Wireless hot spots are those wonderful places where you can take your laptop or netbook and surf the web for free. “Free WI-FI” signs have gone up in a number of restaurants, cafes, libraries and other public places over the last few years to draw people who want to be able to get online. Even some fast-food restaurants now boast wireless hot spots, with McDonalds, Burger King and other restaurants jumping on board the free Wi-Fi bandwagon.
When you go somewhere with Wi-Fi like a restaurant or a café, you’re welcome to use your laptop and enjoy the service. While it’s not very good etiquette to go and order one coffee and sit there for 8 hours, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying your food and/or drink and sitting for while to use the free Wi-Fi.
Some places like Borders want you to stay for a long time. Borders is a bookstore with a built-in café where free wireless is available. Because the longer you stay in the store, the more likely you are to buy books, they’re known for their wireless hot spots and actively advertise them. Coffee shops and cafes that offer free wireless typically expect people to stay longer than they would in a typical restaurant or café because of the hot spot.
Local libraries typically have hot spots, too. You may need to ask at the desk when you go in for special password as some libraries change it each day. This is to keep people outside the library from being able to use their wireless connection. An unlocked wireless connection will often spread farther than the building, allowing people outside the business to tap into their connection for free. Most companies, however, who have wireless hot spots advertised have them set up so that they don’t reach beyond their walls far enough for that to happen.