I’m in a hotel in Glasgow at the moment and decided to give their Wifi access a try. They’re connected The
Cloud who claim to be Europe’s leading wireless network provider. The interesting
thing is that they partner with a number of providers for wireless services, including Skype, BT
The Cloud have am unlimted wifi package for ?11.99 per month, which is quite competitive
in my view, considering it’s cheaper than most broadband packages around. However,
while surfing through their partner sites, I noticed that Skype are
pioneering a Wifi service (supported by Boingo Wireless)
which is priced at $7.95 a month (around ?5.00). Now that price for all-you-can-eat
Wifi is great. In fact I signed up for a month even though I’m in Glasgow just for
2 days. In the past, I would pay BT Openzone ?6.00 for a 1-hour voucher; and Skype
give you a month’s worth for less than that!! Skype Zones definetly have my vote for
the best service around.
I had some minor teething problems getting the Skype Zones service running. You need
to download a client which takes over your wireless setting and provides authentication
at that level. From what I can see, this works on the basis that it “recognises” networks
in your area as being affiliated with the “Skype Zones family” and automatically gives
you access to them. However, when I downloaded the client, it didn’t recognise the
“The Cloud” network in my area, so just kept sending me back to the Cloud home page.
After trying a couple of things to get it working, I found an option to “Update the
Software” (see below). There were no software upates available, but it refreshed the
list of Skype Zones in it’s database and lo and behold, my connection sprung to life.
Looks like the initial version I downloaded didn’t have a complete list of hotspots
and so didn’t know about the connection I downloaded it from. Still, I’m sure it’s
a teething issue and will be addressed.
The interesting thing about Skype Zones is that I could download the software onto
a different machine and use that; which implies the account isn’t tied to the MAC
address of the machine that’s using it. This is useful, however you cannot have more
than one machine connected directly to the wireless connection; as soon as you get
the second machine to connection, the first machine loses connection. Fair enough
I suppose; pity I left my cross-over cable at home 😉
Anyway; if you’re out and about, keep an eye out for Skype
Zones, there’s 18,000 hot spots around the world that support it !