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Even though WiFi isn’t everywhere there are enough hotspots (locations with a WiFi internet access point) in places RVers go to make it worthwhile having the capability to use it.
Certainly fee-based hotspots will be around for the next few years but it seems WiFi is becoming just another free amenity.
Free hotspots are also offered by other retail businesses that feel the service sets them apart from their competition and attracts customers. Even Starbucks now provides free WiFi if you’re willing to buy a cup of coffee. If you are an AT&T DSL subscriber you don’t even have to buy the coffee… but you should anyway. Panera Bread Cafes, McDonalds, are just some of the places you can find free WiFi.
Wi-Fi is also frequently offered by public agencies… libraries, schools, public parks, etc. In many areas, WiFi users themselves are working together to provide free hotspots to the community.
Of special interest to RVers are the many RV parks which are installing Wi-Fi as a guest amenity. As with other hotspots some parks have a charge and others offer Wi-Fi for free.
Some RV parks are installing Wi-Fi access points in their activity centers and other common areas but others are covering the entire park so that guests can have access at their site.
You only need to know the SSID (service set identifier) for the park’s network and your computer with installed Wi-Fi will be able to join the park’s wireless network. Your Wi-Fi utility will tell if an Access Point is in range and what it’s SSID is.
You should be able to join the network without problems. If the service is free then your good to start surfing and downloading your email.
If the RV park charges a fee to use the WiFi you’ll know as soon as you try to surf the net with your browser. Fee based hotspots almost always use a Captive Portal which simply means that you will only be able to see the hotspot provider’s web page which will offer a way to pay for internet access. Just follow the instructions on the web page to make your payment and get online.
There are two major hotspot service providers that specialize in providing fee-based WiFi internet to RV parks, Tengo Internet and LinkSpot. Each has a directory of the parks they service.
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