Dynamode wireless hotspot finder and network adapter, €89

24 Jan 2006

Every day, proponents of Wi-Fi or wireless local area networks (WLANs) are finding newer and more compelling reasons to use the technology. Their arguments are not without merit – broadband speed wireless access when you’re out and about to file reports or surf the internet without scalding your tongue on a hot Mochacinno, anywhere in the world – a Dublin coffee shop, the airport lounge or a Hong Kong hotel room.

But therein lies the problem. Unless hotels, airports or coffee shops advertise that they have Wi-Fi the best users could do until now was switch on their laptop and pray for a signal to appear. Another problem is often the blank expression on waiters or waitresses when you ask them if there’s Wi-Fi access or ask them for a voucher to gain access (but that’s another day’s problem).

The new Dynamode dual-function wireless hotspot finder and wireless network adapter is a godsend on a number of levels. For users of laptops that are old insofar as they just don’t have a built-in Wi-Fi radio, you just install the software and plug in the device and voila, you have wireless access.

The real beauty of the product shines through when you log on and it instantly scans an area of hundreds of yards to see if there is a signal for 802.11 a, b or g Wi-Fi coverage. It then tells you if the signal is secured or unsecured. Often if the signal is secured but happens to be in a public place it is really a case of paying a one-off fee or signing up for a roaming service. Otherwise, it’s off limits. However, in many cases, users of Wi-Fi networks don’t turn on the security settings, which means anyone (including hackers) can piggyback on the signal.

The Dynamode device has two buttons on the side and an LCD screen. Basically when you hit Scan it searches an area and will tell you how many networks there are currently live and if one of these is locked you simply hit Next and it will find you another network in the vicinity. Roughly the size of a cigarette lighter the device can be attached to a key ring or stored unobtrusively in your laptop bag.

The Dynamode device has the dual function of being a Wi-Fi adapter and a handy device that helps you find nearby Wi-Fi hotspots without having to sit down, buy a coffee and hope for the best. The device is a must-have piece of kit for any business road warrior. It is distributed locally in Ireland by Swords-based Osmosis for a recommended retail price of €89 including Vat.

By John Kennedy