wi-fi and travel

Well, I bought my ticket to Manchester last week and found a great fare. So this time three weeks from now I will be ensconced in the Methodist Archives Research Centre, reading diaries and letters of eighteenth-century Methodists.

I happened to come across this discussion at Slashdot of an article in the International Herald Tribune on a wi-fi network being established in Paris.

A dozen Wi-Fi antennas have been set up outside subway stations along a major north-south bus route, providing Internet access to anyone near them who has a laptop computer or personal desk assistant equipped to receive the signals. The access is free until June 30 but will require paid subscriptions afterward.

Now, I’m not going to Paris any time soon, but this article started me thinking. It just so happens that although my laptop is wi-fi enabled, I have yet to use this feature. I could use some advice from more experienced wireless users.

My first question has to do with compatibility. Jeff, whose office is next to mine, has an Apple AirPort, but last semester we could not get it to work with my Dell. How do you get your PC to work with an Apple access point? Apple insists that it’s possible:

Q: Can Macintosh computers and PCs coexist on an AirPort wireless LAN?
A: Absolutely. Because AirPort was designed to work in education and business installations as well as the home, AirPort is compatible with Mac systems and PCs alike. AirPort is designed to meet the IEEE 802.11b standard for wireless LAN (WLAN) products. So, whether you want to join a PC-based WLAN or host PCs on your Macintosh-based WLAN, AirPort brings everything together.

My second question has to do with finding access elsewhere. I would love to be able to access the internet via wi-fi while I travel. I’ll be spending time in several airports: Kansas City, Baltimore, Atlanta, Manchester, Cincinnatti, Los Angeles. Is there an online resource with information regarding what kind of wi-fi services airports offer? Alternately, is there a good online resource listing publicly accessible (i.e. free) wi-fi access points in cities around the world?

I realize that some determined Googling might allow me to find the answers that I’m looking for, but I thought I’d first solicit the advice of more seasoned wi-fi users.

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One thought on “wi-fi and travel

  1. There’s an article in this month’s Wired that might help. I don’t remember how much the print version focused on identifying WiFi friendly areas, but the online version might be more encyclopedic. Looking forward to your adeventures in WiFi land (and in Manchester).

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