Connecting in a hotel, restaurant, airport, or other merchant
Have you ever taken your laptop on a trip and the hotel has wireless? Or maybe gone to a coffee shop with wireless? How do you connect to that network? Usually it is extremely easy to do.
If you are in a hotel, restaurant, coffee shop, etc. that offers free wireless you can connect to that wireless network in just a few minutes or less. Here's how:
1. Open your laptop and power it up, if it isn't on already.
2. Assuming wireless is on, and set to automatically connect to networks, you should be asked if you want to connect to "name" network. Name would be the business's network. Say yes, and if it is a free and unprotected network you are almost done. If it is not you want to go to System Preferences from the Apple Menu and choose Network. Click the advanced button and turn your Airport on. You can also access these settings from the Airport Menu near the clock in the menubar . (figure 1)
Different versions of OSX have these settings in different places. They are usually linked to one another, but your best bet might be going through the Airport menu.
3. Most of these networks have a user agreement you have to agree to before using the internet. It might look like you are connected, but you won't be able to get far. Open Safari, or your browser of choice, and instead of your normal homepage an agreement page should pop up. Once you agree to the terms and conditions your should be free to surf the internet, check email, use iTunes to buy music, etc. Keep in mind, the network might have restrictions on downloading, so you might not be able to do everything you normally would.
4. If the network is not free you might have another step. For example, a couple of years ago I stayed at a hotel with pay per 24 hours internet access. I had to follow step 3 above, but on the hotel's agreement page I also had to enter credit card information and choose how many days of service I wanted to pay for. These services are usually very expensive. In my case I chose one 24 hour period of the week. Once I paid, I was good to go.
5. Some places require you to be paying members for internet access, like some coffee shops. If you are not a member of the internet provider you won't be able to use the service. Most hotels are not this way. In my experience they are free or pay as you go.
One note: Keep in mind you might have to agree to the agreement every time you use the computer. IF you are trying to check email and it isn't working open you browser and make sure you don't have to agree again.
Stay tuned for part two of this article: Connecting to another person's private network.