Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Testing Free Wifi with WiGO

Since I had a lunch meeting at Kuretake in Power Plant Mall, I decided to give the free Wifi service there a spin. The service, offered by WiGo, follows an ad-supported business model. You download their (really annoying) toolbar that continuosly flashes ads from their sponsors. In turn, you get to enjoy free Wifi service. Not such a bad deal, I guess.

I sat at the bench on the ground floor area in front of the Lacoste store not far from Marks & Spencer. A scan for available Wifi Access Points (WAP's) from that area shows four (4) operating points:

  • WiGOSpot-P1A-FreeWifi
  • WiGOSpot-P1B-FreeWifi
  • WiGOSpot-R2-FreeWifi
  • WiGOSpot-R3-FreeWifi

Based on the naming convention, two are located at the food court area in basement 1 (P1A & P1B), one on the 2nd floor (R2), and a third one at the 3rd floor (R3 -- the movie theater level). Power Plant Mall is fairly small so I guess 4 units is sufficient.

Once connected to a WAP, opening the browser leads you to the wigo login/signup page. Signup was quick and simply. Not too many intrusive and personal questions. The only thing I could not figure out was -- it asked for an email address and said it will email activation code there. Hmm... but how can you access your email and activate it if in the first place, you don't have wifi access yet? Kinda like a chicken-and-the-egg problem. But strangely, it allowed me to proceed online without having to activate the link that was emailed.

I hated the thought of downloading the executable ad Toolbar installer. But I had no choice so I went ahead. The surfing speed was not bad. Doing a traceroute shows they are going through Bayantel ( Not too surprising since Rockwell is owned by the Lopezes. Banner advertisers so far include Bayantel, JobsDB, Flower Farm, 88Db, Dell, and Convergys.

My old Thinkpad only has a 1024 x 768 resolution. The toolbar ad was occupying about 1/5th of the screen below so it was pretty annoying (the window is configured to be "always on top"). It covers a portion of my browser at any given time. If you try to push out the toolbar beyond the edges of the desktop to "hide" it, it repositions itself so that the entire window is visible at all times. I guess for users of larger screens, it won't be that much of a problem. But in my case, just to use GMail, I had to keep moving the toolbar around so I can read what's lying underneath it! Ah, the price one pays for free Internet, I guess.

After testing the service for about 10 mins with my GMail, I hibernated my notebook and proceeded to Kuretake. The entrance to the restaurant is outside the mall and along the driveway -- although its still part of the mall building. I checked my notebook again and found out there's no Wifi signal there. :P

1 comment:

orly_andico said...

I tried the WiGo AP in Paseo Center using my Nokia phone.

They still try to put an ad toolbar above the screen, but I guess the poor Javascript support in Safari for Symbian foils them. I could actually bypass the ad/URL toolbar and enter URL's directly.