Wireless hotspots explanation

Could someone give me the basics on wireless hotspots please ?

Off to france in a couple of weeks and wondering if I can hook up my Tosh sat pro into a local hotspot

Whats the ranges in terms of distance, rural coverage, typical charges, and how do you "Search" for one thats capable of talking to the laptop ? Can the laptop somehow scan the airwaves for wifi ?

thanks
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plqAsked:
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DVation191Commented:
plq,
Give this a read...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotspot_%28wifi%29

There are also numerous links at the bottom if you'd like more detail.

hope this helps.
msaracenoCommented:
If your using WIndows XP and you are in the vicinity of wifi it will alert you in the system tray and list any available wifi signals if there are multiple ones and also list if the are encrypted or open networks. just click on the one you want to connect to.
plqAuthor Commented:
Cool, is that true for all hotspots - xp will detect them

Its a brand new laptop arrived today, xp pro, although I must admit I turned wifi off cos the popup kept bugging me. So if I turn it back on and just go for a drive with it turned on it should alert me then when I get near one ?
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msaracenoCommented:
Yes, it should detect wifi networks if you are in range.
msaracenoCommented:
There is also a program that you can use Netstumbler but it only works with certain wifi cards I beleive that it has been updated to support a more cards now.
http://www.netstumbler.com/downloads/
msaracenoCommented:
sorry here is a link to netstumbler forums
http://www.netstumbler.org/
plqAuthor Commented:
Excellent. If you can give further info id like to know..

- whats the typical range in miles or km
- whats the process once you've found one - e.g. if you have to pay how do you go about it. I am esp concerned about this since I dont speak french !
- typical costs, and how many around are free?
plqAuthor Commented:
any comments to the above ?
msaracenoCommented:
Your not going to be picking up wifi signals that are miles away, I would say depending on your location maybee 1200 ft radius unless you have an external antenna hooked up.
Once you see a wifi signal if its not a protected network you can simply click on it and connect if there is a place that offers it and you have to pay im sure they will have a sign up saying wifi hot spot or something to that effect im not sure on the costs of wifi shouldnt be too much though

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plqAuthor Commented:
Thanks for coming back, and thats just about all I need to know.

I've upped the points.

thanks for helping
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