You can see it in coffee shops, meeting rooms and yes even in the NWOCA offices! People trying to get on WiFi on phones, laptops, and tablets. Free WiFi has become part of our daily routine and we have a lot of problems if it is unavailable.

This tip will give you a quick and easy way to ensure that you get on an available WiFi network the first time every time.

OK, so to set the scene we are trying to get on the WiFi network. You will first select a network to join.

Mac Networking
Macintosh Network Selection
Chromebook Network Selection
Chromebook Network Selection


The ones with padlocks are encrypted networks (you will need a password) and also are encrypted (your data is protected).

OK so far so good you have connected to the network but there is an extra step needed to actually get a live connection to the internet. You have to accept a user agreement on what is sometimes called a captive portal screen.

Captive portal

The secret sauce is in how to always get the captive portal to appear. What you need to know is that the captive portal needs an http connection to trigger the window to load in your browser.

OK so here’s the problem? Most of us are now spending a lot of time in Google Apps, which along with other popular sites including YouTube, Gmail and Facebook are all secure sites (HTTPS) and as such will not trigger the captive portal we need to connect to WiFi.

The solution is to visit and bookmark a simple non-secure website (your district page or NWOCA) and then simply click the bookmark after connecting to the network and you will get your captive portal every time. Any HTTP site will do the trick.

HTTP Address

A final word on networks, unless you are entering some kind of password to get on WiFi then your data can be seen by others. Do not do any internet banking or send sensitive data while logged into free public WiFi.

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