In Search of Wireless Internet

Recently, I’ve gotten a couple of questions from family about where they can get wireless internet access.  People usually mean wi-fi when they ask this.  I tend to address this problem by location–either you want wireless internet when you’re at home, when you aren’t, or both.

The variety of places offering wi-fi is definitely increasing.  Beyond the usual suspects (Starbucks, Panera Bread, airports and hotels), it’s showing up in other places (e.g. downtown Silver Spring).  If you want to find the nearest wi-fi offerings in your zip code, visit (thanks for the link Adrienne).  If there’s a charge for the wi-fi access, the service is mostly likely provided by one of the major cellphone service providers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile).

For wireless access at home, you have your choice of any provider who offers broadband access.  For most of us, that provider will be a cable company like Comcast or a phone company like Verizon.  Either type of provider will be able to offer you a modem that provides wired internet access and wireless internet access.  They may try to charge extra for setting up more than one computer, but I recommend not paying.  You’ll be able to get a family member or friend to help you for free, or a local high school or college student for a lot less than Comcast or Verizon will charge.