Public WiFi not being taken on by public because it's too confusing

10 November 2011

public wifiChances are, when you're out-and-about, you use 3G when browsing online on your phone. That's because free WiFi is a massive pain in the rear, thanks in large to awkward log-in systems.

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (composed mainly of operators with WiFi hotspot networks) have compiled a report which notes that there is a big increase in the amount of hotspots being rolled out. However, people are not embracing them because of the logging-in process being such a chore. New, simpler authentication technologies aren't being rolled out quickly enough.

"The findings show we are about to enter the golden age of public WiFi, with hotspot deployments set to soar," Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) chair and BT Openzone chief Chris Bruce said in a statement. "Fixed operators are extending broadband services beyond the home and office, and WiFi is supporting busy mobile broadband networks."

"Laptops now represent less than half (48 percent) of the connections to hotspots, with smartphones now encompassing 36 percent and tablets already on 10 percent," the report stated.

Unfortunately, currently we have to log-in to hotspots manually, and despite being a largely tech-savvy country, the system is so clunky that people are avoiding using the dense networks available. Nokia said last week that they'll be offering free WiFi in London that requires no log-on, but this needs to be spread across the country.

What do you do when accessing the internet when out and about? Openzone is a pain to use and Fon isn't exactly user friendly is it?

TOPICS:   Technology   Mobile


  • chadwell
    The problem is - when you connect to free WiFi using a smartphone, you inevitably start an app like Facebook or twitter. And then start scratching your head when you get an error message such as "unable to retrieve data at this time". "WTF Johnny" you might say. Its only then you realise that you have to open your phones browser, tick some check box and agree to some terms and conditions, before you can actually do anything. Only then will the app work. You should be able to connect to the WiFi in your phones settings, and that should be it. Instant browsing.
  • roge
    public wifi never works is the problem - too many people trying to use it so no-one is able to use it agree with chadwell also that logging on is a pain - u should just click on the wifi u want to join - fill in the necessary details straight away and then thats it
  • jo
    Also I've noticed the ones at airports become even more confusing since they are often only in one language making it very difficult to follow the instructions.
  • Zleet
    Instead of a login page the start page on free wifi should just be a custom version of google like firefox has. I'm sure enough customers would pass through to check prices and end up buying something that it would cover any costs and perhaps make a profit and you wouldn't have any issues with complicated logins.
  • Mark H.
    If you care about security then you shouldn't use public WiFi because it's just asking for trouble.
  • captain c.
    openzone is awful, It connects successfully so rarely that I have given up even trying now; 9 times out of 10 it would say it was connected, but refuse to pass any data.
  • Ben
    Firstly, Public wi-fi is as secure as your home network, you clot. Just because it's in public, the info is encrypted the same way. If anything, it's more secure as no one can fucking use it. BT Openzone helpfully tells me I don't have wifi included in my O2 package. That's when I can access it, rather than it auto-accepting, and not parsing data. There needs to be an automatic small pop up dialog box that says "log into free wifi - click here for terms and conditions - clicking yes indicates your acceptance of these YES or NO" and then on with your mobile RedTube viewing in the middle of Starbucks.
  • Zleet
    @Ben Not really, most people don't know how to enable https in Facebook so its pretty easy to sniff peoples accounts on an open wifi hotspots and update their statuses on their sudden change to loving cock or feeling a bit lesbiany.
  • Mark H.
    @ Ben Well this clot seems to know more about open Wi Fi access than you seem to - you arse. Most free Wi Fi does not use a secure connection so anyone can sniff your data or even hack onto your laptop if you're extra lucky. Plus how do you even know that the open Wi Fi you connect to is genuine, secure or otherwise. If you sit in Starbucks would you happily connect to a Wi Fi router called 'Starbucks'? What about the bloke sat in his car outside with his own Wi Fi network set up called 'Starbucks' which is grabbing everyone's data? I say again - you're an arse.

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