The Perils of Public WiFi: Helpful Hints

The Perils of Public WiFi: Helpful Hints

Using Public WiFi has risks

If you have to travel for business, you may find yourself constantly searching for WiFi.  Trains, hotels, airports, long flights etc., can make it difficult to remain consistently connected to the internet in order to work remotely.   These days, even if you’re not a road warrior (someone on a lot of business trips) you’ll find yourself on WiFi a lot.  Why?  

• Companies are getting rid of cables and manufacturers are including antennas in devices more and more.

• Offices are throwing out cubicles and adopting open plans. 

• WiFi is cheaper to implement as you just install base stations.

The challenge is that many people, including some IT people, don’t understand the technology and limitations of WiFi, which in turn causes issues with their devices.  

A few important points regarding WiFi:

Reliability:

Wireless networks are not as reliable as using a LAN cable.  Speeds vary depending on your environment, internet provider, and the hardware limitations around you.  

Many hotels and coffee shops have not engineered their WiFi network properly and its common for them to lack bandwidth. Bad WiFi equals choppy phone calls and a lousy internet experience. 

  • WiFi can be affected by numerous variables:
    • number of users connected
    • electrical currents
    • building composition
    • even the weather!

Cyber Security

WiFi broadcasts to everyone, so if you are on the same WiFi internet access as other people, you could possibly be attacked or hacked by them.  Public WiFi in cafes, restaurants, and hotels are some of the most insecure.  Frankly, it’s a huge liability. 

What you can do:

Use a VPN service (Company VPN or consumer version such as Express VPN, Nord VPN, etc)  to encrypt your connection especially when using Public WiFi to protect your personal info and that of your business & clients.  Also choose a VPN server that is as close as possible to your locale to maximize connection speed.  

For business travelers, be aware of surroundings. Hotel lobbies and bars have loads of people more than likely bogging down the WiFi connection downloading videos from Netflix.  Better to visit a café or hotel business center during non-peak hours i.e. early morning or in the evening. 

WiFi is a necessity both for business and at home.  If you understand wireless technology limitations, you’ll be better prepared to optimize your internet experience especially if you’re on the move. 

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