Internet connection is just as vital as other necessities in this digital age. However, the high demand for it has significantly driven the costs of internet services. This is because internet service providers are trying to increase their network coverage and internet speeds to cope with the demand.
According to Forbes, consumers in America pay $36.33 on average to get an internet connection with moderate speeds and $58.12 for fast speeds. As a result, many people, particularly those from the lower income bracket or those on a tight budget, are still unable to pay these sums to get internet at home.
That is where free Wi-Fi comes in handy. It enables people to access the internet to continue with their jobs, order things online, watch movies on Netflix and other platforms, or stay up to date with the current news. But can you get free Wi-Fi without an internet provider?
The simple answer is yes. Continue reading if you want to know how to get free Wi-Fi at home without internet if you’re not in the financial position to pay for Internet service bills.
What is Wi-Fi and How Does it Differ from Hotspots
Wi-Fi is a term that means Wireless Fidelity in full. It is a technology that enables devices such as phones, computers, tablets, and smart TVs to connect wirelessly to the internet. How is this possible? A wireless router is used to broadcast the internet to various devices.
Nowadays, you can easily connect to the internet through Wi-Fi hotspots. Wi-Fi hotspots are specific locations where Wi-Fi is broadcasted to other nearby devices. Wi-Fi hotspots are categorized broadly into two: public and private.
The former is found in public areas such as restaurants, train stations, libraries, schools, and airports, while the latter is found in homes or offices. Private Wi-Fi hotspots are protected so unauthorized people cannot access the network.
The Best Ways of Getting Free Wi-Fi at Home without Internet
Paying for an internet connection can be quite a hassle. However, you do not have to secure the services of your ISP to get online. Instead, you can use any of the methods mentioned below if you didn’t know how to get free Wi-Fi at home without internet.
1. Mobile or Tablet Hotspot
The best way to get free Wi-Fi without an internet service provider is to use your phone’s or tablet’s hotspot. Most smartphones and mobile phones today can be used as hotspot devices. This means you can use it to distribute Wi-Fi to devices you want to access the internet with.
Once you turn your mobile or tablet’s hotspot on, it serves as a router temporarily. All the devices within the vicinity can easily connect to the Wi-Fi so long as you have not set a password. One great thing about this method is that you can create a mobile hotspot from anywhere.
However, you will need to purchase a mobile data plan for you to be able to create a mobile hotspot. These plans are relatively inexpensive compared to other internet plans from service providers. You only have to be cautious about exceeding your data limit unless you have purchased an unlimited plan.
How can you create a mobile hotspot? Well, it is very simple. For Android users, you’ll need to:
- Head to settings on your phone or tablet
- Select ‘Network and Internet’
- Select ‘Hotspot and Tethering’
- Choose ‘Wi-Fi Hotspot’
- Toggle on the Wi-Fi Hotspot
If you are an iOS user, then you can follow this straightforward procedure:
- Head to the settings
- Choose the ‘Personal Hotspot’ option
- Toggle on the Hotspot
For both of these procedures, you can opt to set a unique username and password as an extra security measure. However, you can choose to leave it like that.
2. Purchase a Cellular Router
If you love moving from one place to the other but still need to use Wi-Fi, then a cellular router may be the best option. Cellular routers are portable and use SIM Cards instead of internet cables. Most portable routers in the market now enable you to connect to 3G and 4G networks from the comfort of your home.
How do cellular routers work? They develop a Wi-Fi network you can access using your phone, computer, or tablet. Their network is strong enough to serve all browsing needs at home, and they do not run out of charge easily. Like a mobile hotspot, you will still need to purchase a data plan to enjoy its network.
3. Tether your Phone or Tablet
This method is suitable if you plan to use a single device to access the Wi-Fi. Tethering your phone to your laptop or desktop is easier and faster than a typical Wi-Fi hotspot. The only similarity is that both methods use mobile data for internet connectivity.
Some of the benefits of using this method are that you can charge your device in the process of sharing your network. Additionally, wired connections are more secure, unlike wireless ones, which can easily be accessed by hackers who might steal your sensitive data.
Android users who want to tether their phones can follow the steps below:
- Launch the settings app on your phone or tablet
- Go to network and internet
- Select ‘Network and Internet
- Choose ‘Hotspot and Tethering’
- Toggle the hotspot and tethering on
On the other hand, iOS users can use this procedure:
- Head to settings on your phone
- Choose ‘Personal Hotspot
- Toggle the personal hotspot on
However, there are a few downsides to tethering your phone or tablet to your computer; they include:
- Computers consume a lot of data, so they may deplete quicker than usual, especially if you browse heavily.
- The strength and speed of your internet connection will highly depend on your carrier. If they don’t have much coverage in your area, then you will experience lower speeds.
- Some carriers do not provide the tethering functionality in their lower-tier plans.
4. Use a Wi-Fi USB Dongle
A Wi-Fi USB dongle is popularly referred to as an internet stick. It looks like a USB and provides internet access when you plug it into your desktop or laptop. Using a Wi-Fi dongle is very similar to tethering your phone to your computer. It is lighter and cheaper than a cellular router.
Although it uses a SIM card like a cellular router, you don’t have to charge it at any point making it more reliable. The only limitations are that it still uses a SIM Card, so your data will be limited to what the wireless provider offers. The internet speed will depend on the signal available.
5. Use Your Neighbor’s Wi-Fi
If you do not have Wi-Fi, but your neighbor does, then the best thing would be to request their Wi-Fi password. There is no guarantee that they will accept, as this highly depends on how you relate to them.
Alternatively, you can ask them to share their internet connection from their computers. For people who use Windows computers, you can use this method:
- Head to settings
- Select ‘Network and Internet
- Choose ‘Mobile Hotspot’
- Click on the internet connection you’d like to share
- Click on ‘Share my internet connection with other devices’
Using a Mac to share an internet connection is also simple, just:
- Head to Apple
- Click ‘System Preferences
- Select ‘Sharing’ and then choose ‘Internet sharing.’
- Press ‘Share your connection from’ and pick the connection you’d like to share
6. Use Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is a lifesaver when it comes to offering free internet, so you should consider looking for a public Wi-Fi hotspot near your home. Some offices, schools, restaurants, bars, and local stores offer free Wi-Fi to entertain customers and entice new ones.
Other towns and cities have public Wi-Fi hotspots where you can browse freely. You can take advantage of these connections to get free internet.
Luckily, many Wi-Fi Maps, apps, and sites online can help you locate public spots with free Wi-Fi. However, it would be best to be careful when using Public Wi-Fi as they are not completely safe. People easily hack them, steal your data, and use them to commit fraud.
7. Search for Hidden Networks
Did you know there are many hidden networks you haven’t learned about yet? These networks use hidden SSIDs (Service Set Identifiers), thus making them hard to locate using normal Wi-Fi-capable devices.
Fortunately, there are a couple of apps, such as NetSpot, which you can easily download online to help locate any hidden networks near you. NetSpot, for example, works perfectly on both Windows and Mac computers.
8. Get Free Wi-Fi Using NetZero
NetZero has been around for some time (1988, to be specific). The company allows you to download the software you can use to access the internet. NetZero enables you to use as much as 10 hours of free internet every month.
If the 10 hours do not meet your internet needs, you can purchase additional internet plans from them at a small fee. FreedomPop does not coerce you into signing contracts or agreeing to terms of service.
9. Free Wi-Fi from FreedomPop
FreedomPop is a company that plies its trade in California. Their goal has always been to make the internet accessible to everyone. You can get data, talk, and text plans for as low as $0, depending on what you want.
If you bring your own device to FreedomPop or purchase one from them, you will qualify for free 500MB every month that you can use for light browsing. Additionally, if you buy a SIM card from them, you will be eligible for free 200MB monthly, which you can use for Wi-Fi hotspots.
FreedomPop does not have any cellular towers of its own, so they depend on Sprint Mobile to provide a network. This guarantees that their network will be reliable even though it will still be limited.
EveryoneOn is a non-profit organization that offers free Wi-Fi service to households with k-12 and college-going students. The organization collaborates with several carriers and learning institutions to help reduce the digital gap.
Check if they operate within your area before you apply for assistance from them. You can reach them by calling 877-789-9889.
11. Municipal Networks
Many municipalities in America provide Wi-Fi through MAN (Metropolitan Area Network). This network is usually free and easy to access. Your internet speed will depend on how far you’re from the Wi-Fi hotspots (government offices or buildings).
The closer your home is to these Wi-Fi hotspots, the easier it will be for you to access them. Metropolitan Area Network is normally slow, so you can only use it for basic stuff like sending emails and googling.
Wi-Fi-capable devices are increasingly becoming cheaper, making it even more necessary to have WI-FI in our homes. However, many internet providers charge significantly high prices for basic internet connections making Wi-Fi inaccessible to many households.
Hopefully, this article has provided all the details if you do not know how to get free Wi-Fi at home without internet access. Just choose the method that suits you best and proceed.