Hot Spots Are *Hot*
By Eric Lin, Thu Sep 18 21:00:00 GMT 2003

Wireless data is more crucial than ever in our society of mobile warriors, business travelers, telecommuters and just about anyone else with a Wi-Fi card. Everyone's so desperate to get online that wireless hotspots are practically trendy now.

A year ago about the only way to find a Wi-Fi hotspot was either to walk (or drive) around with a stumbler running, or to look one up from a hotspot provider's website. There was no way to find out every access point nearby, or even what would be available in an area you planned to visit. Now that Wi-Fi is everywhere, helping people find hotspots is the hip thing to do.

Last year a few websites cropped up to help local residents find open nodes in places like Boston, New York or San Francisco. Typically they were sloppy lists of open nodes in people's homes, so they weren't exactly places you could go relax and do some work. Early this year Sean Savage created a map of cafes in San Francisco offering free Wi-Fi. He opened the map up to comments allowing visitors to add other locations and soon the number of locations listed doubled in just a few months. Some visitors even left comments about the food, coffee or atmosphere as a helpful guide to fellow road warriors.

Next week the New Yorker will arrive in subscriber's mailboxes with a Zagat supplement to Wi-Fi hotspots in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle in celebration of Intel's One Unwired Day on Septemeber 25. The guide, available in PDF, is by no means complete, but it lists a few posh places to grab a drink or a good night's stay while catching up on email. For a more complete list of hot spots as well as more cities, visit JiWire. This site lists all T-Mobile, Boingo, and Surf and Sip locales in the US as well as a number of independent nodes at cafes and restaurants.