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Crawling Berkeley: We Investigate Café Wifi Connections

Posted By Alex Bigman On Feb 16, 2010 @ 8:08 pm In Sandbox,The Specials | Comments Disabled


The library, as a study space, sucks. That is, unless you’re one of the some who thrive off of a collective atmosphere of stress, anxiety and dread, enjoy being somewhere so quiet that you can perfectly hear the sh*tty house music emanating from your neighbor’s earbuds, and prefer the smuggling of energy drinks over the freedom to drink coffee while you work. For the rest of us, we go to cafés.

However, we’ve experienced over the years that the wifi situation varies notably from café to café. At best, you’ll experience free, fast wifi that doesn’t make you jump through hoops to access. At worst, you’ll find places where you must inquire for a wifi password, only to connect to a slow or flickering connection that makes you watch a 30-second ad every hour. Not to mention the audacious f*cks that charge a fee.

For your convenience, the Clog has compiled a list of 12 near-to-campus cafés and the wifi sitch for each:

A Cuppa Tea (College and Alcatraz avenues)

PLUS: Free, no password required. Lightning fast connection speed. Abundance of power outlets.
MINUS: Nothing to speak of, except for a really sketchy bathroom …
SCORE: 5/5

cafe roma
Image Source: curious yellow [1] under Creative Commons

Cafe Roma (College and Ashby Avenues)

PLUS: Free, no password required, extends throughout ample seating area, including outdoor patio.
MINUS: Power outlet placement limits seating possibilities, especially outside (we only saw one out there.)
SCORE: 4/5

the beanery
Image Source: finn [2] under Creative Commons

The Beanery (College Avenue near Russell Street)

PLUS: Free, no password required
MINUS: You must navigate through pop-ups and an off-putting “terms of service” page that warns you about how their connection is not “secure.” Also, connection must be renewed every hour, requiring you to watch another ad. We have experienced the connection speed to vary from time to time. Power outlet placement is fairly limiting in the back seating area.
SCORE: 2/5

Sack’s (College Avenue and Derby Street)

PLUS: Free, no password required, ample power outlets.
MINUS: We have experienced speed to vary from OK to painfully slow on select occasions.
SCORE: 4/5

berkeley espresso
tastybit [3] under Creative Commons

Berkeley Espresso (Shattuck and Hearst avenues)

PLUS: Free, no password required. I am currently writing here. There are 13 laptops in view.
MINUS: None. This place rocks the interwebs.
SCORE: 5/5

People’s Cafe (Shattuck and University avenues)

PLUS: Free, no password required, fast, abundance of outlets (2 per person in the back!)
SCORE: 5/5

brewed awakenings
feverblue [4] under Creative Commons

Brewed Awakenings (Euclid Avenue and Ridge Road)

PLUS: Free
MINUS: Requires a password and then you must register. This only needs to be done once and then your account will last indefinitely. Power outlet arrangement is somewhat limiting.
SCORE: 3/5

cafe milano
Image Source: askpang [5] under Creative Commons

Cafe Milano (Bancroft Way near Telegraph Avenue)

PLUS: Airbears usually available at reasonable speeds.
MINUS: The “Cafe Milano” connection demands a fee and password. There is a “free wifi” network that we were able to connect to but could not access the internet. We have also experienced the airbears connection to occasionally fail.
SCORE: 2/5

Image Source: joguldi [6] under Creative Commons

Caffe Strada

PLUS: Airbears
MINUS: Primarily outdoor seating entails weather issues (sun’s glare on laptop screen, inclement weather) and power outlet limitations. We have also experienced the Airbears connection to be shaky at times.
SCORE: 3/5

Sufficient Grounds (Durant Avenue near Telegraph Avenue)

PLUS: Free. Reliable.
MINUS: Requires a password that you must ask for.
SCORE: 4/5

cafe med
Cirne [7] under Creative Commons

Cafe Mediterraneum (Telegraph Avenue near Haste Street)

PLUS: Free.
MINUS: Password required – it is written on the cash register. Power outlet arrangement is somewhat limiting.
SCORE: 4/5

Peet’s (Telegraph Avenue and Dwight Way)

PLUS: Free.
MINUS: Password required and there is a two hour time limit. Very few power outlets.
SCORE: 2/5

Please note that wireless connectivity is a variable thing. The above ratings are the sum of our collective experiences and, in some cases, one-time investigations. If you have any insight of your own, please add to our crawl with a comment!

Earlier: Just Loungin’ Around Town [8]

Article printed from The Daily Clog: http://clog.dailycal.org

URL to article: http://clog.dailycal.org/2010/02/16/crawling-berkeley-we-investigate-cafe-wifi-connections/

URLs in this post:

[1] curious yellow: http://www.flickr.com/photos/curiousyellow/451024991/

[2] finn: http://www.flickr.com/photos/finn/1491818677/

[3] tastybit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sour_patch/252129746/

[4] feverblue: http://www.flickr.com/photos/feverblue/869987493/

[5] askpang: http://www.flickr.com/photos/askpang/273653138/

[6] joguldi: http://www.flickr.com/photos/landschaft/110635491/

[7] Cirne: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cirne/3691349024/

[8] Just Loungin’ Around Town: http://clog.dailycal.org/2009/12/17/crawling-berkeley-just-loungin-around-town/

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