Mobile data prices are continually declining, yet everybody still loves free Wi-Fi. Consumers will often choose restaurants or cafes based on whether they can connect to a Wi-Fi there.
Of late it has become easier to find Wi-Fi hotspots (and their passwords) due to the following:
Apps Crowdsourcing Wi-Fi details: There have been a host of Apps that have crowdsourced data on Wi-Fi networks available in different cities (and the passwords for the same). Probably the most popular among them is WiFi Master Key. At the start of this year it climbed to #5 in the global top 10 by downloads on iOS and Google Play combined.
Comments sections on Foursquare: If you’re loitering outside a lounge in the hopes that the Wi-Fi signal reaches you, it’s not going to help if you don’t know the password. Thankfully, generous folks on Foursquare have been known to post this password info in the comments section of a given lounge.
But connecting to a public Wi-Fi may leave you vulnerable to various issues. That is why a lot of companies prefer that their employees don’t connect to free Wi-Fi networks when they travel.
Some ways you can protect yourself when connecting to a public Wi-Fi are:
- Enable your firewall
- Turn off sharing
- Use HTTPS and SSL Whenever Possible
- Use a VPN
Happiness = Strength of the Wi-Fi signal 🙂
While Wi-Fi penetration is increasing at a very rapid pace but there are still 4 Billion+ people in the world who do no have internet access.
The Wireless Broadband Alliance has been working on many initiatives to bring Wi-Fi access to many remote places. Some of their completed projects are
- KT – KT Giga Island – connecting islands to the mainland through advanced networks
- MallorcaWiFi – City of Palma – Wi-Fi on the beach
- VENIAM – Connected Port @ Leixões Porto, Portugal
- ISOCEL – Isospot – Building a Wi-Fi hotspot network in Benin
- VENIAM – Smart City @ Porto, Portugal
- Benu Neworks – Carrier Wi-Fi Business Case
- MCI – Free Wi-Fi for Arbaeen
Google’s Project Loon
Google calls it a “network of balloons travelling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and bring people back online after disasters”. Project Loon balloons will travel in the stratosphere, approximately 20 km above the Earth’s surface, latching on to layers of wind as directed by software algorithms to determine where they need to go. In the end, they will form one large communications network.
A solar-powered aircraft with a wingspan bigger than a Boeing 737, that can stay up for months on end. Cruising altitude: 60,000 ft (> 18 km), much higher than commercial aircraft. Footprint: 100 km diameter.
While these aircraft try and create a grid of connectivity, there will also be dark spots without connectivity in areas with no substantial population. Those areas could be fed by satellite. The concept is to have multiple grid layers — like the aircraft-powered grid overlapping with the Express Wi-Fi grid on the ground. “We want to make sure that various Express W-Fi networks are interconnected. The UAVs, meanwhile, will provide the equivalent of the microwave backhaul. We think of these of building blocks to ensure it is a robust network”
So for the foreseeable future we should see Wi-Fi penetration increasing rapidly all over the world
By: Ashutosh Dabral