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Panera Bread Is The Largest Provider Of Free WiFi

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the and-tasty-breads dept.

Wireless Networking 350

ayb11 writes "According to this article, the Panera Bread chain of Bakery/Cafes (think Starbucks that bakes their own bread) is the largest provider of free WiFi in the US. Their web site says, " There are currently 573 Wi-Fi enabled Panera Bread bakery-cafes, from California to Virginia. More are added every day." (Even my retired dad takes his barely-used laptop over there so he can get free refills on coffee.) Their full list of hotspots is here."

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I bet (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11703669)

Offering free wifi costs them a lot of dough.

Re:I bet (3, Informative)

tmasssey (546878) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703809)

Are you kidding?

SBC offers DSL for $30 a month. So I can't see how Panera would pay more than $30/month for high-speed access. Do you know how many times I've eaten over-priced Panera sandwiches for lunch just for the WiFi?

It's easily $7-$8 for a half sandwich, cup of soup (You-pick-two) and a drink. If 10 people do that a *month*, I'm *sure* they've paid for the WiFi. I probably do it *myself* that many times a month. Just for the WiFi!

whoooooooosh (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11703880)

Hear that? That's the sound of you not getting the joke.

Re:I bet (1)

`Sean (15328) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704024)

You knead to grain a sense of humor.

Re:I bet (1)

tmasssey (546878) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704104)

Maybe: but they could have said that it would *make* a lot of dough, too. That would have actually been correct, as well as a (lame) attempt at humor...

Re:I bet (1)

Leo McGarry (843676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704156)

That's two. Wanna rise to the occasion for a third slice at it?

Re:I bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11704045)

You don't have many friends, do you?

You know, over here, we have something called "humor".

Look it up on teh intarweb.

Re:I bet (5, Funny)

buro9 (633210) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703877)

As puns go they don't baguette much better than that. We can't all have an in-bread ability to come out with such wheaticisms.

I can see how a bakery chain would knead to branch out it's offerings though.

Damn, I thought of another pun but now it's scone!

* Thanks to a few mates for coming up with these truly breadful puns.

Re:I bet (1)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703949)

* Thanks to a few mates for coming up with these truly breadful puns.

You may thank them, but the rest of us won't. :)

Re:I bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11704059)

If usenet weren't dying, you could access it over their free WiFi using Pan.

No comments about the streaming Java-based server racks. This ain't that other "family-friendly" place.

Promo raffles with your biz card so you can be the daily breadwinner.

When JC said "man does not live on bread alone" in the bible, I bet he meant we needed bakeries with WiFi access. Man that guy's good!

Geekazoids with laptops in coffee shops -- don't you hate it when we're being used to attract more of a crowd into the place the way bars attract more customers with "ladies' night?" I'd feel so used.

GENIUS POST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11703967)


Not since the great Dobbs spoke at the Indianapolis Convention Center last week have I seen such effective wisdom.

http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=138810 &c id=11616177

Got it out of trolltalk. Heh.

Re:I bet (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703993)

"Offering free wifi costs them a lot of dough."

But I bet having it makes them some bread.

got fibre? (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703670)

A friend was lamenting how overloaded and lagged the local free WiFi was. Lag always put me in mind of a constipated network. Seems a bakery chain would have the fibre thing covered to keep your traffic moving smoothly, inside and out.

"uuuugghhh need more bran"

If only (5, Funny)

krgallagher (743575) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703686)

"There are currently 573 Wi-Fi enabled Panera Bread bakery-cafes, from California to Virginia. More are added every day."

If only they served alcohol.

Re:If only (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11703766)

WiFi internet in bars. hmmm, tempting, you may leave alone but never dissatisfied!

geek: Well it looks like it's just you and me leftie
hand: I have a headache
geek: I don't mind

Re:If only (1)

Stagemonkey (860427) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703903)

Bars with free WiFi are not unheard-of. In fact, in the last 3 years, I don't know that I've ever lived farther than walking-distance from a bar with free wireless.

in detroit area (1)

millahtime (710421) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703908)

In the metro detroit area there are actually quite a few bars with free wifi. I could see how it targets the working lunch crowd around here.

Re:in detroit area (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11704125)

In the metro detroit area there are actually quite a few bars with free wifi.

Do you know of any in the Plymouth/Canton/Livonia area?

Its not really free (5, Insightful)

Shnizzzle (652228) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703696)

It's just factored into the prices. Panera is good but pretty pricey. I doubt they would let someone who doesn't order anything just sit in their and use the internet for a prolonged period of time. It's a resturant, not a coffee shop.

Re:Its not really free (2, Interesting)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703753)

Actually, the one right down the street from my apartment constantly has people hanging out in it with their laptops, drinking some tea and eating a bun or something. They'll be sitting there for hours.

Re:Its not really free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11703813)

Yes, but can you connect to it from your apartment?

Re:Its not really free (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703913)

Unfortunately, no. It's about a block away.

Re:Its not really free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11703934)

Bigger antenna!!! I can connect to the Starbucks wifi near me if I try.

resturant, not a coffee sho (1)

JLavezzo (161308) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703820)

> I doubt they would let someone who doesn't order anything just sit in there

What do you mean by "let". The Panera in my town is too big without enough staff to keep track of who's sitting there and who's just finished with his sandwich.

Then again, how long are you going to sit somewhere online without a cup of coffee? Especially if they have free refills?

But, in my experience, the Kroger has better pastries than Panera... The sandwiches are fancy, though. and tasty. Their breads are nice, but have that "Came to the bakery frozen" flavor.

Re:Its not really free (5, Interesting)

anjrober (150253) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703942)

The Panera buy my office has a fireplace section with couches and stuffed chairs expressly to encourage people to lounge all day. I've had coworkers have meetings there and not order anything at all. On Saturday nights they have live music after that continues after people have stopped ordering food. I've seen the same people in there when I bought coffee in the AM and lunch in the PM.

Starbucks of bread? (4, Funny)

athakur999 (44340) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703699)

think Starbucks that bakes their own bread


So their bread is overpriced and burnt but served by attractive female bakers so you keep coming back?

Re:Starbucks of bread? (1)

coKestar (859984) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703772)

Or there millions of locations, followed by millions more conveniently across the street?

Re:Starbucks of bread? (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703776)

> > think Starbucks that bakes their own bread
> So their bread is overpriced and burnt but served by attractive female bakers so you keep coming back?

Black, bitter, tied up in a burlap sack and hauled over the mountains on a donkey, available all day for $4.50. Or full of eggs, half-baked, glazed, and waiting for me in a basket.

Pays your money, takes ya chances.

Re:Starbucks of bread? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11703838)

actually they dont use eggs in many(any?) of their breads? there is cheese in some of the bread.

vegan power.

to reply to the original poster, yes cute girls serve you your bread.

Re:Starbucks of bread? (1)

Queer Boy (451309) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703862)

So their bread is overpriced and burnt but served by attractive female bakers so you keep coming back?

Uh, no. I grew up in St. Louis (where Panera is still called St. Louis Bread Company) and the employees in every Panera I have ever been to (I live in Ohio now) are just a step up from fast food employees. Nowhere near the intelligence, personality or looks of Starbucks employees.

Re:Starbucks of bread? (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703955)

(where Panera is still called St. Louis Bread Company)

Really? I thought they switched 'em all over. The St Louis Bread Co. in Columbia got changed to Panera.

Re:Starbucks of bread? (1)

Cade144 (553696) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704148)

At the Westport Plaza St. Louis Bread Co. [google.com] the staff have always been very helpful, smart, and quick to bring me my order.

Interestingly, there is a Starbucks [starbucks.com] right next door, which offers Starbucks coffee, and T-Moblie wireless. I constantly see people at the Bread Co. (Panera) with laptops and rarely see them at the Starbucks.

Of course, I'm usually getting food at the St. Louis Bread Co., during lunchtime, so that probably leads to some skewing of my data-gathering obervations.

My favorite sandwich is the Bacon Turkey Bravo [panerabread.com] . Yummy!

Re:Starbucks of bread? (1)

jxyama (821091) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703863)

also, the bread comes in blanco, grano and segale.

Re:Starbucks of bread? (3, Funny)

twd (167101) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703928)

Hey! That's my daughter you're leering at!

Something like that, yes... (1)

Gadgetfreak (97865) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704153)

The last time I was in Panera Bread, there was a young 20-something female customer with a shirt that said "I (Heart) Nerds." She was pretty good looking, and not just because of the shirt.

I eat a lot of wheat bread. It keeps me regular. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11703700)

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Re:I eat a lot of wheat bread. It keeps me regular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11703745)

can i eat it?....please!

Wow (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11703702)

If ever something needed to be discussed at Slashdot, this is it.

Handy when the in-laws arrive (3, Informative)

mr. methane (593577) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703719)

I've used the local one more than once. Only thing I've noticed is that it's sometimes fairly laggy even when there aren't more than one or two people on them.

And the sandwiches are pretty good, too. Strong coffee also :)

Well it isn't that expensive (4, Informative)

hsmith (818216) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703722)

Companies act like it is a cripling cost, but what $60/month for cable, when customers will use this feature if you have it, it will even draw people to your store. Giving it away for free should bring them more people one would think.

but then again starbucks has such a big customer base that those people don't care what they pay for WiFi as long as they get their mocacappachino that costs $8

Re:Well it isn't that expensive (3, Interesting)

krgallagher (743575) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703782)

"Companies act like it is a cripling cost, but what $60/month for cable, when customers will use this feature if you have it, it will even draw people to your store."

I agree. I travel a lot so I am usually living out of hotels and eating in resturaunts. One of the fist things I look for in a city is a convenient resturaunt to go to that has free wifi, good food, and at least one decent beer on tap.

Re:Well it isn't that expensive (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11704035)

Last thing you want at a place that serves food is people buying a single cup of coffee and taking up valuable seating during lunch hour rush. If I can't see a place to sit when I walk into a "counter service" resteraunt for food, I'll leave and walk down to the next.

Can't stand that place (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11703740)

I don't know about anyone else, but I can't stand to sit in one of those restaurants for more than 5 minutes. The one I went to in the Manassas VA area had staff members screaming people's orders at the top of their lungs. I became so irritated by the constant barrage of "NUMBER 8! TURKEY ON RYE! YOUR ORDER IS READY! NUMBER 9! ROAST BEEF! YOUR ORDER IS READY" that I threw my sourdough french onion soup in the trash and walked out. Is it this way at other stores?

Re:Can't stand that place (1)

Jac_no_k (5957) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703887)

The new location out in Valencia, CA hands out those pager devices that go off when your food is ready. So no screaming.

Already at this location, I see people camped out with laptops. And it's surrounded by a residential zone... It would not take too much engineering to rig an antenna...

Re:Can't stand that place (1)

objekt (232270) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703925)

None that I've been to in SE Michigan.

Re:Can't stand that place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11703947)

I've visited five different locations and never had the same experience. Generally the service is fast enough that people hover near the pick-up spot and the service people just say a name/number without using the microphone. Occasionally they'll use the PA when someone has gone off to the bathroom, but it's uncommon.

St. Louis Bread Company (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11703755)

They are still called The St. Louis Bread Company here in St. Louis

Allowed me to stop paying Starbucks/B&Noble (5, Interesting)

AnotherEscobar (852831) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703758)

Panera's became my home office for 3 months last year. Every day, constant free coffee refills, and plenty of lunch-crowd eye-candy from the local office complex.

Course, there was that time when someone sniffed/watched-over-my-shoulder while I was paying my bills and the next day I had to dispute a bunch of charges... but for just hanging out, a great place.

Had hoped they could force T-Mobile to be more competitive, but this isnt something new and last I looked Starbucks still had ridiculous fees.

Re:Allowed me to stop paying Starbucks/B&Noble (1)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704178)

I can remember when my local B&N put those little cards out on the table "Wireless Internet Access". No I did not read the fine print. I anxiously took my laptop the next time in, and booted up ....hmm I get a notice, you gotta pay to play. I then read the fine print on the card. Lap top goes back in the back. But woo hoo, we are getting a Panera Bread that opens in a few weeks. Time to dust off the old laptop and get ready to hit the town.

I live amosgst Luddites (1)

latent_biologist (827344) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703765)

Wichita, KS has @ least 3 Panera Locations, all relatively new, yet no wifi locations listed. It seems to me they they have no excuse if they're charging $5 for a mocachino :-/

Re:I live amosgst Luddites (2, Funny)

fruity_pebbles (568822) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703856)

Dude, you live in Wichita. What did you expect?

Re:I live amosgst Luddites (1)

Hellad (691810) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703868)

That is suprising. In Manhattan (KS for those thinking NY), a Panara opened recently and it offers wifi...

Re:I live amosgst Luddites (1)

the plant doctor (842044) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704128)

Never paid much attention when I was there. Guess that explains all the laptops huh? Campus is covered well enough to suit my tastes. I come here to work and go to Panera to eat.

Re:I live amosgst Luddites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11704184)

Around here, it took around a year for our new Panera to get Wi-Fi. When I was in Wichita last summer, I found open Wi-Fi access all over Old Town. I think that the museum (of world treasures) has (or had) an open access point (still named linksys).

USE FREE WIFI HOT SPOTS TO TROLL (-1, Offtopic)

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What I don't get is the ones that charge for this (3, Insightful)

Augusto (12068) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703773)

I don't think it's unreasonable for businesses to charge for this, but it sure doesn't make a lot of sense to me when many are pushing "subscription" models to their customers.

Went last night to Barnes and Noble and noticed they had a "Wi-Fi" sign. So I figured this is great, I hang around look at some books and catch up on my email, but lo and behold you have to pay for a 19.99 monthly (1-year min) subscription fee! Why would I pay for ISP accesses that is so limited?

Yeah, they have a 2 hour $4 accesses, but this doesn't make much sense to me. The real attraction here is that if you want people to hang around your store, just offere it up for free, or charge a very minimal amount for usage that day (not for time).

Re:What I don't get is the ones that charge for th (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704179)

Probably because of credit card fees. If you have a bunch of small charges, the credit card fees makes collecting the money cost almost as much as what you collect. If they just have 1 charge per (month, year, eon whatever) the credit card companies collect a lot less.

Plus, if you subscribe then you are more likely to come back and make impulse buys :P

They've got me (1)

StringBlade (557322) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703778)

I've gone there to get some food once before. Now that I know they have WiFi, I might just make another trip to try it out...and grab a bite to eat.

Call me names if you will, but sometimes it's the free stuff that can make you the most money.

Move Next Door to Hotspot, Get Free Access? (2, Insightful)

reallocate (142797) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703788)

Has anyone moved next door to a hotspot just to get free access?

Re:Move Next Door to Hotspot, Get Free Access? (1)

AnotherEscobar (852831) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703860)

I was in a late-night PS2 session with a buddy, and were unable to solve a level of LOR:ROTK (yes, it was that damned almost-hidden pathways in the elephant level). I had just moved in to this apartment and had no access set up yet. Into the car at 3AM, two blocks to the Paneras, surfed from the car, found the walktrhough, by 3:30 we had moved on.

Ive had a few open ones available, either intentional or un-intentional, but as they are not secure, they are pretty limiting

Re:Move Next Door to Hotspot, Get Free Access? (1)

VisiX (765225) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703937)

Actually I have the opposite going. There are four unprotected wireless networks in my apartment building but my girlfriend still insists on paying for high speed internet.

And, from Canton, OH It's working well right now (2, Informative)

ej0c (320280) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703790)

At their Strip location!

Re:And, from Canton, OH It's working well right no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11703848)

Vote Jeff Seeman for Congress in 2006. Regala turned a blind eye to his constitutents.

Re:And, from Canton, OH It's working well right no (1)

nearlygod (641860) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703857)

Cool. I was thinking about going there tonight to try it out.

Re:And, from Canton, OH It's working well right no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11703878)

How fast?

Know of any other free hotspots in the Canton area?

Re:And, from Canton, OH It's working well right no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11704115)

Wow, now what are the odds I would see this right when I was wondering if the one on The Strip has wi-fi.... ...I think I know where I will be hanging out much more often...

Obligatory OT Panera Shout (3, Informative)

Asprin (545477) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703822)


Mmmm... Panera.... [droool]....

Best. Shortbread. Cookies. Ever.

Directional antenna (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11703824)

I live quite close to a Panera Bread, and a directional antenna makes an easy way for me to get internet access without actually going into the café. I simply sit in the car somewhere in the parking lot and aim my directional antenna directly at the establishment. There are several businesses in the same strip mall - it would be easy for them to save on buying their own internet access.

--
Dogs are annoying. Go ECFA.

what a pathetic life you must lead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11703871)

are you so anti-social that you can't bear to face human beings in a cafe? You sit in your car in the parking lot?

What a pathetic life you lead.

Incomplete List (1)

Natchswing (588534) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703846)

That list is horribly incomplete. I've been to four Paneras in Florida that have Wi-Fi and aren't on that list.

Panera! (4, Funny)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703850)

I listened to those guys all the time growing up. Shame about their guitarist.

Now whats this about bread?

Re:Panera! (5, Funny)

NoData (9132) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704171)

Dude! Panera rockz! My favorite? "Vulgar Display of Flour."

MCdonalds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11703858)

probably has more spots or they will soon.

Re:MCdonalds (2, Funny)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703988)

Anyone eating regularly at McDonalds probably has more spots too.

Free Wifi in all customer intensive area (2, Insightful)

randall_burns (108052) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703864)

Frankly it seems to me there ought to be free wifi in :
libraries, shopping malls, hotels, pretty much _anyplace_ that wants to attract foot traffic.

Personally I think eventually free wifi will be as important a piece of infrastructure as free roads. It wouldn't cost that much to unwire the whole country.

Re:Free Wifi in all customer intensive area (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11704078)

Actually, the roads aren't free, at least not here in the USA. They never have been. You pay for them through your taxes.

I'll take it (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11703873)

I find their food reasonable and reasonably priced, and they given free refills on the soda. Thus, I'm off to my local Panera whenever I need to download system upgrades... I get up early on weekends anyway, and would go w/o the WiFi - it's merely a big plus for me.

I've seen a number of laptop's there some days. It's also good to know where I can get both food and WiFi when on the road. It's like A/C was years ago, a cost of doing business if you wanted people in your store.

Good for network testing (5, Funny)

ewg (158266) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703882)

I used a Panera Bread hotspot last weekend to test my employer's new VPN client software. Needed an environment different from my home to isolate a problem.

Two cups of "Colombian Supremo Reserva del Patrón" later, well, I hadn't solved the problem, but I was certainly focused on it.

Not bad service. (1)

lpangelrob2 (721920) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703892)

It's really convenient here when I need it... it would just be really nice if I didn't have to launch the craptastic application that is IE 5.5 for Mac every time I wanted to register my wifi card to access the service.

Note to Panera internet provider: Safari is your friend...

Re:Not bad service. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11704013)

If you want to fix that copy down the URL that you get sent to and put that in your safari bookmarks. I did that and it works fine now.

Re:Not bad service. (1)

iCharles (242580) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704124)

My main experience with Panera has been using the NetFront browser on my PDA (Sony TH55). I have to launch the browser, but I get access. And NetFront can be rather picky...

My personal Panera story is 101 days ago, when we had our first child. I took a picture of the baby with the camera in my palm, and, when I could slip away for lunch, I went to a Panera (much closer than my house), and e-mailed the pic to family. That e-mail is now in her baby book, as the "birth announcement."

I Love Panera! (2, Insightful)

kiwidefunkt (855968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703910)

I worked at Panera for a year and the location I worked at had free WiFi. As a result, we had our fair share of business-suit men and tea-sipping hippies who would bring in their laptops and just laugh the day away with their free intorweb access.

It seemed to me that the laptop people were always the ones buying a single cup of coffee or just a soda, rather than a whole meal. This leads me to believe that frequent Internet users are more intelligent than non-frequent Internet users, because who the fuck would buy food from Panera?

Just a little tidbit of information (2, Interesting)

Manchot (847225) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703927)

Panera is a St. Louis based company, yet there are no Paneras in the entire city. There, are, however, a few dozen St. Louis Bread Companies. St. Louis Bread Co. is the original name of the chain, but Panera is the name that they decided to expand nationally under. Other than the name, though, pretty much everything else is the same.

Panera based in St. Louis (2, Interesting)

MixmastaKooz (621146) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703941)

I live a couple blocks from the HQ and when I was new to the area, I walked into their offices thinking I'd order a sandwich...the secretary pointed across the street where their closest restaurant is located... Their operation in St. Louis is pretty tight (and called St. Louis Bread Co...we St. Louisans are rather provincial) but I was shocked a while ago when I noticed brochures for their wi-fi access and was very impressed. I almost bought a wi-fi enabled PDA (I was in the market for one at the time) hoping to frequent Bread Co... If you go to their store near Washingtion U. in the Loop, laptop/pda usage there is high and basically, they've nailed it: it's a great way to draw in the young professional/student crowd.

The right way to do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11703961)

It seems to me the right way to do this is to put a one time password on each reciept over $n. I run the authentication mechanism at the university where I work and such a mechanism would be trivial to implement.

My main concern about running large wireless networks is that individuals with virus / worm infected systems can suck up all the available bandwidth pretty easily. The only way to deal with this is to bounce them off the network and the kind way to do that is to put a message on their screen that says "your computer has a virus. Please remove it before you use this network."

Free Wifi in Orlando (1)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703962)

I was in Orlando last month and I used the free wifi while watching the 'Arabian Nights' horsey spectacular (by the way the show sucked BIG TIME, actually - v-e-r-y cheesy). Mind you, I don't think they actually knew they were offering free wifi access - but, hey, have PDA - will sniff!

Oh, and as a good tourist I did go to their Web feedback form and let them know that they needed to fix their wireless security so don't blame me if you go there and can't get a connection!

What about linksys (5, Funny)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 9 years ago | (#11703997)

I thought "linksys" was the largest provider of free WiFi in the world...

Hot Roam? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704002)

I wonder when the WiFi spec will include transparent roaming by default. I'd have some kind of unique issuer::id certificate, and a set of "rate plans" I'd be willing to accept (eg. "$0.01:MB", or "$0.05:minute 11AM-6PM; $0.02:minute 6PM-11AM"). I might have a whole keyring of certificates, some of which are per-franchise, like Panera Bread, but the most successful of which are aggregations. Like Cirrus or NYCE login networks for ATMs. Then people could fill in hotspot gaps with their own hotspots, financing their investment, even if the hotspot was for their own ongoing use. And the difference between hotspots and continuous coverage would totally change mobile computing.

There's already a spec for GSM, UMA [umatechnology.org] , but where's the actual tech and businesses for just WiFi, which could have more accurate market economics?

I had to read that three times before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11704018)

...I stopped thinking "WTF is Pantera Bread?"

Re:I had to read that three times before... (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704163)

I also keep thinking of it as Pantera Bread. And actually, I'd be willing to try out a Pantera-themed bakery.

Does anyone use it? (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704026)

I tried my nearest Panera bread's wifi when I moved into my new apartment and was waiting on cable. Two things made me think that very few people actually utilize their free WiFi, despite there being a big "free WiFi!" sticker on the door.
  • the place is trendy/upscale, and the prices reflect that. The people behind the counter were even a little snooty... two of them were having a little cat fight behind the counter once. Anyway, I looked VERY out of place when I whipped out my laptop and started loading geeky apps to try to figure out why I couldn't connect.
  • secondly, their WiFi didn't actually work. They had some problem in the "back room". The guy at the counter gave me an 800 number to call, and the guy on the line said he'd try to reset some things. After several tries of this (at $7.00 per try, though the sandwiches were better than average I guess), it still wasn't working. The guy behind said they had printed brochures on the wifi coming eventually. He just generally gave me the impression that nobody tried to actually use it.
(before you reply: I was able to connect to the access point, get an IP and DNS, and it would respond to some of my packets, but I could never get the DNS server to respond. Also, this was in a pretty populated area in a northern suburb of chicago, so it's not as if there weren't wifiers around)

Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol (HTCPCP) (2, Funny)

Bob the Hamster (705714) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704029)

Wifi at a Coffee shop... Has there ever been a more compelling reason to push for an implementation of RFC2324 [faqs.org] ?

Panera Bread in Upstate NY (1)

concordeonetwo (644570) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704062)

I swear, I think I am the only one who uses the free Wifi at the Panera Bread at the location on Troy Rd in Troy, NY. I think the employees in the store now reconize me when I come in as the "guy with the white laptop who orders the Pepperblue Steak sandwich".

Nice plug... don't try browsing FARK.com. :) (1)

sjanes71 (2217) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704065)

They enforce content filtering on the border of their access points, so while the access may be free, you may not have complete access to the "Intarweb." I was in a rush so I didn't bother looking to see how it could be circumvented, but likely you could make your own secured proxy as long as it encrypts the stream, I think the firewall also seizes on plaintext content that it recognizes as "bad."

It would be interesting to see how a LAN party would kill the wireless spectrum on the local network. As a bonus, you could chat up the cute redhead using her PowerBook if she was using iChat AV/Rendezvous.

Great food as well (1)

the_rev_matt (239420) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704066)

They make great sandwiches, soup, and bagels as well. Locally they operate as St Louis Bread Company, and are one of my favorite places to eat.

I helped make this happen :) (4, Interesting)

dmorin (25609) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704102)

I'm pleased to say I did my part to make this happen. The Panera in my hometown has wifi. However there's no value in me hanging out there on workdays when there is another Panera exactly halfway along my commute, right on the highway. So I wrote them some feedback on their web site saying that if they had wifi then on bad commute days I could hang out there for hours getting my work done and still see how the traffic is coming.

Not only did they respond, but they actually left me on the list as they kept hitting reply-all and I got to hear all the details about the progress of the mall's wiring that was holding them back (they told me they had to wait for work being done on the mall).

The service was actually activated months before they told me that it would. I've used it several times since then. Very nice! Now if I could only bring myself to take up a table for 3 hours while enjoying a single bagel...

Not really an "article" (2, Informative)

johndiii (229824) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704151)

It's rather more of a "press release". The little blurb at the end is pretty much of a giveaway. Go ahead and RTFPR, but don't expect too much of it.

Free is always reasonable (2, Funny)

mephisto73 (771616) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704154)

Their food prices are comptetitive and the place is comfortable. The wifi service at my local shop is blazing fast. The signal is from the unprotected dollar store next door, but they don't seem to mind too much.

BEWARE -- free WiFi will crowd a university Panera (3, Funny)

IronChefMorimoto (691038) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704168)

I work about 2 miles from a Panera in Atlanta adjacent to Emory University. The Panera is within walking distance from the university. Let me be the first to say that free WiFi and a nearby college student population pretty much guarantee that you will be in a line of 30-40 college kids carrying various WiFi-enabled laptops.

Thankfully, many of the college girls wear their PJs to class and lunch, so it makes the line seem a little shorter. Ahhh..."hot buttered buns at Panera." Oh shit! Who turned on the mic?

IronChefMorimoto

Urge.. rising.. (2, Funny)

OmgTEHMATRICKS (836103) | more than 9 years ago | (#11704170)

Must... resist.. making... BAD.. BREAD.. JOKE..

I. Can't. Do it! Even if the joke IS a half-baked one!

Oh man, the gods of humor are gonna fry me now . . .
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