The arrival of summer, with its long days and sweltering temperatures, makes us want to strip off and get outside. Luckily, having internet access isn’t dependent on where we are. Thanks to our smartphones and the 3G/4G networks available, we can now check our emails, get WhatsApp notifications, and surf the net wherever we are.
On the downside, our mobile tariffs usually limit our data usage. If we exceed that limit, we’re either charged per additional megabyte used (probably something extortionate), or our browsing speed is reduced to a frustratingly slow crawl.
If you want to get to the end of the month without going over your data limit, you should follow our practical advice, and give these Android apps a try too. These little beauties will help you find and connect to any free Wi-Fi hotspot, public or private, in your area.
Osmino Wi-Fi by RIWW is one of the best apps in the category. It lets you find free Wi-Fi access points on the map and then filter out the perfect one (by public or private, the rating, or if it’s password protected). You can also use Google Maps to get directions to your chosen Wi-Fi hotspot and, once connected, you can run a speed test and check that it’s good enough for you.
Osmino Wi-Fi has got a bunch of extra features too; usage statistics, an advert blocker, and home screen widgets. As if that wasn’t enough, you can also find Wi-Fi hotspots using augmented reality (as you can see in the photo above). All of that, along with a meticulous, minimalist design puts this one at the top of the list.
Free Zone by Movile also helps you find Wi-Fi hotspots close by, and lays them all out neatly on the map so you can choose easily. You’ve also got a speed test to hand, and the option to automatically connect to the strongest signal and simply ignore the weaker ones.
The best thing about this one, however, is the list of passwords which users have compiled themselves (yes, that’s real crowdsourcing for you!).
Don’t freak out! Those passwords haven’t been falsified or stolen. They’re the passwords from the free W-iFi networks (restaurants, hotels, museums, etc.) that users have previously connected to, with the owner’s consent, of course. And now they’re all listed here, for your convenience. It’ll save you time asking for it yourself!
WiFi Map is similar to Free Zone when it comes to its features. Just like the previous app, you can find hotspots on the map and there’s also a list of crowdsourced passwords which the users can add to directly.
The difference with this app, though, is that Wi-Fi Map gives us much more information about the business that is providing the Wi-Fi access (whether it’s a coffee shop, a hotel, a supermarket, etc.). To top it all off, you can download city maps so you can still see the hotspots even when you aren’t connected.
WiFi Map also boasts of being the app with the largest database of Wi-Fi hotspots from all around the world. This is the one for those frequent travelers who simply cannot live without a WiFi connection.
Let’s say you’re in the city center and the previous apps have found you a staggering number of hotspots. What are you gonna do? There’s no need to connect to each one to run a speed test in order to see which signal is best. WiFi Analyzer by Farproc is a great app which shows the strength of WiFi signals around you on a nice, easy-to-read graph.
You’ll get to see all the hotspots on a graph, in different colors, and watch the strength of them change; live, as it happens! OK, so it’s not the Super Bowl, but if you move, you’ll see the graphs change depending on whether you’ve got closer to the router or not. Choose whichever connection seems strongest and that’s the surefire way to get the maximum speed possible!