Wi-Fi to go

I only recently succumbed to the lure of the full-on smart phone. I found data plans outrageously expensive (they’re much more palatable now) and, frankly, living in dowtown Toronto without much urge to go too far afield, I found it easy enough to hop from free Wi-Fi hotspot to free Wi-Fi hotspot throughout the downtown core.
Get out of urban downtown areas, though, and your odds of keeping connected through free Wi-Fi plunge dramatically. Jon Jacobi’s guide to drive-by Wi-Fi in TechHive outlines some good options for those tooling across the U.S. (the Wi-Fi finder apps mentioned at the bottom are also relevant to Canadian users), but we need a similar guide for Canada’s vast landscape.
For those travelling the Windsor-to-Kingston corridor, there are three reliable and ubiquitous Wi-Fi sources. Virtually every hamlet off the highway advertises a Tim Hortons, and the doughnut-and-coffee chain has increasing numbers of Wi-Fi equipped outlets. There are almost as many Mcdonald’s restaurants as there are Timmies, and 1,000 franchises of the burger chain are Wi-Fi-equipped.
Then there are the highway-side On Route centres. There are 14 in Ontario dotting the sides of expressways, offering gas, food, drink and, you guessed it, free Wi-Fi access  to the road-weary. You’ll come upon one of these pretty reliably every 70 to 100 kilometres along the 401.
What are your most reliable free Wi-Fi outlets? Post them in the comments area below, and perhaps we’ll pull the posts together for a rough guide in a future issue of ComputerWorld Canada to avoiding data roaming charges.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Dave Webb
Dave Webb
Dave Webb is a freelance editor and writer. A veteran journalist of more than 20 years' experience (15 of them in technology), he has held senior editorial positions with a number of technology publications. He was honoured with an Andersen Consulting Award for Excellence in Business Journalism in 2000, and several Canadian Online Publishing Awards as part of the ComputerWorld Canada team.

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