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What’s With McDonalds WiFi Connection?

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McDonald’s WiFi connection is now available for free over 11,500 branches all over the world!

McDonald’s WiFi connection originally are charged with certain fees, but in early 2010, they have decided to offer free McDonald’s WiFi connection on over 11,500 branches worldwide and making them the largest Wifi hotspot in the US today.

We could never do away with the freebies of this world. And why not grab the opportunity to enjoy what’s free? Now, with every McDonald’s Meal, you are given your access to their free WiFi connection. You get to enjoy your food while working on your laptop or just gaming or browsing on your mobile and android phones.

McDonald’s WiFi connection’s availability and terms of use may vary from each store owner. As there are around 14,000 McDonald’s locations nationwide, you would always want to be certain that you are visiting the nearest branch that offers free Wifi.

Here’s how to check for WiFi Service availability in the nearest McDonald’s Branch.

  1. Open your browser and visit McDonald’s Locator Page.

Type in the Zip or City  & State you are in on the search bar or you can also click the “Locate Me” button next to the search bar.

  1. Then you can just scroll down with the results and chooses the nearest branch that offers WiFi under the services section.
  2. Once you have chosen the McDonald’s place to go, the locator will provide the street and the operating hours of the store. McDonald’s has become one of the most convenient places to get internet access most of the day, especially that if not open 24/7, most McDonald’s stores are open pretty late.

Most of the time, we tend to be bored at home or even at work and we want to go hang out on a place that gives us the privilege to connect to the internet for free. As McDonald’s heard most of our cries for this treat for being their avid fans and customers, now we get to connect to McDonald’s WiFi for free.

But how fast is McDonald’s WiFi Connection?

Looking at the numerous feedbacks and reviews from those who experienced this free WiFi connection offered by McDonald’s stores nationwide, we have come up to the conclusion that McDonald’s offers one of the fastest internet connection among Public WiFi hotspots in the US.

Furthermore, According to data collected by the London-based app OpenSignal, the average download speed in McDonald’s eateries is 4.187 Mbps.

Figure 1 Speed test result from Open Signal

You can see from the data above that McDonald’s is way faster than any of the public WiFi hotspots offered.

So if you ever run out of internet data and you badly need to connect to the internet, then you already know where to go. Head on to the nearest McDonald’s restaurant, buy a meal, relax, enjoy and connect to their free WiFi as long as you want to, and as long as the store is still open.

Okay, so now you are at McDonald’s Restaurant and you need to connect to the internet but have no idea how. Here is a step-by-step guide that you can follow.

How Do I Connect to McDonald’s Wifi?        

Connecting to McDonald’s WiFi Using Your Laptop

  1. Power on your laptop, and go to your WiFi connectivity settings located at the lower right of the taskbar and search for available connections on the range. Click on McDonald’s Free WiFi and connect to the network.
  2. Once you are connected to the network, your browser will automatically open the McDonald’s internet web page where terms of service are indicated. Click on the Get connected button that is usually red.
  3. You will then receive a status message indicating “You are now connected to McDonald’s WiFi. Enjoy!”. Check back your WiFi connectivity setting and you will see the McDonalds Free WiFi is indicated with the word “connected.”
  4. Hooray! You can now start browsing the internet for as long as you want.

At most, it is more convenient to bring along our android phones, and guest what? You can also connect to McDonald’s WiFi using your android or any WiFi-enabled device, aside from your laptop.

How to Connect to McDonald’s WiFi on Android?

  1. Open your Android phone and got to your phone’s settings.
  2. Select WiFi and wait until you see the McDonald’s Free WiFi network. Click refresh if it does not appear on the first load to search for more WiFi on the range.
  3. Once you the McDonald’s Free WiFi network. Click on it and connect to the network. Wait for some seconds and you will see that the connection status will indicate “connected”.
  4. Go to your mobile browser and the McDonald’s terms of service web page will automatically load.
  5. Click the red button or text that says “Get Connected”.
  6. You will receive a notification that says you are now connected to the network.
  7. You can now enjoy unlimited internet on your android phone!

If you noticed, the procedure is mostly the same. As long as your device is WiFi-enabled. You will be able to configure your connection to McDonalds Free WiFi by accessing your WiFi Settings on your device.

Connecting to a public WiFi may impose security threats on your connected devices, as a result, you may encounter unauthorized access to your files, accounts, and etc.

You may even get redirected to unwanted ads and adult content sites. Be mindful that McDonalds WiFi and other free public WiFi often have no restrictions. And the following are the risks that you will be facing when connecting to Public WiFi Connection;

  1. Untrusted Wi-Fi networks. You could be tricked into using an untrusted WiFi network set up by an attacker. That network enticingly called “Free Wi-Fi” may be set up precisely to harvest your business or personal valuable data.
  2. Third-party Attacks. Connecting to free, public Wi-Fi may lead to the risks of having your personal or your business’s data intercepted by third parties. This is because hackers have the ability to position themselves between you who are using the Wi-Fi and the connection point.
  3. Infected with Malware Distribution. Hackers can also use an unsecured Wi-Fi connection to distribute malware. Having infected software on your computers and devices can be financially risky for you. Especially with your business.
  4. Phishing and Hacking Accounts. Another public Wi-Fi risk is hackers using special software kits enabling them to eavesdrop on Wi-Fi signals. This allows cybercriminals to access everything your remote workers are doing online, potentially enabling them to capture login credentials and even hijack your accounts.
  5. Malicious attacks through ad hocs. Ad hocs are peer-to-peer networks that connect two computers directly. When remote workers use a public Wi-Fi network, their devices are likely to be set to discover new networks, making it possible for hackers to connect directly to them.
  6. The vulnerability of Passwords and Usernames. Using a public Wi-Fi makes you vulnerable to having passwords and usernames stolen when you log on over the network.  Websites utilizing a secure socket layer or HTTPs provide a needed level of security.
  7. Exposure to worm attacks. Worms act much like viruses, with one key difference. Viruses must have a program to attack in order to successfully compromise a system, while worms can wreak havoc all by themselves. When connected to a public Wi-Fi, you run the risk of a worm traveling from another device that’s connected to the network to your computer.

So what is needed to be done before connecting to a public network?

1.    Use a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) connection is a must when connecting to your business or personal accounts through an unsecured connection or public WiFi networks. Even if a hacker manages to position himself in the middle of your connection, the data here will be strongly encrypted. Since most hackers are after an easy target, they’ll likely discard stolen information rather than put it through a lengthy decryption process.

2.    Use SSL Connections

If you do not have A VPN on your device for general Internet browsing, you can still add a layer of encryption to your network communication. All you have to do is enable the “Always Use HTTPS” option on websites that you visit frequently, or that require you to enter some kind of log-in credentials.

Remember that hackers understand how people reuse passwords, so your username and password for some random forum may be the same as it is for your bank or corporate network, and sending these credentials in an unencrypted manner could open the door to a smart hacker.

Always remember that most websites that require an account or credentials have the “HTTPS” option somewhere in their settings.

3.    Turn Off Sharing Options

When connecting to the Internet at a public place, you’re unlikely to want to share anything. You can turn off sharing from the system setting preferences or Control Panel, depending on your OS, or let Windows turn it off for you by choosing the “Public” option the first time you connect to a new, unsecured network.

4.    Keep Wi-Fi Turned Off When Not in Use

Even if you haven’t actively connected to a network, the Wi-Fi hardware in your computer is still transmitting data between any network within range. There are security measures in place to prevent this minor communication from putting you at risk, but not all wireless routers are the same, and hackers can be a pretty smart bunch. If you’re just using your computer to work on a Word or Excel document, keep your Wi-Fi off. Doing this can also lead to much longer battery life.

5.    Stay Protected

Even individuals who take all the possible public Wi-Fi security precautions are going to run across issues from time to time. It’s just a fact of life in this interconnected age. That’s why it’s imperative to keep a robust Internet security solution installed and running on your machine. These solutions can constantly run a malware scan on your files, and will always scan new files as they are downloaded. The top consumer security software will also offer business protection solutions, so you can protect yourself while you’re out and about, and your servers back at the office, all at the same time.

Throughout any business traveler’s life, there’s going to come a time when an unsecured, free, public Wi-Fi hotspot is the only connection available, and your work simply has to get done right then. Understanding public Wi-Fi risks will ensure your important personal and business data doesn’t become just another hacking statistic.

McDonald’s Free WiFi is generally a good connection minus the security risks involved. And aside from these risks, here are a few more downsides to McDonald’s WiFi based on the experience of some users.

Downsides to McDonald’s Free WiFi

  1. It is not actually FREE at all times. Many have had this in mind. See, Some branches of McDonald’s require you to buy their meals first to be able to connect to the network where they give you a piece of paper for the log-in credentials.
  2. Your Device must always have a web browser. You cannot continue with the connection if you do not have a browser where you will be redirected to accept McDonald’s terms of service.
  3. McDonald’s WiFi is not restricted. This means you need to be extra careful of your child who may be accessing adult content sites and be exposed to pornography and all.

Other Ways to Sign-in to McDonald’s WiFi network

The number of ways to connect to the Internet at McDonald’s is almost bewildering. Additionally, some franchises work differently and are more generous with their Wi-Fi than the corporate-owned stores.

Here are some of the other sources of login credentials for McDonald’s internet connection;

  1. Subscription to AT&T broadband

AT&T DSL and U-verse subscribers get to enjoy free reign on McDonald’s Wi-Fi. If it happens that you are an AT&T broadband subscriber, all you need is your AT&T e-mail address and password to log on as free McDonald’s Wi-Fi is part of the AT&T Wi-Fi Basic account, included with your broadband Internet service.

Here’s how to connect using your AT&T log in:

  • In the bottom right corner of McDonald’s Wi-Fi welcome page, click on the AT&T logo. This takes you to the login page.
  • In the “Username” field, enter the part of your e-mail address before the “@” symbol. For example, if your e-mail address is dom.dee@att.net, enter dom.dee.
  • Click the “AT&T Domain” field, and find the last part of your e-mail address, past the “@” symbol.
  • Enter your password in the “Password” field.
  • Check the “I Agree” button and click the “Log in” button. You are now on the Internet.

If you don’t remember your e-mail address and/or password, or you are not sure if your account qualifies. You can just easily get in touch with AT&T by dialing 1 (877) 722-3755 for support.

In addition to McDonald’s Free WiFi, your AT&T Wi-Fi account works too at other places, like Starbucks, Barnes & Noble and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Check the AT&T Wi-Fi Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to learn more about your account’s inclusions.

2.  AT&T Wireless for Apple iPhone

After a year of on and off feature for free Wi-Fi for iPhone users, free WiFi at McDonald’s is finally here for good.

The iPhone is actually free at around 17K AT&T WiFi hotspots. More than 9,000 of them are at McDonald’s. Thousand more hotspots for iPhone users are at Starbucks.

With the $30 per month unlimited data plan, iPhone and as well as Blackberry users are offered the free WiFi Benefit.

Logging on to McDonald’s WiFi is a tricky process. If you are in a 3G area with a 3G iPhone, you must be determined to get the moderate bump up in speed to make connecting at McDonald’s WiFi worthwhile.

AT&T Wireless likely made the connection process so complex because a simpler login process was easily hacked by laptops and other WiFi-capable devices.

AT&T provides instructions for logging on to an AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot with your iPhone. However, these instructions are slightly incorrect for McDonald’s Wi-Fi.

Here’s the correct process to log on at McDonald’s WiFi:

  • Make sure WiFi is enabled on your iPhone.
  • Connect to the “Wayport_Access” network which you cannot find with AT&T enclosed instructions to your plan. AT&T usually give you the “attwifi” network and could not be found with McDonald’s Hotspots
  • Once connected, you will see a welcome screen, enter your 10-digit mobile phone number and check “I agree.”
  • Seconds after that, you will receive a text message that is free and contains the link for you to click and complete your connection.

Now, you are given the privileged and authority to use the Internet for the next 24 hours at this McDonald’s location. If you are to visit another McDonald’s location within the day, you must go through this process again.

Many people may be asking why would you still want to connect to a public WiFi hotspot yet you are already using a 3G iPhone? What’s the reason behind this craze over public WiFi connection anyway? Here are some reasons;

  • High-speed, the 3G Internet isn’t available in all areas of the US. EDGE, the fallback Internet data protocol, isn’t much faster than a dial-up connection.
  • Wi-Fi is faster than 3G. It could make a big difference if you want to watch a video.
  • The older iPhone doesn’t have 3G at all.
  • Save your battery. The 3G radio puts out a signal roughly 10 times more powerful than the Wi-Fi radio. If you’re planning a long Internet session, your battery may not last if you surf over 3G.

3. AT&T Wireless Laptop Connect

If you’re an AT&T Wireless Laptop Connect customer and a subscriber to the higher Data Connect plan offered at around $60 per month, you recently got free WiFi at McDonald’s and many more places. And as subscribers to higher data plans, “Basic” AT&T WiFi is included with your service.

Only a small percentage of AT&T Wireless customers qualify for free McDonald’s WiFi. This may be the reason why AT&T isn’t making a huge advertisement on this.

McDonald’s WiFi is free to Laptop Connect subscribers who meet these following requirements:

  • Must have a laptop card or a USB device.
  • Must subscribe to an unlimited Data Connect plan. Laptop Connect customers have nine Data Connect choices at different monthly rates. Only the $60 per month, unlimited Data Connect plan includes the free AT&T Wi-Fi.
  • Windows only. The only way to login for free with your Laptop Connect service is through AT&T’s Communication Manager software. It is Windows-only (Windows 2000, XP and Vista, specifically). While Mac users can get Laptop Connect, the Mac software doesn’t support the free Wi-Fi login. Sorry for Linux users, don’t even bother.
  • Wi-Fi capable laptop. Your laptop device must be Wi-Fi capable. The cards provided by AT&T only pick up cellular phone signals. Most laptops built in the last five years have a Wi-Fi device built-in. If your laptop doesn’t have Wi-Fi, it can be added for about $20, or you can buy some compatible WiFi receptor plug-in devices.

Logging on at Free McDonald’s WiFi with your Laptop is fairly automatic:

  1. Make sure your Data Connect card is plugged into your computer.
  2. Run AT&T’s Communication Manager program software. It should discover the McDonald’s Wi-Fi network called “Wayport_Access”.
  3. When prompted, click “Connect.” Wait for some time and you are welcomed to the Internet.

AT&T isn’t the only company offering a cellular/Wi-Fi Internet plan that includes McDonald’s WiFi. You can also have these freebies with other DSL and broadband service providers.

Moreover, you can also make use of Free Wi-Fi Coupons to access McDonald’s WiFi internet. These coupons usually come along as freebies when you purchase on participating products offered in restaurants, movie houses, shopping malls, groceries, online purchases and more. They may also be available and enclosed with your monthly billing statements on electricity, water, gas supplies, cable networks, credit cards, and a whole lot more as always been a customary part of marketing and advertisement to boost sales or as complimentary gifts to customers like you.

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