Wi-Fi: Guide to the main networks, Wi-Fi hotspot finders, how to log on, app downnload links, staying secure, avoiding spam etc. etc.

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How to stay Secure

  • A good tip for remaining secure when using wifi hotspots is to use a VPN (virtual private network) where your IP address remains hidden. The Opera browser has a VPN that you can download for your phone Here >

Passpoint aka Hotspot 2.0 free WiFi hotspots

  • There are now many “Passpoint”, otherwise known as Hotspot 2.0 free WiFi hotspots that your smartphone or tablet will connect to automatically when within range. (coffee shops, banks, pubs, restaurants etc). You will need to register once only to access all Passpoint WiFi hotspots. Check that your device supports 802.11u. Devices that do are Apple phones running iOS7 and up, some Samsung Galaxy models and phones running Windows 10 Redstone (from late 2016). From 2017 onwards, phones that run on Android Oreo may support 802.11u. (Each phone manufacturer using Android Oreo has the option to configure it or not). The idea is that you can then “roam” from one to the other in the same way that you roam from one cell mast to another. You register using your phone while in range of a Passpoint hotspot. In your home high street try walking up and down a bit, tapping “Wifi” and then looking for “Passpoint” something or other. Note: I read that with Passpoint enabled, the phone may switch automatically from a strong cell signal to a weak WiFi signal when you are in range, which can be very annoying it seems. So if you switch on Passpoint, you may want to find out how to disable it when you want to. (This would also apply to other networks) I have not been able to find a Passpoint hotspot finder on the internet (February 2018) so my advice is to go into your home town high street where there are plenty of various WiFi networks and just walk about a bit looking at your phone's WiFi settings until your phone tells you that a Passpoint or Hotspot 2.0 is in range, then follow your phone's prompts to register. This one time registration will then let your phone connect to any Passpoint Wifi hotspot automatically. This would apply to the other networks as well.
  • Beware Spam!

  • Some Passpoint or other WiFi network hotspots require you to give them your email address and other details in order to login so that they can spam you later with offers. The Clock Tower mall in Rugby does this and I have it on fairly good authority that a mickey mouse, fictitious email address will get you in because there is no email verification of login details. Or you could use an email address from a free online mail service like hotmail or gmail just for this, in case there is a verification sent to your email address.

Free O2 network of WiFi hotspots

  • Here are the simple steps needed to get free access to the O2 network of WiFi hotspots if you don't have an O2 device. You will need to be in an O2 hotspot to proceed. You can find your nearest O2 hotspot here
  • Once registered, your phone will connect automatically when you are in range of any O2 hotspot.

Free BT network of WiFi hotspots

  • Access is free to all BT broadband customers, and EE and Vodafone customers that run iOS and Android operating systems.
  • BT have a system whereby phone users can also piggyback on the signal of BT installed landline routers anywhere in the country.
  • The BT Wi-fi app is available for smartphones and tablets that run iOS and Android operating systems.
  • This page tells you how to connect free with an Apple phone
  • This page tells you how to connect free with a phone running Android.
  • For iOS download the app from here
  • For Android download the app from here for Android.
  • You can find BT WiFi hotspots here

Free Sky network, “the Cloud”, of WiFi hotspots

  • The network is only available on Apple and Android devices.
  • Most hotspots are free. Some venues require an activation code. Get this from a member of staff . Enter the code in the login screen when prompted.
  • A few hotspots have time limits and some require payment but you will be notified with prompts if payment is needed so payment can't be taken without your permission.
  • This how to connect: When you are in range of a Sky hotspot, Check your WiFi is on, select “the Cloud” from the available network list. Open browser and follow on screen instructions to register or log on. Once registered you will connect automatically and you only need to register once to be connected automatically whenever you are in range of a Sky hotspot but you will need to use your username and password to log on.
  • You may get spam from Sky. Click “unsubscribe” at the bottom of the “offers” page to stop receiving it.
  • Here is the official FAQs page for Sky WiFi. Hereis the Sky hotspots finder on the web You can also download a finder app for your phone:
  • Android Sky finder android app
  • Apple Sky finder ios app download

Virgin WiFi hotspots network

  • The service is only available to Virgin Media, Virgin Media broadband, Virgin Mobile, EE, Vodadphone, O2 and Three
  • You have to download an app You are then logged on automatically whenever you are in range of a Virgin hotspot.
  • Virgin is currently (2018) rolling out a system whereby Virgin Media customers with the app can piggyback on the signal of Virgin installed home routers. (BT also does this) People with home routers could opt out of this system at the initial roll out in 2015 but they couldn't then use the Virgin WiFi network for their phones. It's not clear if this is still the case. This “piggyback” roll out has fairly limited geographical coverage at the time of writing in 2018.
  • From reading customer feedback, there seem to be software conflicts with other WiFi networks registered on the phones when the app is used. If you are reading this in 2019 these glitches will probably have been ironed out I imagine.
  • I couldn't find a Virgin Wifi hotspot finder on the web at the time of writing this. There is a finder on the app.
  • Virgin WiFi is on the London underground, trains stations, most airports, in Cafe Nero, Wagamama, the Zizi Italian restaurant chain,

Troubleshooting (not connecting etc):