Buy cof­fee, get free wi-fi

Ab­bie Napier ex­plains how to ac­cess free wire­less on a smart­phone.

The Press - The Box - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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