Free Wi-Fi in Japan is probably no stranger to you, and you can find a lot of related tips and insights on the internet. I don’t know if you found this article while searching for free Wifi in Tokyo OR free Wifi in Osaka， but if you are traveling to Japan, then I hope you can read this article first. Can these free wi-fi really replace paid wi-fi completely? Here is a detailed comparison of the pros and cons of free wi-fi to help you decide if you want to rely on free wi-fi or rent a wi-fi when you travel to Japan.
Benefits of free Wifi
1. Save money on travel
The biggest benefit of free wi-fi is that you can save money on your travel budget, so you can spend it on other things like shopping or local cultural experiences.
2. More free Wi-Fi locations in big cities like Tokyo and Osaka
If you’re just planning to wander around the city center of Tokyo and Osaka, you’ll find places that offer free public Wi-Fi. For example, 711, tram stops, restaurants and coffee shops.
The downside of free Wifi
1. Troublesome steps to connect to the internet
Some networks require email registration before you can connect, and sometimes you can’t use them because you can’t receive emails. Also, because most free Wi-Fi is not for tourists, the registration page and instructions for free Wi-Fi in some shopping malls and other places are only in Japanese, so if you don’t know Japanese well, it can be difficult to register.
2. Unstable network
Even after registering, it’s a big problem if you can actually use it properly. Although I mentioned above that there are a lot of free Wi-Fi locations in big cities, people who didn’t really apply for paid Wi-Fi and relied on free Wi-Fi all the way to the top said that a lot of free Wi-Fi is super difficult to use, and the internet is often not available at all. The tram that I was planning to catch also took too much time to connect to the network and check the route, which delayed my planned trip.
Also, because free Wi-Fi is public, anyone can use it, so at crowded attractions, too many people are connected to the same Wi-Fi at the same time, resulting in a very crowded network environment.
3. Fewer free Wi-Fi locations outside of big cities
If you’re planning to go to a smaller city other than Tokyo-Osaka, or any suburb, or even if you’re planning to get close to nature and go hiking, you may not encounter a free Wi-Fi all the way around.
The Japan Tourism Agency conducted a survey on foreign visitors to Japan, asking them “what are the problems and dissatisfactions they encountered during their travels? The results showed that 36.7% of foreign tourists were dissatisfied with Japan’s wireless public Wi-Fi environment, topping the list.
4. Security of private messages
Although most of them are password-protected, because many users share this Wi-Fi network together, it has many security risks and is not as secure as people think. The result was that in less than half an hour, he could easily access the private information of almost all the users connected to the public Wi-Fi, including their birthplaces, schools they had attended, and even which keywords they had Googled, Facebook accounts and passwords.
Some people also set up Wi-Fi in crowded public places for the purpose of obtaining information about others, and set up the Wi-Fi with names that can be easily misunderstood. For example, in the free Wi-Fi of JR East, the name of the Wi-Fi is “JR-EAST_FREE_Wi-Fi” in all the stations that provide this free Wi-Fi. For example, if you are at JR Akihabara Station and want to use this free Wi-Fi, you may find many similar SSIDs other than this “JR-EAST_FREE_Wi-Fi” when you search, such as「 JR_FREE_Wi-Fi 」、「 JR-EAST_FREE_Wi-Fi_Akihabara 」、「 JR-EAST_FREE_Wi-Fi_AKB 」 (just an example, it may be other similar SSIDs), and some of them may even omit the password, allowing you to use them directly by clicking on them, increasing the chances of being scammed are increased.
Advice for free Wi-Fi
After all that, if you decide to take the challenge of going all the way to free Wi-Fi, here are two suggestions.
1. When you are in a hurry but can’t connect to these free public Wi-Fi after many attempts, don’t try any other Wi-Fi that you can find without password protection, it is a huge security risk.
2. Even if you do need to connect to these free public Wi-Fi networks, you must be careful and avoid logging into your personal account or any other confidential work or money payments while using these free networks.
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