Buy coffee, get free wi-fi
Abbie Napier explains how to access free wireless on a smartphone.
Those fondly remembered days of business meetings over a latte have not been lost to Christchurch. Throughout the city and suburbs, cafes and hotspots are offering free wi-fi to customers. The privilege sometimes comes for the price of a coffee, but since you were going to have one anyway . . .
People in the business world, or perhaps at high school, have fancy smartphones which are designed to make life easier, when you master how to use them.
Connecting to wi-fi is not always as easy as it should be and it can be embarrassing to ask teenage staff for help as they roll their eyes and sort it, their thumbs a blur.
The first thing to check is your signal – the wi-fi enabler must be on. Go to your Settings, Wireless and Networks, and select Turn on Wi-fi. Sometimes this takes a few seconds for the phone to process.
Most cafes have a password system – when you buy something you get a temporary password.
Select the network you want. For example, at After the Red Verandah (Under the Red Verandah until February 22), the network takes the same name.
An automatic prompt should pop up and ask for a password.
Some places have a terms-andconditions page that should pop up when you open a browser on your phone. Make sure you agree or nothing will work.
Once logged in, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Is the network secure for you to check your banking or emails without fear of hacking?
Most networks are fine and usually your phone alerts you to networks with potential threats.
If you want to download smartphone apps on someone else’s money, free networks are the way to go, but some have a limit on how much you can download. Mcdonald’s for example has a 50-megabyte per login limit. However, the average app is only a couple of megabytes.
Apps with high-quality content and games are often larger – Real Racing 2 is 436MB – so you won’t be able to download it. You can check app size on itunes or Android Market.
File size is the most common problem for smartphone users on free systems and you have to choose your apps carefully.
Once you have finished using the network, make sure you log off and disconnect the wi-fi signal. Leaving your phone connected can be costly.
The most important thing to remember about using free wi-fi is to choose a place with good coffee and comfortable chairs.