October 09, 2013, 2:52 PM —
Image credit: flickr/Erin Pettigrew
Need Wi-Fi but aren't willing to pay? No problem. With these free apps and tips you'll be able to find free Wi-Fi networks just about anywhere you go.
If you've got an Android device and you're looking for free WiFi, this free app is well worth a try. With it, you can share your own Wi-Fi network with others, including a portable hotspot or a regular hotspot, and they in turn share them with you. You get control over who shares your network, and you can also remove access to it at any point. At the moment it's only for Android, but may branch out to other devices eventually.
WeFi is a massive database of WiFi networks, so visit it with your Web browser and you'll find any near you. If you've got an Android device, WeFi Pro is even better, because it automatically connects you to an available, open free Wi-Fi network near you.
This app, for iOS and Android devices, works much like WeFi, and automaticaly finds and connects you to a nearby free WiFi network.
This Android app won't automatically connect you to nearby networks automatically, but it will show you all nearby WiFi networks, including not just open ones, but those that are encrypted as well.
Check with your cable company
As a way to compete, cable companies are increasingly providing free wireless networks for their subscribers. Comcast, for example, provides access to many hot spots via its Xfinity Wi-Fi network. I live in Cambridge, and frequently use them. You can find a map of Xfinity hotspots here.
Use Facebook-Cisco hotspots
Facebook and Cisco just announced the Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) for Facebook Wi-Fi service that lets you use free WiFi networks at many retailers. You connect to the network, check in on Facebook, and perhaps have to look at some ads. Then you get free WiFi. If you don't like the idea of having to check in on Facebook to get access, that's not a problem, at least according to Facebook's page describing the service. You'll still be able to connect to the network.