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If you’re a BT Broadband customer, you probably know you have free access to the company’s entire Wi-Fi hotspot network. You’ll find hotspots in places such as airports, cafes, shops and even in residential streets, because everyone’s BT Hub router is also turned into a Wi-Fi hotspot that anyone can use.
When you’re looking for a BT network to join in a residential area, you might notice networks called BTWifi-with-FON and/or BTWifi-x, among others. Which should you pick? Here’s our guide.
BTWifi-with-FON is the network you should pick when trying to connect your laptop, tablet, phone or other device.
When you choose the FON network and open a web browser, you should be presented with a login screen like this:
On this screen, you can enter your BT Broadand username and password and you’ll be granted access to the Wi-Fi network. It probably won’t be as fast as your home broadband (FON users are only granted a slice of the available bandwidth), but it will be fine for day-to-day surfing, email or even watching Netflix.
Note, you don’t have to be a BT Broadband customer to take advantage of the FON network. If you click the BT Wi-Fi link on the login page, you can pay for access to the network. At the time of writing, an hour’s access costs £4. A day’s access costs £10 and a 5-day week costs £25. That’s pretty stiff, but if it’s the only option in your holiday home, it might be a price you’re willing to pay.
So what of the mysterious BTWifi-x? If you attempt to join this network you likely won’t get very far, as you’ll be asked for a username and password – your BT Broadband credentials won’t cut much ice here.
That’s because this is the network reserved for users of the BT Wi-Fi app. This app creates a profile on your device that allows you to automatically connect to BT Wi-Fi whenever you’re within range of a hotspot – and it uses that BTWifi-x network to do so. You can’t sign into it manually, it’s done automatically via the app.
While this sounds more convenient, I’m not a big fan of the BT Wi-Fi app – precisely because of that automatic sign-in. If you’re walking down the street listening to Spotify on 4G, for example, you’ll find your connection is constantly interrupted as you walk past houses with BT Broadband that the BT Wi-Fi app attempts to latch on to. Because you’re only walking past, the Wi-Fi doesn’t have time to connect, resulting in constant connection interruptions.
My advice: stick to the FON network when you’re out and about and forget about the BT Wi-Fi app.
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