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Testing my new WiFi finder

by Tris Hussey on December 20th, 2006

I got my b5 media WiFi finder (as in I got it through the mass buying power of b5) yesterday.  I’ve been wanting a WiFi finder for a long time.  Recently I’ve been doing a good bit of wandering around and wanted to find places to connect without turning my machine on.

Yesterday I did my first field test of it.  I drove into town (I also wanted to show Lorraine) and clicked it on the way and at the Driftwood Centre (that’s town).  Since I had already done a little war drive from home to there, I had a pretty good idea where it should give me green lights vs red.

Testing at home gave the expected results, yes there is WiFi and yes the signal is good.  Road testing, ditto.  Centre testing, same.  I did this all without the laptop, just for fun.

Today I really put it to the test, armed with my laptop I decided to work in town.  This is where it, and most other WiFi finders, failed me.  It doesn’t distinguish between open APs and closed (locked with a password).  I’ve only seen a couple WiFi dectors that gave more information than the basic green and red (green being present, usually there is an indication of the strength and red nothing around). One seems to be off the market and the other is also a USB WiFi adapter, which is overkill for most people, IMHO.  The strongest AP that I found, in the bakery, is locked and they don’t allow public access to it.  So I’ve enjoyed a coffee and a sweet while I’m writing this.

That being said, this WiFi detector has the key features you need.  It’s small (maybe too small), runs on batteries (although it’s those expensive Lithium disc ones … I’d have rather it used a AAA that I can recharge) and is easy to read.

When I head into town next (like tomorrow), I’ll give it even more testing.  Of course I always have to be willing to gamble that the WiFi found isn’t WiFi that I can use.  That being said, I have found some places where I can get free WiFi, a good coffee, and a snack (I think it’s only polite to spend some money in a place that offers free WiFi).

BTW, WiFi detectors are small, inexpensive stocking stuffers for the geek in your life.

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POSTED IN: Cool tools

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