You can get free high-speed Internet access legally on any laptop computer or wireless-enabled mobile device by connecting to free, public Wi-Fi hotspots. Many shopping malls, restaurants, coffee shops, public libraries, bookstores and hotels offer free high-speed Internet access as an "added value" service to customers. In some establishments with free high-speed Internet access, you can automatically log onto the wireless network without a password. On other free networks, you will need to get a network password from the establishment before you can connect to the Internet.
Check that you can access a free, high-speed wireless Internet connection at your current location. Most establishments display a "Free Wi-Fi" sticker on the door or window to let customers know about the service. Ask the receptionist or sales clerk if you will need a password to access the network. If you do, the receptionist will tell you the password or give you an access card printed with the password.
Switch on the laptop computer's wireless Internet adapter. On most laptops this is enabled by default, while on others you will need to switch a "Wireless" or "Wi-Fi" button on the front or side of the laptop to the "On" position.
Click the "Network" icon on the desktop taskbar's notification area. This opens a pop-up dialog box that displays a list of all available local networks.
Locate the correct network from those listed in the "Wireless Network Connection" section of the dialog box. The network name usually includes the name of the organization or establishment offering the free service -- for example, "Springfield Library Wireless Internet."
Click the "Connect" button beside the network name. If prompted, enter the security code or network password into the security input field. This is the same password that you got from the receptionist or sales clerk. If you're accessing a free, open network you won't need to enter a password.
Click the "OK" button. This connects your computer to a free, legal high-speed wireless Internet connection.
- Avoid accessing online banking or financial services websites while using free Internet connections on open, public networks.
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