A few months ago, I wrote a little article while at a local mall, entitled “Free Wi-Fi Hates You.” The article spoke of the woes of gaining access to most unsecured public wireless access point.
There is a trick to getting good WiFi, however. It just require some research beforehand. This may be common knowledge, but was news to me up until a few years ago: Virtually every shopping location that has a locked down Wi-Fi signal being broadcast uses a rather easy to discover key as their password. The idea is that you would ask someone who works there for the password, and either have to buy something to get it, or at least be enticed to make a purchase. This in theory sounds good, but often, I find if I were to ask someone working there, they would know nothing about the Wi-Fi access. This makes it a little tricky to get, eh? Not really, if you know the common trend to lock down these connections.
In most cases, the password is the store phone number. I do not know why this is so common, but it seems virtually every single place that has an obvious, but locked, Wi-Fi signal, uses their phone number as the password. If you have that simple, easily accessible number, you will have no issues getting what is usually a very reliable, rather quick internet connection. Of course, I do not suggest you do anything on this that you wouldn’t do on any other public connection, as you never know who might be snooping, but the connection is not likely to have too many other, if any other, people on it, and it should be much faster, and less information-intrusive, than the public access point that always seems to cause no end of pain for many people.