I have played around with a software called Easy WiFi Radar on my notebook for quite some time; it is probably the easiest way to find and use open wireless connections. The main advantage of the tool is its simplicity. All that needs to be done on the part of the user is to click the button of the application to start it.
The program has been designed for Windows XP, and it won't work on newer versions of the Windows operating system according to its author. Keep that in mind before downloading and installing it on your system.
Note: Easy WiFi Radar is designed for Windows XP. Download WiFi Inspector instead if work with a device that runs on a newer version of Microsoft Windows.
The application displays a radar like image with different colors dots. Green dots mark free wireless connections while red and yellow ones inaccessible ones. Once a green spot has been discovered by the software it automatically tries to connect to that Wireless access point so that you can access the Internet.
The program opens the default browser, loads a test website to determine whether Internet connectivity is available after connecting to the wireless hotspot.
A message is shown that highlights whether the connection was successful or not. It is really amazing how easy it is to find open wireless access points wherever you are. Should be harder if you are living in a rural area though, but the program picks up wireless hotspots quickly nevertheless.
I would not advise to check the mail from such a spot though unless encryption is being used. It's not likely but possible that someone is using the open access point to snoop on the data of anyone who is connecting to it. Easy WiFi radar is available for Windows and Pocket PCs.
You may want to connect to a VPN service before you do anything else to protect your connection from anyone with access.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.