Five top Wi-Fi tips and tools

Get more out of Wi-Fi when at home, in the office or on the road with these five great tips.

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Want to speed up your Wi-Fi network, find the fastest hot spot when on the road, troubleshoot connectivity strength and more? I've got help. Check out five of my favorite Wi-Fi tips and tools, including plenty of free downloads.

Use a free VPN

When you're away from your home or office and use Wi-Fi, your Internet life can be an open book when you connect to an open Wi-Fi network. So protect yourself with a free VPN. There are plenty of them. If you're a Chrome user, check out the free ZenMate, which works as a Chrome extension. Firefox users might want to opt for Hola Unblocker, which works as a Firefox add-on.

As for free VPNs that work independently of the browser, VPNBook is very good, although you'll have to spend some serious time with setup. And the popular Hotspot Shield VPN is good as well, although its ads can be intrusive.

Troubleshoot Wi-Fi network connectivity strength

Want to troubleshoot Wi-Fi connectivity strength? Then get the free Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector. It shows you a remarkable amount of information about nearby networks, including how close or far away they are, signal strength including a real-time signal-strength graph for the last eight minutes, and a locate mode for tracking signal strength. Put it on a laptop, then move to different locations to find areas where signal strength is weak. You can then relocate your router, add repeaters, and so on. It's also a great tool if you're on the road and looking for Wi-Fi networks to connect to.

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