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Wi-fi hotspots in Paris

Old Apr 12th, 2006, 06:43 PM
  #41  
 
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So, Gard, what was your experience with WI-FI in Paris?
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Old Apr 12th, 2006, 10:18 PM
  #42  
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Hi

My experience is that there are a few shops around where it says wi-fi and where you probably get get access for free. My PC is not the kind that you drag around so I have only set it up here at the hotel. There were no free access points here so we bought some access time from SFR. It was very easy to buy access online and my wife got the PC up an running before I had finished a beer together with a friend

Regards
Gard
http://gardkarlsen.com - trip reports and pictures
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Old Apr 12th, 2006, 11:58 PM
  #43  
 
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I agree - use SSL for secure transactions such as banking or purchases.

As for using other people's access points, I would totally do it, however there is the concern that whoever owns the account could evesdrop the data going through shared transmission. (of course that would require some serious geek hacking capability).

Correct me if I'm wrong, Robespierre.

Also, don't worry about what protocol the wireless cards use. If you buy one these days it is most likely 802.11g
but even the previous one, 802.11b, would work on a .11g

The protocol is a standard so no need to worry about incompatibilty issues.

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Old Apr 13th, 2006, 07:01 AM
  #44  
 
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I have a related question - if you don't want to schlep your laptop around Europe, what's the best way to find internet cafes?
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Old Apr 13th, 2006, 07:08 AM
  #45  
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There are websites to locate them, but I've found the best way is to simply walk and keep your eyes open.
 
Old Apr 13th, 2006, 07:50 AM
  #46  
 
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Correct, nancicita - 802.11b is

the most common
cheap as dirt
faster than any internet connection

- so the only valid reason to pay for more WiFispeed is if you need to transfer large amounts of data on a LAN.

"As for using other people's access points, I would totally do it, however there is the concern that whoever owns the account could evesdrop the data going through shared transmission. (of course that would require some serious geek hacking capability)."

Now hear this: unless you're using a VPN, everything you send across the internet from anywhere is as visible as a postcard. There is no less danger in using your own wired connection at home.

Consider this, too: there is no difference in security between a hacker-owned access point and the ones at Starbuck's. Anyone with a computer can intercept the traffic to either site.

Observe normal precautions, and use any WiFi you can find.

SSL
Firewall
Anti-virus
File Sharing OFF
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Old Apr 13th, 2006, 12:03 PM
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There is a news story today about the rise in laptop thefts at Wi-Fi spots in San Francisco. An excerpt:

"I looked up, and I saw this guy leaning into me as if he was asking a question," the man said in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. "I leaned forward and out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone fiddling with the computer cord. I tried to stand up, and as I stepped back, he stabbed me in the chest."

The 40-year-old victim suffered a partially collapsed lung for which he was hospitalized. Adding insult to injury, the two criminals made off with his $2,500 Apple PowerBook. From beginning to end, according to Inspector Robert Lynch of the San Francisco Police Department robbery unit, "the whole thing was over in 15 seconds."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nf/20060412/tc_nf/42728

Be careful out there.

Woody
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Old Apr 13th, 2006, 12:08 PM
  #48  
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No problem, Woody. That happened in the US. Many know they'll be much safer in Europe.
 
Old Apr 13th, 2006, 09:13 PM
  #49  
 
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Very good points, Robespierre. You are right - I hadn't thought about the fact that all traffic except for data through VPN's can be sniffed.

This thread has some very valuable information. Let's keep it at the top of the list for everyone!
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Old Jul 20th, 2006, 07:30 PM
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This mysterious and ubiquitous "Thompson" everyone is finding is likely just the name of the company that makes the wireless router. In searching for wi-fi networks worldwide I've found that a lot of people don't give special names to their networks and routers, so you'll see a lot of Thompsons and SpeedTouches, among many others.
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Old Jul 20th, 2006, 10:19 PM
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You can see the way the world is going as my new PDA has wifi built in and comes with its own PDA internet virus programme !
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Old Jul 21st, 2006, 05:11 AM
  #52  
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A brief report back after my travels in Europe for two months with my laptop with wi-fi card:

Total bust.

In several cities my laptop kept recognizing signals and sure enough I could attach to it and it even said I was connected to that network, but I could not access the internet. Someone told me that likely the networks I was "attaching" to did not have internet access. This is probably true as in a couple of cases the names of the networks matched restaurants downstairs or next door. I strongly suspect the wireless network I was "attaching" to were their waiter station pads. And in the Metropole Hotel in Bellagio, I was clearly attaching to the hotel's wireless network, which they told me did not include any internet access. It's a network they use in house between the restaurant and offices.

In London I was able to attach to a local network but it said "very poor" signal strength and sure enough everytime I'd log on, it kept cutting out. I tried the "hanging out the window" routine, but that didn't help.

I also got signals most places from networks that were clearly "access denied" or "password required".

In Nice I did go to a wi-fi cafe, but had to register to use their service. There was a minimum charge of 20 euros. It wouldn't tell me what that covered, only that "your account will be charged according to the charges of the establishment where you are accessing". Well, I was a bit shocked after signing up that I was being charged 13 cents per minute. In other words, my 20 euros bought me just over 2 and a half hours of air time. For 20 euros I could get over 6 hours at a local internet cafe.

In Bellagio, I went to an internet cafe that said I could use my wireless for which they made a very small charge -- but unfortunately they admitted it wasn't working, so instead I paid a little more to connect my own laptop to their high speed service.

I went into a Starbucks in Madrid that had a wi-fi sign in the window, but they told me up front that it probably wouldn't work as it never does -- so I didn't stay.

I had no luck in Paris, and found that Starbucks there does not have wireless service. MacDonalds does, although I didn't check it out as I really didn't care to sit in MacDonalds to use my laptop.

In the airport at Venice I discovered the waiting area was "wi-fi", but when I tried to log on, again I found it was a network that I'd have to "join" at a minimum of 20 euros. Since I only had about 45 minutes before boarding, I decided I really didn't want to spend 20 euros for that much time.

I used my laptop, but not much for internet. I went back to resorting to local internet cafes for that purpose.

I'm sure if I had a lot more computer "smarts" I'd have figured more out and had better luck, but that is not the case.
 
Old Jul 21st, 2006, 06:43 AM
  #53  
 
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Welcome back, P!
Your tale rings familiar - just like what I experienced the first time I took the laptop to Europe for a leisure trip. While my expertise pales in comparison to our esteemed fellow Fodorites like Robespierrre, I have learned a thing or two. The good signal/no internet connection thing drove me nuts, too, until I figured out how to manipulate the settings. As usual, once done it becomes rote, but it nearly drove me around the bend until I figured it out. And as you found, the cost for WiFi can be quite steep in Europe, whether in dollars or dignity (e.g., sittting in Mickey D's ;-)). Best thing for us was an apartment with a wireless router - and while outside, a stop in to an internet cafe as needed.
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Old Jul 21st, 2006, 07:10 AM
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Not using McD's WAP for fear of loss of dignity? It's never stopped me from buying a cuppa and sitting down. What's at stake, after all? The opinion of a bunch of total strangers whose judgment means nothing and who I'll never see again? I don't see it.
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Old Jul 21st, 2006, 07:37 AM
  #55  
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I can't speak for Seamus, but it wasn't loss of dignity I was speaking of. The MacDonalds I saw was total chaos in terms of people and noise. I'd rather die than drink a cup of MacDonald's coffee in Paris and I don't do soft drinks. There was no air conditioning and there were no comfortable seats. The only possible place to sit would have been at a counter against the windows which were being attacked by blazing sun. I wasn't that desparate to use wi-fi and to pay for the privelege of doing so while being in the middle of total chaos in uncomfortable surroundings.
 
Old Jul 27th, 2006, 01:08 PM
  #56  
 
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Neopolitan, I had much the same experience as you did with my laptop and WI-FI, with a couple of notable exceptions. The Cab-Inn at Arhus, Denmark, had a marvelous lounge with outstanding, free WI-FI access, and the terrific Portland, Oregon, airport also had great, free WI-FI access.
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Old Jul 27th, 2006, 01:18 PM
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Neopolitan, I had much the same experience as you did with my laptop and WI-FI while visiting several European cities in May, with a couple of notable exceptions. The Cab-Inn at Arhus, Denmark, had a marvelous lounge with outstanding, free WI-FI access, and the beautiful airport at Portland, Oregon, also had great free WI-FI access. The Dorint Sofitel in Berlin charged a shocking 18 euros a day for WI-FI.
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Old Jul 27th, 2006, 01:19 PM
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Seamus said:
The good signal/no internet connection thing drove me nuts, too, until I figured out how to manipulate the settings.

I would like to know more about 'manipulating the settings', if you can provide that w/o too much inconvenience. (or point me somewhere)
Thank you.
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Old Jul 27th, 2006, 02:32 PM
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They're far from perfect, but if you travel a lot there are several "roaming services" that let you sign in to thousands of "pay for access" wi-fi networks worldwide.

Obviously, you still pay a per-minute charge, but no need to pre-purchase a large number of minutes at a hotspot you will only be using briefly.

Here are 2:
www.ipass.com
www.boingo.com

I have an ipass subscription through my employer and it has come in handy, mostly at airports as well as in a few hotels. You cannot purchase ipass directly, though their site has links to resellers and many ISPs offer it as an "extra", so check with yours.

Hope this helps,
Andre
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Old Jul 27th, 2006, 02:44 PM
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Here's a better link for ipass:
http://www.ipass.com/partners/partne...erlocator.html

Hope this helps,
Andre
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