Chapter 3. Wi-Fi on the Road

If you set up a wireless network in your home or office, you’ll probably spend most of your time on that network. However, when you wander away, your wireless adapter will let you access other networks, so why not take advantage of this? For example, you may be traveling and need to get online at the airport or hotel. In this case, you could connect to a commercial or community wireless network (or a cellular network, as described in Chapter 8).

In this chapter, I discuss some of the commercial and community wireless access providers and how you can use them while on the road. I also show you how to hunt for wireless networks using your existing hardware and some free software. This can come in handy when your travel involves a conference, since many conference organizers have begun to include free Wi-Fi as an added feature for attendees.

Wireless Hotspots

As more users equip their portable computers with Wi-Fi, opportunities have emerged for anyone who can bring a DSL line and access point into a public space such as a coffee shop, airport, or public library. Some people will set up an access point and charge by the hour; others will charge nothing, just to attract customers or keep them a little longer; some, such as a library, will set it up to make information more accessible. A venue with this kind of public access point is known as a wireless hotspot. The number of wireless hotspots is growing rapidly. Today, you can easily find wireless hotspots ...

Get Windows XP Unwired now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.