Do all WiFi hotspots cost money?

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

  1. raynegus macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2003
    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.

  2. yoda13 macrumors 65816


    Sep 26, 2003
    they do not all cost money, but most of them do
  3. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    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

  4. lisius_kent macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2004
    Bend, Oregon
    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


    Apr 28, 2004
    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


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

    Sep 25, 2004
    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


    Apr 10, 2004
  9. jacg macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2003
    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


    Aug 7, 2004
    On a jet plane
    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


    Apr 10, 2004
    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


    Sep 3, 2004
    London, UK
    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


    Jan 24, 2004
    Cadillac, MI
  14. ftaok macrumors 601


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    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


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

    Nov 26, 2003
    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.

  17. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    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


    Apr 10, 2004
    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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