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Hitting the Hotspot
Wireless hotspots open the door to the web from more than 10,000 locations around the UK. My guide here will I hope show you in an easy way on how to connect.
Being out and about doesn't mean you can't connect to the internet, like me, the internet has been a essential tool. With sales of portable notebook PC's outstripping those of immovable desktop box.
The advent of of wireless networking means you can now access the web from practically any part of your home. What you might not know is that the same technology that provides a cable-free link to your home broadband (high-speed) service can also connect you to the online world in thousands of Pubs, Cafe's, Hotels, Airports, Trains and even public telephone boxes around the UK.
Hitting the Hotspot
A WiFi hotspot is, simply a wireless network that's made available for the public use. The equipment differs little from the WiFi router you may have at home. Hotspots may be offered free of charge, many libraries offer free wireless internet as a public service, and hotels often provide WiFi to guests.
Various free hotspots are available in major cities to encourage internet use and ensure that workers can access online information a needed. Most Hotspots, however, are not free, requiring a payment that is based on the amount of time you need or a monthly subscription that grants a set number of minutes each month.
Another option is the free hotspot connectivity offered by some broadband providers and mobile phone companies are part of your monthly package. The first thing you will need to access a hotspot is a portable computer, most new notebook PC's come with WiFi built in, but if yours doesn't it's not the end of the road for you.
Adapters that plug into one of the USB sockets on your notebook can be bought for as little as £10, and adapters that plug into an expansion slot start at around £20. Connecting to a hotspot is simple, the principle is that you buy a voucher or pay in advance, go to the location of the wireless network and start up your portable PC.
Make sure the wireless network adapter on your PC is switched On, and available networks should be indicated in the Notification Area on your desktop. Select the named wireless network to connect, and then enter the code on your voucher, or your username and password for pre-paid services when prompted.
Some hotspots offer a choice of provider. For example, many airports now provide wireless access so that travellers can find out just what is causing the delay of their flight. Heathrow airport hosts services from two of the country's biggest providers, T-Mobile and BT Openzone. You can plan to log-on in advance by buying one of the company's £20 per month subscriptions, which gives you unlimited use, or buy a limited period pass from the one of the airport's information counters (£5 or 60 minutes or £10 for 24hrs of access).
If you have a mobile phone from T-Mobile, it's possible to send a text message to the company to receive a password to access one of its hotspots, the charge for the internet use is then added to your mobile phone bill. BT Openzone and other operators offer a comparable range of deals for roaming surfers, with vouchers that can be bought in person, online or by mobile phone top-up