Sunday, October 22, 2006

Traveling with TyTN Wi-fi

After traveling for a week and wanting to use my TyTN for connectivity, here are my experiences with it's Wi-Fi.

First, to be clear, setting up the TyTN's Wi-Fi with my home wireless network was a cinch. Easy. Piece o' cake.

But when I got to my first airport, I found that I couldn't connect my TyTN to a Wi-Fi network that my laptop was able to see and connect to. It took me a while to find the list of networks being attempted, you need to open "WLAN settings" from the menu in the connection manager, then "Network cards" menu from there. (Now tell me, is that intuitive?) The problem in the first airport was that my TyTN was set to require WEP security, which I use at home, and it wasn't able to connect to the open network at the airport. Opening up the network at the airport (single click on the network name) and de-selecting the checkbox to require WEP was enough to make the TyTN connect to that airport's wireless network.

But in the second airport, the TyTN was able to connect, but I wasn't allowed to access anything. I figured there must be a registration form, so I opened up a random URL (the first in my favorites) in the browser, but the browser showed nothing. It seems that the Web page that this airport's network was trying to show was too complex for the TyTN browser.

In later networks, such as t-mobile networks in America, I was able to follow this procedure and get to the t-mobile sign-in page in the browser. So the process works, it's just that one airport's Web page that's too complex. Unfortunately this was Newark airport, a common airport for me to fly through (I forget which terminal).

Elsewhere in the trip, when I found truly open public Wi-fi hotspots, I was able to connect with no problem, as long as WEP was set not to be required. In a hotel that required Web page login, with a simple Web page, the process worked with no problems.

Bottom line, after learning where to find the list of networks, learning to un-require WEP, and sometimes opening up a random URL in the browser to log into a network, I found that traveling with my TyTN and connecting in hotspots worked fairly well.

The only real catch was the complex page that couldn't open in the browser in one place, and of course that some hotspots weren't free. Other than that, it's "not perfect but very good."

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