20 crazy things people do to get Wi-Fi connections

Some people have done some pretty desperate things to get free wireless access.

In their quest to get Wi-Fi Internet connectivity, people have done some pretty desperate things over the years.

Driving around in sheer panic looking for a Starbucks (but hoping for a Panera, which offers free Wi-Fi) or hopping on a neighbor's unsecured signal has become commonplace.

But then there's a whole other level of desperation that comes while some people are searching for the almighty Wi-Fi access point. The evidence: an August 2008 survey of 300 remote employees who work on company-issued laptops. (The survey was commissioned by mobility vendor Fiberlink.)

The survey asked these road warriors: "What interesting or out of the ordinary things have you ever done to get connected to the Internet and/or company network, when working remotely?" Of the open-ended responses, here are the most noteworthy:

"Stolen Wi-Fi from a neighbor." Editor's note: Nothing says "Howdy, Neighbor!" more than "I'm stealing your Wi-Fi!"

"Had to climb on my mother's roof once. It was so fun. I actually saw a naked neighbor girl." Editor's note: Is that considered a two-for-one?

"Drove 15 miles away from Old Faithful Geyser to achieve a complete Internet connection, due to static from Geyser emissions energy." Editor's note: I hate it when that happens.

"Driven to the local coffee shop and purchased a muffin to use their wireless." Editor's note: That seems reasonable.

"Gone to coffee shop without buying coffee." Editor's note: Cheapskate!

"Had to 'hack' into a phone line at a hotel to get dial-up to work (many years ago)." Editor's note: Easy does it, Mitnick.

"I have plugged my laptop into a hospital Ethernet line because the wireless was down." Editor's note: Glad it wasn't the oxygen line.

"I have researched hotels that do not provide Internet but are nearby wireless hubs to get connection freely." Editor's note: A little too much time on your hands, sir?

"Plugged into the back of a cash register." Editor's note: Really? You can do that?

"I went up to the top of a mountain and worked for a week from a tent." Editor's note: Grizzly Adams meets Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame).

"Turned someone's TV antenna into a wireless internet antenna." Editor's note: Now that's talent.

"Logged into hotel conference rooms to get the connection for free." Editor's note: Who hasn't done that?!

"Paid for a cab ride while I worked on the Internet." Editor's note: That seems a bit "unfare."

"Plugged into electricity from the city of Seattle that was on a pole on the sidewalk, but only for a few minutes." Editor's note: Well, as long as it was just for a few minutes.

"Held my laptop out a window to get the Wi-Fi next door so I could send an important email." Editor's note: Hope it was one of those rugged notebooks.

"Sat outside an airport for 4 hours so I could use the free wireless across the street." Editor's note: Good thing her flight was delayed.

"I've done a lot of crazy things but I'll never be able to admit it or I'd lose my dignity." Editor's note: Tease.

"Moved throughout my home because of connection problems, I found myself sitting in a ducky chair in my toddler's room because that is where I got the best connection." Editor's note: That's just quackers.

"Using dial up." Editor's note: That's desperate.

"I think a laundromat is the strangest one I ever hooked up to." Editor's note: We agree.

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Thomas Wailgum

CIO (US)
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