The connection manager of your Symbian mobile phone lists the Wi-Fi networks within reach of your phone, but that doesn't necessarily mean you can connect to them.
WeFi analyses the nearby networks to check if they're really free and open and helps you connect to the best available network.
It maintains a community-generated online list of free, open Wi-Fi access points. Using this feature requires that you already have a live internet connection, but it might be a useful method to find out about open Wi-Fi availability before you hit the road. But don't expect too much, because the vast majority of open access points is absent from the WeFi database.
WeFi only used to work on ancient phones, but now it talks to Symbian S60 3rd edition Feature Pack 2 too, which is what most Nokia phones run unless they're really old. WeFi also works on Symbian S60 5th edition, so you can use it on the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and other touchscreen Nokias.
WeFi doesn't like being switched off, and kicks and screams when you try to make it go away. Exiting WeFi leaves two WeFi procsses running, to close WeFi completely you'll have to choose "Stop WeFi service" instead of "exit" from the options menu. WeFi asks for permission to start automatically when you start the program, and there's no way to tell WeFi that no really means no. Next time you start WeFi it asks for permission to autostart again. And again and again and again.
The WeFi website has maps where you can search and browse Wi-Fi hotspots. It would be nice if WeFi would talk to Nokia Maps and other mobile navigation programs to make it easier to find free Wi-Fi access.
• WeFi for Nokia
• WeFi Wi-Fi hotspot map
Similar programs: FreeAir and Easy Wi-Fi
Chat and VoIP program fring has a WeFi plugin.
You don't always notice when programs on your mobile phone go online. For example, GPS only talks to navigation satellites, but if you forget to switch off assisted GPS every localisation attempt results in a data traffic between your phone and a GPS positioning server. If you're roaming abroad, this may result in expensive surprises.
Other programs may use GPRS or 3G (UMTS, HSDPA) when you don't want them to. For example, Google Maps may automatically use an expensive connection before you get the chance to tell it to use a free Wi-Fi access point instead. And all programs that automatically check for updated versions may not always ask you for permission to go online first.
Enter BlockGPRS. This patch for ROMPatcher kills all 2G (GPRS, EDGE) and 3G (UMTS) connection attempt. When BlockGPRS is running, your phone can only go online through Wi-Fi, which is usually free.
Of course you can simply delete unwanted access points from your phone settings, but if they're stored on your SIM card they may come back when you don't want them to. And if they're not stored on your SIM card they may be dfficult to restore when you want them back.
So if you don't have an unlimited data plan, or if you travel to places where mobile data traffic is expensive, just fire up BlockGPRS.
• BlockGPRS (for everybody)
• BlockGPRS at Symbian Freak (for members only)
Thursday, 30 July 2009
WeFi finds Wi-Fi on feature pack 2 and touchscreen Nokias too, BlockGPRS prevents unwanted internet connections (GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, ...)