Or you might just be interested in a map of the WiFi networks Local Davis businesses are quite generous in the number of FREE wireless hotspots available to the general public as well as Public Internet Terminals. This will probably continue as long as WiFi users continue to be decent customers — it is important to avoid becoming someone who just hogs up space without buying anything in some reasonable interval. Also be mindful of others who share your connection: massive use of bandwidth (such as peer-to-peer programs) hurt the others that share the connection. Ironically, the larger chains in town require their customers to pay for access, while small business owners in town typically offer it without charge.

Interested in mapping the wifi networks of Davis? Drop me a line. Initial work here.

A Google Maps mashup provides a nice view of WiFi hotspots in different locations, although more data needs to be added for hotspots in Davis - you can help. Also, Fon has a searchable map that lists a dozen or so Fon Hotspots in Davis.

A PushPin Map of mashup provides a view of cell phone dead zone locations and more data needs to be added for poor coverage areas in Davis.


Expanded map of the WiFi networks on Sycamore

Most public wireless networks do not use encryption. This means that if the websites you're accessing don't use encryption (i.e. their addresses don't start with https), anyone else with a computer close by can see everything you send and receive. Some websites such as facebook and all wikispot wikis use encryption for just login information so that while somebody could read everything you're doing online, they can't get your user name and password. MySpace does not use any encryption so you might want to hold off reading your messages and such until you get to a place with wired internet or encrypted wireless (such as at home). Most bank websites use encryption. Just check for the https. Gmail uses encryption for your entire email session. However, the person receiving email from you might be not be using Gmail.

One exception is Instaconnect they put everyone behind a massive public IP thereby hiding your IP address. They make everyone create an account which means that to access your account or information you have to be on your computer with your MAC address, and have to know your log-in and password. The down side is having to create an account when all you really want to do is get online, but you only have to do it once and most places downtown can see Instaconnect hotspots.

One way to secure all your web traffic is to securely to connect to a web proxy. If you're a UC Davis affiliate, you can create an ISUN account and tunnel all your web traffic through there. Check out the aforementioned ISUN page for instructions on setting up a tunnel on *nix systems.

Before doing any credit (or debit) card transaction online, you should always make sure the connection is encrypted. You can see that it is if the address starts with "https" (rather than just "http", which is not encrypted). This is regardless of whether you are using a public Wi-Fi network or your own at home. And you should never use a public computer for this - it may have a "key logger" on it, which tracks everything you type, including passwords, credit card numbers, etc.

Be careful when logging in to password protected networks. Some evil people will set up fake names on their networks and try to capture your user IDs and password. For example, they will call their network "Xfinity Free Wifi" and then when you log in they will steal your user ID and password. Free Wifi should be open and it should not ask you for an ID or a password.

Access within the City of Davis

Not all wireless access points are maintained equally well

Access on the UC Davis Campus

MOObilenet Hotspots

Available to UC Davis affiliates only. If you have your laptop with you on campus and wireless access won't work, plugging into the campus ethernet might be a good idea.See MOObilenet for information on the wireless network on campus, including how to set up your laptop for access.

Other Hotspots on Campus

Hotspots Outside Davis (but on the Wiki)

  • Buckhorn Steak and Roadhouse Winters, code required
  • UC Davis Medical Center
    • SSID:ucdhs-guest is the hospital-run public WiFi network. Log in through captive portal for a 480-minute guest session. Available in Pavilion Lobby and some other patient waiting areas.
  • As of January 2012, all Amtrak cars on the Capitol Corridor have WiFi for free.
  • Sac Int'l and it's free!


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