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Connecting to an unprotected wifi hot spot when travelling - Help please !

shermans
Rising Star
Posts: 1,076
Thanks: 32
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-09-2007

Connecting to an unprotected wifi hot spot when travelling - Help please !

I have been trying to connect to an unsecured wireless network while travelling in Canada.  I have no problem piggy-backing off some private unsecured wifi hot spots, but I do not like to do that when there is a public one available.  The problem I get is that the connection says "Acquiring network address" and then eventually I get a message say "Limited or no connection".  It appears that the link is not issuing an IP address for some reason.  Is there any way I can use a static IP address which it would connect to ?  The IP address of the link is 169.254.118.178 / 255.255.0.0.  It is so frustrating because it is a really good, strong signal but it never actually connects !!
I have tried things like disabling the firewall but it makes no difference.  As I said, this is a public service, and there is no WEP etc. required.
Any suggestions greatly appreciated. 
7 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,574
Thanks: 3
Registered: 13-04-2007

Re: Connecting to an unprotected wifi hot spot when travelling - Help please !

It could be a public services which you have to register for or similar and it only lets known MAC address connect. You could try setting a fixed IP but you dont know if that is already taken. You would have to try setting the default gateway to the connection ip and any DNS would do. Is there any information you can get off the net before you try as it may give some information about it.
grimme
Grafter
Posts: 241
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Connecting to an unprotected wifi hot spot when travelling - Help please !

I'm guessing the public wifi service is not broadcasting DHCP and you are picking up an Automatic IP address.
There is a Microsoft support article that talks about APIPA and includes turning it off if you have a need to.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/220874
You also could checkout the public wifi name and see if there is a support site or entry in a phone book available with contact numbers to ring them and ask about their procedure for connecting.
shermans
Rising Star
Posts: 1,076
Thanks: 32
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-09-2007

Re: Connecting to an unprotected wifi hot spot when travelling - Help please !

Thanks for the advice.
I am in a remote corner of Canada, and the WiFi connection is the local village school which is closed for the holidays, and therefore there is no-one to ask.  But I understand that it is used by many holiay cottage owners as a public service.  I am having to hi-jack a private unsecured WiFi connection where the signal is weak and I do not have permission, but it works (!Huh).
But there is no other information I can obtain about it.  I have managed to use a staic IP and get a connection to the network, but not to the internet because I do not know the IP of the Gateway.  I am guessing that in this remote part of the Gulf of St Lawrence, there are not going to be many ISPs, probably only one.  Therefore, I will try the Gateway of the private cnnection which I am able to use on the school's network.  Presumably, I could use my Plusnet DNS address, if you say anyone will do or should it be a Canadian DNS in theory ?  It is an interesting challenge.
The little wooden cottage we are staying in belongs to my wife's family and is rght on the sea, in a beautiful bay with seals basking when the tide is out.  On the point there s a working lighthouse and today there has been a large film crew out by the lighthouse; tonight there are even floodlighs, so presumably they are still filming.  I am intrigued to know what it is all about, as this is a very tiny commnity of no more than ten houses.  All the more reason to get a good internet connecton, so that I can google to try to find out what is going on !!
laura
Grafter
Posts: 60
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Connecting to an unprotected wifi hot spot when travelling - Help please !

would you like some of us to come out and help you with the problem? I'm free, anyone else ready to visit a beautiful bay with seals basking . . .
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Connecting to an unprotected wifi hot spot when travelling - Help please !

lets see a photo and we will know if you are a bay filli or not Roll eyes
laura
Grafter
Posts: 60
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Connecting to an unprotected wifi hot spot when travelling - Help please !

oops! (crawls under table out of sight).
shermans
Rising Star
Posts: 1,076
Thanks: 32
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-09-2007

Re: Connecting to an unprotected wifi hot spot when travelling - Help please !

I would, but I don't think I can add attachments to a posting.
Anyhow, with perseverence, thanks to all the various posts I succeeded eventually.  Great connection.  The IP I got eventually was 192.168.0.101 and the Gateway and DNS server etc were all the sme  - 192.168.0.1
Thanks for all the great help.  Weather still fantastic !