At the Remote Worker day we organised here at UKOLN a few of the remote workers who live up north decided to organise a day out in Manchester. This would be an opportunity to meet up, catch up on work and non-work related things and try out working on the move.
Adrian, one of the UKOLN remote workers, kindly shared his ideas on where to get free wifi out and about in Manchester by passing round a link to the Manchester Community Walk.
We then realised that a list of wifi hotspots wasn’t just useful to us remote workers but to anyone who has a laptop and travels.
There are a lot more free wifi hot spots these days and quite a few ways to find them. If you are in a big city then Pret a Manger, Starbucks, Wetherspoons, Walkabout, Slug & Lettuce, Coffee Republic or McDonalds are a fairly safe bet (for wifi – not necessarily for food and drink!). Most won’t have a power socket though so make sure you take a charged up laptop. Personally I’d rather find a local pub rather than a big chain. There are a fair number of wifi hot-spot locators including hotspot locations, my hot spots, WorldWIFinder, free hotspot and Jwire.
Norwich was the first UK city to have free wifi throughout and in London there is also free wifi available if you are willing to view adverts every 15 minutes. Westminster City Council has also teamed up with BT to offer a free wifi based information service to residents and visitors in the area. London hot spots are well indicated on the londonist Web site. There’s free wireless on East coast mainline trains (national express), quite a lot of hotels offer free wifi to customers and in Scotland some of the public libraries offer free wifi to users. I’ve even heard of a school bus that now does wifi for the children passengers!
If you do use a free wifi it might be worth avoiding sending any sensitive information while on them as there are some security issues.
If you’re interested in tracking where the next wifi hotspot will be then follow Wi-fi Net News.