5 rules for using coffee shop WiFi

In order to compete with the likes of the chain coffee shops and now fast food joints, just about every coffee shop or small restaurant is supplying its clients with free WiFi. Unfortunately, there are people who don’t understand the rules of life as far as “give and take” in that you’ve got to give a little to get a little; they, unfortunately just take. They’re WiFi-sucking vampires who have no class and sit there for five hours and buy nothing.

You can’t walk into a coffee shop today and not see some guy taking up a table for four hours. He invariably has a laptop, tablet, mobile phone and even a mini printer all plugged into a power strip that he brought and plugged into one of few outlets in the shop. He and everyone like him are bad, shameless people.

Here’s how to play by the rules and not get dirty:

Remember that nothing is free. Paid WiFi anywhere is a minimum of 10 bucks a day. The coffee shop is a business supported by its customers. If everyone sat down and took and didn’t give, the shop would fold. Give back and spend at least five or 10 bucks for every mealtime you are there.

Minimize your impact. You are one person and should take up one chair, and maybe a small table. Bags go on the floor, not on chairs. Don’t hog bandwidth by downloading torrents.

Share. Only use an outlet if you absolutely need it. If you plug into an outlet, then precede that plug with a three-way power splitter with open receptacles, and don’t use an obnoxious power strip. When you see people looking to plug in, be kind enough to allow them to piggyback. They won’t ask, so offer.

Be quiet. Turn the sound off of your devices. Put your mobile on vibrate. When calls come in, speak softly as possible (really, just shut up; you’re very, very annoying). Better yet, suggest your would-be callers IM you instead. I’d tell you to walk outside, but…(see tip #5).

Think security. While you may become comfortable in your environment over time, don’t get up and leave any devices unattended while you go to the lav. They WILL be stolen. Know that free WiFi is unprotected WiFi, and your data is visible to anyone within 500 feet of the establishment. Use a virtual private networking application to encrypt your wireless communications.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.


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