Finding a Wi-Fi Hotspot the Easy Way

We each have our own way of doing things but given my druthers, I’d rather trade stocks hard-wired in some posh hotel roomand then go eco-diving or hiking the backwoods of the Sera Pelada or Tongass National Park. The reasons are obvious:  it’s safe, secure, and stock traders need a certain amount of quietude to make smart choices in fast-moving markets.

Having said that, though, I have traded in Wi-Fi hotspots all over the globe because sometimes it’s expeditious to do so. I may actually want to have something to eat, drink coffee, or swill a brewski while I’m trading and I can’t do that in a hotel room.

Is Your Laptop Wi-Fi Ready?

If you’ve purchased a decent laptop in the last couple of years, it probably already contains a Wi-Fi card which will enable your unit to communicate with any wireless router. My trusty HP has Intel® Centrino™ mobile technology built in so I was ready to surf the moment I bought it.

If you do not have a built-in Wi-Fi card, they’re simple to buy and install. Most cost less than $75. A Belkin 802.11g Wireless Notebook Network Card can be had for $35, and it just plugs into your Wi-Fi port (assuming you have one). The Card works as a standalone to give you instant networking capabilities. Or check out a Linksys 802.11g Wireless Notebook Card. It sells for less than $60.

Doing Your Homework

Before you runway, and even while your lolling around your hotel or having a bite to eat in some Internet café, you can check for free or paid hotspot locations in your port of call. To make that easier, here’s a list of some of the most popular sites that offer this service.

Noted elsewhere on this site in various departments is JIWire. They've got a hotspot locator on their site that's worth trying.

Wi-Fi Hotspot List is the leading resource for finding wireless access points around the world. Thousands of Wi-Fi HotSpot locations are listed and new sites are added daily.

Wi-Fi Freespot

A directory is a listing of Wi-Fi enabled locations that offer Free Wireless High Speed Internet Access. USA State-by-State listings come first with Europe and other regions of the World listed further down the page.


Wi-Fi Maps
This is a web-based interactive map of wardhalking data. Warchalkers (folks who draw symbols in public places to advertise an open Wi-Fi wireless network. This site uploads their findings, and we draw the data atop detailed street-level maps. Explore interactive maps of the Wi-Fi usage by US state, or geographic region.

Another site that allows you to search for public access wi-fi hotspots.

Wi-Fi Hotspot Map at ZDnet UK

Use ZDNet UK's Wi-Fi map to find wireless hot spots across Great Britain. This frequently updated map, based on Ordnance Survey's MasterMap, gives street-level information of which hotels, railway stations, cafes and kiosks offer Wi-Fi today

Wi-Fi Zone Finder
Find nearby hot spots by location (country, state, city) or you can search for specific providers or venue types such as coffee shops or airports. Includes an international database. Includes free sites.
Another guide to search for Wi-Fi hotspots in your local area, or across the globe. They features a Road Warrior's guide for those new to "working on the road". You can use icons at the top of the site to select the type of wi-fi place you are looking for (hotel, coffee shop, etc.), then fill in at least one other piece of information to find one near you.


Wi-Fi 411
Search over 28 thousand unique FREE and commercial WiFi HotSpots Worldwide.
What started out as an attempt to map the Sydney Wireless project nodes in Sydney Australia, ballooned quickly into a world wide mapping service for locations the world over. It is now an international guide to free hot-spots.


Plugged Inns is a directory of U.S. hotel hot-spots, including both wired and wireless.
Global Wi-Fi hotspot directory. New and growing.


Wi-Fi Internet Service Providers
Check out these wireless Internet service providers for public wireless Internet access



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