Finding WiFi a challenge, not impossible


Courtesy of Xfinity

This map shows every Xfinity hot spot in the Tomball area. AT&T has similar coverage.

Staff Reports

For those students who do not have internet access at home, logging in each day to work in Google Classroom in the quarantine era can be particularly challenging.

But it’s not impossible to find open wifi networks. Here are a few options for you, but first remember those social distancing rules. On all of these ideas, you can stay in your car and work on a laptop or Chromebook.’

  1. While not everyone has the internet at home, nearly everyone has a cell phone. Most allow you to create a personal hotspot. Those with limited data should check to see if their provider is offering free unlimited during the quarantine (many are) to avoid overage charges. This is the best, first option.
  2. Businesses that offer open WiFi, such as McDonalds, Starbucks or Chick-fil-A. If the business is open (many restaurants are open for take-out) then you might be able to access their WiFi, although parking close enough will be a problem. Think instead of places such as hospitals, with big parking lots and a WiFi network that should extend out enough to cover the parking lot. There might even be a business with open WiFi for guests close enough to home for you to stay in your home or back yard.
  3. Major networks such as AT&T and Xfinity are opening their mobile hotspots for everyone to use. The problem is finding the hotspots. AT&T’s hotspot finder map hasn’t been working for years, according to the AT&T Forums. Xfinity has hotspots covering most of Main Street, and a map of area hotspots is included with this story.
  4. Neighbors with WiFi should be open to sharing during this time. Don’t be shy about asking a neighbor – from six feet away, ideally – if you can hop on their WiFi until school reopens.

The school is still working on a way to get Chromebooks to those who need them but once you’ve got the equipment, these options should help you stay connected until the schools reopen.