Pick Up Free Wireless Internet Almost Anywhere

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It is actually possible to pick up free internet via WiFi in almost any city. How is this possible? 802.11 WiFi using B, G, or N in the 2.4 Gigahertz band can travel long distances however the wireless adapter in your laptop is not designed to capture it. A laptop’s wireless adapter is buried inside the case and does not have a very high output power measured in milliwatts.

Tech savvy travelers are now using long range USB wireless adapters to pick up free wireless internet almost anywhere they travel. A long range USB WiFi adapter such as the Alfa model seen below transmits a signal of over two watts and utilizes a high gain antenna which boosts the signal another 5 dB.  Using an ultra long range USB WiFi adapter such as this one you can connect to a free internet hotspot up to a mile away or more.

Many restaurants and cafes such as Starbucks have free internet and using a high power WiFi adapter you can pick these networks up several blocks away, even from inside your car if you place the adapter on the dash.

One should always use caution and avoid things like online banking when unsure of the network you are connecting to but open wireless connections can be used for searching the web, etc.  You should always try to connect to a known safe connection when conducting banking transactions, etc. There are open networks in almost every city around the world and using a super long range USB wireless adapter like the one below you can get reliable free internet almost anywhere.

Taking My Alfa High Power WiFi Adapter On A Road Trip

I’ve used the Alfa 2000 mW model below in dozens of locations, from Seattle to the Denver and Austin airports for free WiFi and have found it very useful. A long range wireless adapter makes a great gift for anyone who travels.  I have found it a good alternative to paying over $70 a month for an aircard.  In downtown Seattle, near the Amtrak station across from Qwest field, I was able to pick up free internet from over ten open wireless networks using the Alfa.  In Vancouver British Columbia near Stanley Park I could pick free wireless internet from more than a dozne open networks. By placing the adapter up on a lamp post with the suction cups I could pick up even more free WiFi networks.

Alfa Long Range USB WiFi Adapter. Click on image for details.

To get free internet access using a long range WiFi device you simply install the driver, plug in the device and place it on a windowsill, or stick it to a smooth surface with the suction cups and use the Windows wireless utility to scan for available networks. Re-scan whenever you relocate the antenna in case more networks are available. For best results place the long range WiFi adapter as high as possible. Some people even attach a super high gain directional WiFi antenna to these for very long range, though you risk violating the FCC’s power limits. You can add a directional antenna to one of these provided you follow the chart below for dB gain to output power ratio.

Maximum transmitter power versus antenna gain for directional WiFi antennas
Transmitter RF power Antenna GainM EIRP in watts
30dBm 1W 6dBi 3.98
29dBm 800mW 9dBi 6.35
28dBm 630mW 12dBi 10.14
27dBm 500mW 15dBi 15.81
26dBm 398mW 18dBi 25.23
25dBm 316mW 21dBi 40.28
24dBm 250mW 24dBi 62.79
23dBm 200mW 27dBi 100.2

Bookmark this chart showing maximum WiFi adapter output power to antenna ratio for future reference.

For more info on how to pick up free wireless internet almost anywhere see: Long Range WiFi Instructions

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