21 Feb Open Access Hotspots
Our Open Access Hotpots allow you to log in and access the internet at various places around the country.
Some of our packages offer FREE connections of your devices, the limit of the number of devices being defined by your package. Is that not a great deal!
Visit this link to learn more! Have a look at the map below to find locations as well.
Wireless (or wi-fi) hotspots are essentially wireless access points providing network and/or Internet access to mobile devices like your laptop or smartphone, typically in public locations. To put it more simply, they’re places where you can take your laptop or other mobile device and wirelessly connect to the Internet; some devices and smartphones also act as mobile wi-fi hotspots.
Typical wi-fi hotspot venues include cafes, libraries, airports, and hotels.
Though many are free, some hotspots require a subscription or service with a particular mobile provider (e.g., Starbucks has exclusive deals with T-Mobile and AT&T customers).
Connecting to a hotspot and using its Internet connection basically works the same as other home or business wireless connection set up steps: Your wireless-equipped laptop or other device, such as an iPod or smartphone, will typically notify you when it is in the range of available wireless networks. (If you don’t get the “wireless networks are available” information prompt, you can go into your network settings to find available wireless networks.) You then just accept or initiate the connection to the hotspot’s wireless network, which is usually identified in the network name (SSID). Some network cards will even automatically connect to the hotspot once it is in range, but this is generally a bad idea; for security’s sake.
Before you connect to a Wifi Hotspot
although public wi-fi hotspots like these are very convenient, they also carry a lot of risks. Open wireless networks are prime targets for hackers and identity thieves. Before you connect to a wi-fi hotspot, use the security guidelines below to protect your personal and business information, as well as your mobile devices.
Disable Ad-Hoc Networking
Ad-hoc networking creates a direct computer-to-computer network that bypasses typical wireless infrastructure like a wireless router or access point. If you have ad-hoc networking turned on, a malicious user may gain access to your system and steal your data or do pretty much anything else.
- Turn off ad-hoc networking in Windows XP by going to your Wireless Network Connection’s properties and make sure you have “Access point (infrastructure only)” as the one option selected for the type of networks to access. Kenyon College has visual instructions for turning off ad-hoc wireless for Windows XP, Windows 7, Vista, and Mac operating systems.
Do Not Allow Automatic Connections to Non-Preferred Networks
While you’re in the wireless network connection properties, also make sure the setting to automatically connect to non-preferred networks is disabled. The danger if you have this setting enabled is that your computer or mobile device may automatically (without even notifying you) connect to any available network, including rogue or bogus wi-fi networks designed only to lure unsuspecting data victims.
- In Windows XP, make sure the checkbox that says “Automatically connect to non-preferred networks” is not checked (About’s Wireless/Networking Guide has steps for disabling auto-connect for Windows XP); Windows 7 and Vista by default prompt you to approve new connections. Also make sure you only connect to known, legitimate networks (ask the hotspot provider for the SSID if you are unsure).
Enable or Install a Firewall
A firewall is the first line of defense for your computer (or network, when the firewall is installed as a hardware device) since it’s designed to prevent unauthorized access to your computer. Firewalls screen incoming and outgoing access requests to make sure they are legitimate and approved.
- Both Windows and Mac operating systems have built-in firewalls that you should make sure are enabled, especially before connecting to a public wi-fi hotspot. You can also install third-party firewall software if you need more granular control of the firewall settings or rules.
Turn file sharing off
It’s easy to forget that you have file sharing turned on or files in your Shared Documents or Public folder that you use on private networks but wouldn’t want to be shared with the world. When you connect to a public wi-fi hotspot, however, you are joining that network and may be allowing other hotspot users to access your shared files.
- Before connecting to a public hotspot, make sure you disable file and printer sharing (disable sharing in XP in the network connection’s properties; Windows 7 and Vista will turn off discovery for you if you specify the network is a public one, but you can check the Network and Sharing Center to make sure).
Log On Only to Secure Websites
The best bet is not to use a public, open wi-fi hotspot for anything that has to do with money (online banking or online shopping, for example) or where the information stored and transferred may be sensitive. If you need to log in to any sites, though, including web-based email, make sure your browsing session is encrypted and secure.
- Check the address bar to see if it starts with HTTPS (encrypted) rather than HTTP (not encrypted) and/or if there is a padlock in your browser’s status bar. Note that some webmail programs encrypt the login page but not the rest of the browsing session — make sure the setting in your email program requires using HTTPS or SSL encryption for the entire interface; Gmail has this option.
- Most instant messaging programs are also typically not encrypted; Aim Pro is one business-friendly IM program that can send instant messages over a secure connection.