Free Internet WiFi is popping up everywhere. Companies (like Panera Bread, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks and McDonalds) with multiple locations offer Free WiFi. Add to that local libraries, airports, hotels, stores and other public services and parks, it is becoming easier to stay connected when you are on the road. It is not uncommon to find business people camped out at one of these locations throughout the day as they perform work in-between or in preparation for their next appointment. Avoiding unnecessary trips back to the office is a key element of productivity, efficiency and saving money.
A growing number of local "WiFi Hot-Spots" are maintained by the telephone or cable company, offered to you for free as a part of your office or home service package or mobile device. Verizon, AT&T, Cablevision, OptOnline and Time Warner each have such a product. More information can be found by calling them or consulting their website.
The Internet has a collection of directories that list other free WiFi sites throughout the country. You can find them with Google or Bing, searching for "Free WiFi". There is even an iPhone App called "WiFi Finder". While many of these "Hot-Spots" impose a time limit on usage at various times of the day, not all do and sometimes you don't need a very long time to perform a specific task.
Unfortunately, there is NO free lunch here. Don't forget about security. These free / open WiFi hotspots typically do not have any security or protection for you, your computer or data. They often require you to accept their "Terms of Service", which makes it clear that this is your responsibility and you will not hold them responsible if something happens. Be sure to take the minimal precautions:
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