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Comprehensive Airport Wi-Fi Guide 93

An anonymous reader writes, "Travelpost has a new guide to Wi-Fi in 141 U.S. airports. The chart includes pricing information and multiple service provider info for many of the airports — something you rarely see. A good, comprehensive resource for travelers who are constantly online."
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Comprehensive Airport Wi-Fi Guide

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  • Free wifi in Capitol City! It makes a bum feel like a king. Capitol City!
  • Great guide! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by andrewman327 ( 635952 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @02:33AM (#16094532) Homepage Journal
    I really found this guide to be very useful. The author organizes by several ranking systems and color coding to show why Ceder Rapids airport is better than Washington DC- Dulles... well I guess I wouldn't go that far, but they have free Internet access!

    I am encouraged by how many free services there are out there. I am surprised anymore when I pull out my LifeDrive and find free service.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by IANAAC ( 692242 )
      It is a great guide, but I swear, slashdot is becoming nothing more than a repeater for Digg, Gizmodo and Engadget.

      Increasingly, after visiting one of these sites earlier in the day (OK, not really Digg), I come back here to read the same thing.

      Am I bitter? No, just remembering a time when I could come here and read about things I couldn't find anywhere else on the net.

      • by bumby ( 589283 )
        It may not necessarily be that slasdot has devolved, but that other sites has gotten better (and more importantly: more in numbers).
  • wow... (Score:4, Funny)

    by macadamia_harold ( 947445 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @02:35AM (#16094540) Homepage
    Travelpost has a new guide to Wi-Fi in 141 airports

    Only 141? I could have sworn that Apple had sold more wireless basestations than *that*.
    • by blanks ( 108019 )
      Auctually many of the airports use what is called a Nomadix USG (universal subscriber gateway) II.  A very nice rackmountable gateway that works well with a radius/web/sQL system for AAA (authenication, authorization , accounting).  It can also connect to a POS/hospitality system, but I dont believe many airports use this feature, thats more widely used by hotels.
  • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @02:36AM (#16094541) Homepage
    So many European airports have free wi-fi, with such good speeds if you open up a file-sharing program that missing a connection there and being delayed doesn't seem much of a problem at all. It's a pity that off the continent, in England and in the U.S., one has to pay for access.
    • So many European airports have free wi-fi, with such good speeds if you open up a file-sharing program that missing a connection there and being delayed doesn't seem much of a problem at all. It's a pity that off the continent, in England and in the U.S., one has to pay for access.

      I don't know which airports you're referring to, but I know Frankfurt does not have free wifi acess (I was there in July). Paris did not have one either (as of last year).
  • by Trillian_1138 ( 221423 ) <slashdot.fridaythang@com> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @02:38AM (#16094544)
    It wasn't clear to me how the list was ranked. Anyone have more info?

    Offtopic, I think it's disgusting how expensive short-term Internet access is. If Panera can give it away for free, don't lie through your teeth and tell me it costs $10 for 24/hr access at O'Hare, one of the busiest airports in the world. (Obviously, the answer is "I want lots of money" but that doesn't make me like it...)

    That said, it is a good list.

    • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @02:47AM (#16094564) Homepage

      If Panera can give it away for free, don't lie through your teeth and tell me it costs $10 for 24/hr access at O'Hare, one of the busiest airports in the world.

      Not only is access ridiculously expensive at O'Hare, but it seems impossible to get close enough to the access point for nice and steady access. One time while waiting for a flight, I wandered all over the place with my laptop, and never got a connection quality higher than 20/94.

      • Yeah, and forget about a decent transfer rate - my Intel Pro 2915ABG couldn't even hit 25KB/s. And it randomly disconnected.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tdvaughan ( 582870 )
      Price doesn't matter with a little know-how. NSTX [thomer.com] will break through most captive portals by tunnelling IP over DNS.
    • by Gromius ( 677157 )
      It doesnt, I'm pretty sure I paid $6.95 last time I was there (August). According to my credit card statement, it cost me 3.78 pounds so unless the dollar tanked that day, no way was it $10.

      As this is the one airport that I know the wireless price of and that its wrong in the list, I dont have much confidence in the rest of this list.

      And just before I posted this, I figured why not google it to make sure
      http://www.flychicago.com/ohare/about/ORDFAQ.shtm [flychicago.com]
      This list is wrong.
      • From the airport web site:

        An Internet Day Pass (for users with no WISP account) is $6.95, payable by credit card through this network.

        From the Guide:

        Chicago O'Hare
        ORD Concourse - $6.95 - Terminal 1's Concourses B & C, Terminal 2's Concourses E & F, Terminal 3's Concourses H & K Rosemont hotels
        Boingo - $9.95 $21.95 Concourses B & C in Terminal 1, Concourses E & F in Terminal 2, Concourses H & K in Terminal 3

        • by Gromius ( 677157 )
          Okay I didnt read the whole guide, I read the summary of the guide (hey for slashdot thats pretty good) and was replying to the parent who also said it was $10 reading it from the guide. The fact that you have to pay $10 for wireless access at ohare is incorrect. The confusion is that the guide has a summary which is wrong. If you look at the top of the guide, the "Wireless Internet in Top 20 US Airports" section, it only lists the $10 price at Ohare and makes no mention of the $6.95.
          So I appologise for s
          • it wouldn't be /. if we all did not RTFA every now and then. I agree about the summary, but the main point is when us travelers see a difference between actual vs. print we try to help correct the print. It has been a little bit since I roamed, but now I may keep my attention on wifi at airports, test the guide and send an update so to help others. Safe travels.
    • Charging $10 - $24 per hour for Internet access at airports is rather stupid. First, you have the problems of quality of service, etc. If you pay and, for whatever reason, you want your money back, it's quite inconvenient.

      However, a big problem is phishing.

      Most people are using pretty weak systems that are easy to crack or intercept. From there its just a matter of sniffing to get at least a handful of credit card numbers. The fool on the other end will think that the network or their computer is brok

    • Airport Wi-Fi is a luxury service aimed at an affluent market. $10 is nothing to businessmen with a $1500 laptop.
      • $10 is nothing to businessmen with a $1500 laptop.

        As long as he's expensing it. I mean, I ain't spending my $10 on WiFi access during a layover.
    • The list was ranked by the top airports - probably by the number of passengers or planes handled. I thought at first it was by which ones had free wireless, and was disappointed to see airports that charged on the top of the list!

      I find it entirely frustrating that not only is short-term internet access so expensive in those airports that charge for it, but it's not the same. If I'm flying from Chicago to Dallas to Tampa, I'd have to either pay twice (Chicago and Dallas) or just not use anything at all.
      • This is Sam from TravelPost.com. The Top 20 list was ranked by passengers/year. The full list is ordered alphabetically. I'll clarify that in a future update. We broken them out because we wanted to make it easy to find the popular airports, but still list all of them. By the way, my feelings are that the white house should mandate free unlimited wifi at all commercial airports, and pay for it, as a way to boost the GDP. The prez is CEO of the country, after all, and shouldn't he be concerned with maximizi
    • It's free at our airport, Greater Pittsburgh International. It's also one of the nicest airports in the country in many other ways.
    • by Alinabi ( 464689 )
      Good point. It costs $6/month and $0.1/kb to check email and browse the web from your cell phone.
      • It costs $6/month and $0.1/kb to check email and browse the web from your cell phone.
        That depends on your carrier and your plan. It costs me $15/mo and $0.00/KB to check email and browse the web from my cellphone. I'd hate to pay per-kilobyte charges -- I bet those would add up really quickly!
  • Now that they're on a roll, they can do this for those who are using airports in the rest of the world, like me. Some countries can obviously be skipped.
  • by An Ominous Cow Erred ( 28892 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @02:48AM (#16094568)
    Many airports with a Starbucks have T-Mobile Hotspot access points, for some reason they're not listed.

    For instance, at SJC (San Jose/Mineta) in Terminal C you can use T-Mobile throughout most of the pre-security areas since there is a big open Starbucks right in the middle.

    I think this also goes for airports with integral FedEx/Kinkos locations.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      You may be right. However, I think they're listing only the ones that are officially offered by the airports, rather than by vendors within the airport.

      Having said that, it might be handy to compile a list similar to what you've described.
    • Hi, We've updated the page to include the information about SJC. In general, it's hard to get the informationa bout which airports' Starbucks have T-Mobile access, but we're continuing to add more info as we get it. I appreciate any tips and updates! Best, -sam
  • The Atlanta column (Score:3, Informative)

    by ottffssent ( 18387 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:03AM (#16094601)
    Their table doesn't seem to include some important information. For example, is the wifi run by idiots (*cauatlantagh*) and blocks only outgoing traffic to port 80?

    If the Anchorage AK airport can give away free wifi (and you know Ted Stevens personally trucked all those bits up to the frigid north), I'm sure as hell not paying some git $10 a day for it. Not when (s)he can't be bothered to block IMAP and SSH. HINT: If I don't even /notice/ you're trying to get me to pay for access until I've been using it for 20 minutes, you're doing something wrong.
    • The airport in my city used to block (and subsequently redirect) all ports except 53/udp for some reason. When I discovered I could make direct DNS queries against my own nameserver, I setup a pppd with a netcat running on 53/udp. Weeee! Free wifi! Somebody fixed it though.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      For the record, I'm one of the developers for the company who provides the Wifi service to the Atlanta aiport. As much as I'd like to take the bait on your comment about the incompetency of the department that runs the aiport, I'll refrain from that.

      The part about only port 80 being blocked was, as I understood it, intentional and requested by the airport. They only want HTTP-type traffic blocked, and are fine with letting others check their email, etc. Yes, it allows people to proxy their connection on no

    • The last time I flew through Atlanta was a few years ago, but I recall using my laptop in one of those "business booths", and IIRC the wireless offered by the same company was as open as the wired connection. Anyway, did you try to get your money back? I'd never pay $10 just to surf the net.
  • Comprehensive? (Score:5, Informative)

    by foo12 ( 585116 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:22AM (#16094649)
    I'd hardly call the list comprehensive --- it seems to only list the companies which the airports have contracted to provide wireless. There's a lot it doesn't list. Another poster already mentioned T-Mobile near Starbucks but the list doesn't mention, for example, that most of Terminal 1 at ORD is blanketed by T-Mobile coverage thanks to their partnership with United's Red Carpet Club. Or that in many airports it's possible to get a free wifi signal from Continental's lounges.
  • I happen to know that SNA has free wireless accessible. I fly out of there about twice a month and always have my laptop with me. It would surprise me if it was operating from outside the airport - it's a massive complex.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Bucc5062 ( 856482 )
      That's great to know. Have you told the guide people yet?

      From their site:

      Methodology The information in this chart was collected and compiled by TravelPost.com's editorial team. All information was accurate at time of publication, but providers and airports may change their pricing at any time. Pricing and coverage area information presented here was obtained from the service providers' web sites, supplied by the service providers' official representatives or confirmed directly with airport personnel. T
      • Perhaps the submission's title of Comprehensive Airport Wi-Fi Guide led me to believe that they thought their listing to be accurate. No need to scold me for pointing out that it's not. The point is that if they are wrong about SNA, who knows whether or not they are correct about other airports?

        In any case, next time I fly out of John Wayne, I'll make a note of who is providing the free wireless and inform TravelPost.
        • "No need to scold me for pointing out that it's not. " Point taken. I think it is a case of the slashdot summary not balanced with the article or web site...who could imagine that on slashdot :-) sorry for the wrong tone of my written voice.
        • This is Sam from TravelPost.com. Thank you for the great feedback - we're listening and have incorporated a lot of feedback from people who have come to the site. We changed John Wayne to a free airport based on your feedback. Also, we put some qualifiers by "comprehensive" - with something as broad and dynamic as wifi in airports, it's hard to be comprehensive, but that's our goal and mission. Thanks again for your help. -sam
    • by treeves ( 963993 )
      Mod parent funny. "Not completely accurate" is right. SNA is a massive complex? I think Burbank airport is bigger!

      I love PDX!
  • Internode has just set up free wireless access in Adelaide and Darwin Airports.
    Here are some links to their press releases:
    http://www.internode.on.net/about/news/20060814-da rwinairport.htm [on.net]
    http://www.internode.on.net/about/news/20051009-ad elaideairport.htm [on.net]
  • Good usage (Score:1, Offtopic)

    It seems to me that all those pieces of "hardware" just need your PC DC current from the USB port.
    A very nice advance in technology!

  • by John Miles ( 108215 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @04:07AM (#16094729) Homepage Journal
    As of last week, PHX's free WiFi connectivity works very well for general surfing, but they block VPN connections. That makes it more or less useless for many business travellers. I've been meaning to track down the people responsible and ask them why in the world they'd do that.
    • by pikine ( 771084 )

      I've never been to PHX, but if they use private IP addresses like 10.*.*.* and use NAT to provide connectivity, then VPN might not work for several possible reasons:

      1. Their NAT implementation doesn't know how to track connections for GRE packets, needed for PPTP.
      2. Most NAT cannot deal with IPsec packets, because NAT requires modifying source and destination IP addresses in a packet, and this violates packet integrity for IPsec. You can probably use UDP wrapper instead.
      3. IPsec needs to be configured for NAT t
      • NAT-T is made to handle points 2 - 4. The native IPSec ESP packet is encapsulated with UDP on port 4500. Obviously this needs to be supported by both the VPN client & server, however the intermediate network shouldn't need to care.
  • cracking the crypto keys on any of these airports' networks and trying to get free access? Even MAC-filtering can be fooled, so how are these networks tied down?

    Just an innocent question.
    • They dont have any encryption or Mac filtering on these systems. Last time I tried anyone can connect and then any page you goto redirects you to a page asking you to sign in or sign up for an account(paying with a credit card). Basicly it gives you access to a proxy server that you have to go through.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Is the guide for those who wish to leech onto the free wi-fi provided by many of the frequent flyer lounges - for their customers, that is. Eg, "Gate A12 in Terminal X at ******** Airport is exactly below the American Airlines lounge......good signal, lotsa geeks hanging out, may have to share a wall plug for juice, etc".........:)

    Kinda the hitchhiker's guide to the wi-fi galaxy.......sorry, someone had to say it..>:)

    • Ha! The one time I got to fly Bizness class the lamers didn't even have Wifi in their business lounge in Frankfurt Nor a bathroom where you could take a shower, which after ~16 hours travelling with ~8 to go, is probably a higher priority. Makes you wonder why you paid them all that money.
  • it is awesome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by atarione ( 601740 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @05:24AM (#16094888)
    that we can get wifi throughout most airports in america (well assuming we will pay for it) but we can not brush our teeth once past security since our fucking toothpaste has been confiscated.)

    god fly sucks now.
  • I'm writing right now from a free wi-fi AP from internode inside the Adelaide Airport in South Australia! At least, it's as free as they make it: No SMTP/MSN/any protocol apart from 80.
  • So, now with the "you're-not-allowed-to-bring-anything-whatsoever-o nto-the-plane", you won't really bring your notebook into the terminals. So what's the use of those wireless connections, ehe?
  • by CFD339 ( 795926 ) <andrewpNO@SPAMthenorth.com> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @07:19AM (#16095135) Homepage Journal
    If you travel enough to need this guide, you don't want just a connection in airports. You want it in taxis, hotel lobbies, customer sites that don't allow network use for external people, restaurants, malls, and parks.

    I also want it at soccer practice fields where I'm waiting for my kids, as with Karate dojos and the the like.

    Finally, I don't want to have to hunt down and sign up for multiple providers -- many of whom I'm very unsure about. I've seen crackers at airports with fake airport wifi sites set up.

    It's not terribly cheap -- but compared to multiple pay as you go places it it's not bad. Practical speed is about 800k/sec download and way less upload (60k or so) which is exagerated but typical consumer bandwidth black hole hell. Not good for file sharing up loads, but that's not what I use it for.

    Most important -- it is reasonably secure (at least I know where I'm calling), reasonably fast, and available most places now (though there are some big holes that piss me off, like MAINE.)
  • by Octorian ( 14086 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @07:49AM (#16095203) Homepage
    I ranted about this a while back in my blog [blogspot.com]. Basically using laptops in airports has 2 problems. Power and internet access. Neither of these has a good solution.

    For power, there are nowhere near enough outlets. What little outlets you can find, are always either taken, or otherwise have people sitting around them blocking your access. This is the most annoying problem of all, since what you really want to do at an airport is top off your battery before the flight. Why? Well, even though some morons say "all airplanes now have DC power jacks", the truth is that almost none of them do. (the last time I found one was on an Orlando->Atlanta flight, which is under an hour, and pointless, and found none on the trans-atlantic flight that followed)

    For internet access, everyone wants to nickel and dime you for service. This really bugs me, because while $6.95/day may seem like a fair price, I'm only there for an hour or two. (and the extended plans are useless unless I frequent the same exact trip regularly) All I really want is a quick E-Mail check, and maybe an IM or two. Thankfully, I can do that with my cell phone now. By the time I get lunch/dinner, get my laptop out, find power, discover their blocked access points, it's 20 minutes until boarding.
    • what you really want to do at an airport is top off your battery before the flight. Why? Well, even though some morons say "all airplanes now have DC power jacks", the truth is that almost none of them do.

      This is true, and the "plane connector" is quite rare. However, many planes have headphone jacks, and apparently someone has made a device that leeches power from those! I saw this in a sky mall magazine (bleh) but if it works it would be cool. Not enough to power your laptop, but it might charge your

    • For power, there are nowhere near enough outlets. What little outlets you can find, are always either taken

      Which is why one should always carry a small power strip.

  • guide is wrong (Score:3, Informative)

    by minus_273 ( 174041 ) <aaaaaNO@SPAMSPAM.yahoo.com> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @08:13AM (#16095268) Journal
    I just looked at logan airport in boston and they say verizon at 7.95/day when in reality it is comcast and free (guess how i am posting this)...

    • Uhh... are you sure you're connected to the airport's wi-fi? ;-)
  • hmm.... they are probably all free! for dns! -Tom
  • iPass (Score:3, Informative)

    by necro81 ( 917438 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:27AM (#16095618) Journal
    Thankfully, my company outfits its laptops with iPass Connect [ipass.com], which gets me access to just about any fee-for-service aiport hotspot in the U.S., and quite a few other locations, too. This has been particularly useful in airports: let iPass find the network and log on, fire up the VPN, and let my company pick up the tab. Nevermind that most of what I then do with the connection is random surfing.

    I'll also note that my dinky local airport, which has all of four gates, has free wifi access. Unfortunately, it didn't make the list for some reason.
  • They list HNL as having a pay connection, but when I was there in February I found a free network at the Hawaiian Airlines gate. I don't know if it was run by the airport or the airline.
  • So you have this wifi in the airports but you can't use it because the computer you are using could be a bomb or used to trigger a bomb or used to tell someone else to trigger the bomb or used at a particulare tramsmition frequency to interferre wiith the aircraft controls aor even to take over the controls and fly said plane into a building. So giving free wifi is great and the costs are minimal because no one is allowed a computer in the airport to use it.
    • by Dewser ( 853519 )
      Not true at all. Flew out of Bradley in CT 2 weeks ago and while my wife and I waited to board, I plopped down on the floor in the terminal and checked /. :D Worked great. There were a number of us there doing that and Bradley even has outlets in the floor so you can wait in your lines at Southwest and not use your battery. Signal was good too.

      We flew into Orlando and on our way back to Hartford I hopped on to the Orlando WiFi in the terminal. In both situations I had no problem getting my laptop throu
      • Modem airliners are fly by wire. Soon they will be fly by air (radio), and of course it will be shielded and encrypted so that extraneous noise does not interfere with it. But, some crack pot terrorist will come up with the idea (ala liquid binary explosives) that if he had a scanner build into his laptop he could use it on the plane to locate the frequency and then use code cracking software to decode packets and then take over the controls of the plane and fly it into a building. They will be caught, so
  • Unlike what the summary suggests, purchasing access ad hoc is a very poor way to get access at airports. It's expensive. Rather, people who frequent airports or travel often are better served by subscriptions, available from a number of providers (T-Mobile, for example, is pretty easy to find hotspots in major cities).

    Another option for these people is a bluetooth-enabled phone with EVDO or some other 3G/4G wireless capability. I just got a Sprint PPC-6700 and love it. I have the unlimited data plan, an
  • It's good to know so many places offer free Wi-Fi. I'll refer back to this page next time I choose a layover so I don't get screwed like the last time I went through Dallas.

    However, I seem to always run into problems finding power near a place to sit for my battery-challenged laptop. An airport guide for this would be super-handy. Sure, if I want to sit on the floor or unscrew floor outlets I have a number of options, but I'd rather have a comfy chair with wall power and good Wi-Fi coverage. Heck, I mig
  • This is Sam Shank, founder of TravelPost.com, and I wanted to thank everyone for the great feedback we've received, both in this thread and directly to our site. We're listening! and we've made several updates to the page (the last one a few minutes ago) that addresses many of the comments raised here. We'll be vigorously updating and maintaining this page as a resource to travelers, as well as expanding the range of information provided. Thanks again, and travel well!

I've got a bad feeling about this.