A PC view of wireless service. In this example, you see only two have open access. (You do not see if they both require a password). Wi-fi is short for "wireless fidelity" and refers to the 802.11 standard for wireless communication between computers. As the technology changes the standards change. You might find 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11i, 802.11n or greater. As a general rule the speed and range improves with each new standard. When searching for a wi-fi signal you will see the b, g, n or other letter.

If the signal listed has an image of a lock, you likely cannot connect without approval. If it is an ad hoc network, it is not connected to the internet. (It might be for a cash register connection to the inventory computer.) If the signal does not have a lock, any computer can access the signal. Some require a password. In shops that advertise wi-fi, they will supply a password to paying customers.

Some places have software that prevents viewing to some sites deemed inappropriate. The list of inappropriate sites is controlled by the software makers and not the shop owners providing the wi-fi connection.

CAUTION Wireless Internet is not very secure. Access can be monitored and recorded by other computers (with the right software and hardware).

Here is a list of the wireless Internet access points throughout Santa Cruz County. The list is constantly changing.

Free Free WiFi is available all over the county. Much of it is provided to businesses for free by Cruzio in exchange for advertising.


Sometimes called Internet Cafés.

Hotels and Lodging


Library Branches






Private Wireless Networks

  • Montevalle Net, members only, residents of Montevalle

Related Links


2012-04-09 18:39:12   I would argue against using the word free, at most of these locations, one has to BUY something from the business, get receipt from them that has a time limited password first before getting Internet. That is not free wireless. —

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