When you are in a foreign country charges for the internet connection on your phone are something that you want to avoid. Most of the time you can do this by using various apps that function offline, but sometimes you really need to connect your device to the internet. Maybe you want to Skype someone, buy tickets, or verify your email, things that are impossible to do while offline. In this case you can either use internet roaming and be charged a considerable fee, or you can connect to the next free WiFi. Finding a WiFi may prove to be challenging sometimes. Your phone will be able to scan for one, but not always with the best results. It will find WiFi’s from apartments, offices and other non public connections that you will not be able to use. In order to easily find a WiFi when you need one, you want to have an app that is capable to do this everywhere. An app that knows all available connections in the area where you are and can point you to them, an app that is not huge in size and, of course, one that is working offline.
1. WiFi Finder from JiWire Inc. (Android or iTunes) is design especially for travelers. This app is downloading a database covering 144 countries and over 650,000 WiFi locations. The app is also scanning for a spot close to you. It gives you the possibility to filter by provider, or location type, like restaurants, bars, hotels. Once you select the WiFi you want to use, it will give you the phone number for that place and directions on a map.
One problem that this app may have is the size of it’s database. You don’t have the possibility to download just the data for one city or one country alone, so it will consume quite a lot of space. This is made even worst by the fact that you can’t move the 55M of offline data on the SD card.
While the data is satisfactory most of the time, there are some places that clearly miss a lot of WiFi spots, so it’s database is still incomplete. The app remains useful in a lot of cases and is recommended for travelers, especially if you go in an area well covered by the app.
2. Skype WiFi from Skype Communications S.a.r.l (Android and iTunes), with it’s 2 million WiFi hotspots locations around the globe, is designed with the traveler in mind, providing paid internet access in various locations (hotels, bars, airports, trains stations). The internet connections can be used for any online activity and are not limited to the use of Skype application.
You have to download the free Skype WiFi app, sign in with your Skype account and connect to an WiFi hot spot. You will be charge a low per minute price that will be paid using your Skype Credit. You won’t be charged for the amount of traffic, but only for the minutes you are connected. The app will ask you every 15 minutes if you still want to remain online.
The network of hotspots is provided by third party operators, each with it’s own price. You will see the price per minute every time you chose to connect to one particular WiFi.
3. Free Zone – Free WiFi Scanner by Movile International Inc (Android) will try to keep your phone connected to an available free hotspot. It has a database with passwords for free closed public WiFi’s shared by its FreeZone community. The app is scanning for free WiFi connections and then automatically connects the phone to the best one. It can do this not only with open WiFi’s but also with free closed public networks if it has the password in it’s database. It will also show hotspots on a map.
You can share passwords for public places in order to improve access for other users. At the moment the app is aware of more then 700,000 free WiFi connections around the world, both open or closed.
Do you know other apps that are helpful in finding WiFi hotspots? Share them here