Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Free Wi-Fi hotspot locator in Nairobi

The other day someone commented on my facebook status that Kenyans love free things, just because I suggested that the big hotels should emulate high level restaurants and give free wi fi.

I could not answer the guy because I knew he would engage me in a long winding argument over why I should pay for internet. I would have told this guy how in Bangkok, you can catch free internet virtually everywhere including one provided by the city council. But I thought I should just shut up.

Forget about free wi fi and think of the many times you have tried to use the GPRS and it just failed because of congestion within the city; and it is the same old story.

Then I met this guy from DataDyne and we got into the discussion of where he could get free wi fi, I noticed that he needed more hotspots beyond Java upperhill and fairview. He actually suggested that this could be valuable info for tourists and other business visitors as well as those of us who love free stuff.

So, we can count down the places I know.

If you are in Westlands,

Alan Bobbe's Bistro at Andrews Apartments- Rhapta Road

For me, the Andrews Wi fi is the most stable, of course the place is very nice and Alan Bobbe's offers gatronomic cuisine which is pricy too. The place is quiet and I think they have too much bandwidth, but am not saying they should strangle it (Kunyonga).
If you have a free afternoon and would like a treat of good food and flawless internet, Andrews is the place. www.andrews.co.ke

Sarit Center

Dormans coffee house

This is on the basement on the extreme corner from Java or safaricom advantage customer care.

This wireless is password protected but you can always set you laptop to remember the network and you don't have to keep entering the password. It is super fast and stable, except in the late afternoon, when you have solar outage; common is satellite connections.

Dormans staff are basically nice and will always welcome you with a smile even when they think you are just there because of the free wi fi. With time, you also get to know the regular customers who are always there with their laptops, and with time, you start saying hi to each other and behaving like you actually know each other.

By the way, Dormans serves very nice Cafe Mocha.

Rating- ****

Java Coffee house

This is next to Safaruco customer care on the basement. The wireless is open to anyone, so your info can be susceptible to preying eyes and other malicious people, that is if you have super sensitive data.

The wi fi used to be very nice and stable but for the last three months, either they reduced the bandwidth or reconfigured their network. The network has IP address issues and at times some people access the internet and others can not.

It is frustrating when you can see others surfing and there is no way in for you. You start asking the waiters and they say the person incharge is away, which is usually a lie or a way of telling you to get off their back.

This has been a constant problem that I could see a couple of other tourists migrated to Dormans where the network is stable.

Besides, Java switche off the wi fi at about 12.30 to 2.30 to keep off idlers and serve serious spenders, which makes commercial sense but woe unto you if you were in the middle of the sentence or trying to attach a large document. Dormans is open through out.

Rating **

Westgate Shopping mall.

There are Java and Dormans Coffee houses with internet and the network is the same as above.

There is also the network known as Westgate, which is not protected but is usually up and down.

In the Central Business District

None of the Java or Dormans Coffee houses in town give free internet, for obvious reasons.

The Mug- Kaunda Street

This is probably the most stable because it does not keep going down and is not password protected.

Rating ***

Lifestyle Lounge- Monrovia street, opposite Nakumatt Lifestyle

This is bottom of the crap, can not stay up for five minutes and when it goes away, its off for about 20 minutes.
If you can, avoid this place, only for emergency internet usage.

Rating *

Ngong Road

Java Upperhill

Java Junction

Dormans Junction

I am planning to use Google maps for easier location but if you have other places you have visited and experienced their Wi fi, please leave a comment and will benefit all the others interested.


KenyaChristian said...

Cool list, thanx

Simon said...

Thanks, that's useful. I tried Lifestyle and after asked for help. Three quarters of an hour later I got my laptop back but no connection. I invested in a Safaricom Broadband modem, worth paying for. I'd like to know if Orange is any better, do you know?

Jac said...

Super! Thanks so much for sharing.

kachwanya said...

Wonderful, i guess this will help many people

Wayan @ OLPC News said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wayan said...

Inspired by your list, I just created a free Abuja WiFi hotspot list which is much shorter than yours.

Marten Schoonman said...

what about capturing this in a google earth map !?!?

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Lee said...

thanks for the tips, very useful when just passing through for a couple of days! Dormans in Sorit was great but wasn't working at all at Mug downtown.

Maria said...

Great post! Exactly what I was looking for! Thank you!

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