Yup, went to the MacStumbler website to get some info, and sure enough, there wasn't much to work with. I don't really understand the need for MacStumbler. :confused:
     
  18. t300 macrumors 6502a

    t300

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    #18
    Macstumbler is a great tool. It can find all hotspots, and document everything about them, including their GPS position. It is way more accurate than just using the Airport tool.
     

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