Why does free Wifi suck?

Why does free wifi usually suck? The free wifi that I connect to usually sucks. It is slow, takes forever to connect and is not secure at all. Maybe it’s a location thing, maybe in the US or other parts of the world free wifi doesn’t suck, so I will say I am in Ontario, Canada. I can count on one hand the amount of free wifi networks that I’ve ever used that didn’t suck. It’s a very short list with only one, the Apple store.

I know it’s free for the consumer but businesses do get something out of it too. Customers may stay longer and thereby purchase more stuff. It will also draw people in to a location as well. Back in the day when free wifi was few and far between it was OK to just have it. Well that’s no longer the case anymore. It might not be ubiquitous yet but it’s certainly getting there. It’s no longer acceptable, to me, just to have the lowest tier wifi plan and one router. Especially at a busy place where that connection will be shared by more than 15 people. At the very least install more than just one ancient ass router. There are new routers with tons of features that only cost $60-80. Which means there should be at least more routers to balance the demand. Imagine a store with only one exit. It’s a lot different when 5 people try to exit through the door at the same time than when 30 do. Now imagine the difference when those 30 people try to leave at the same time but there are now two doors instead of just one.

Also why are most free wifi hotspots not secured with any kind of security? Are companies just buying routers handing it to an employee and telling them to plug it in? Just because the connection has encryption doesn’t mean it must require a password. It can be set up as a guest network with WPA2 encryption and a blank password. Since I know businesses want to make the connection easy for customers to join. If a password is necessary use the name of the business or something just as simple. My point is there are ways to make it work, but not having encryption? It is such a dis-service to customers. By providing the unsecure connection you are putting their data at risk. I know that since all the customers are on the same network encryption doesn’t prevent great hackers. Sure customers should be using a VPN. But that shouldn’t be used as a scapegoat, providing encrption is at least better than not providing it at all. I have also noticed this becoming a common habit lately. These places need to do better.

In my ultimate scenario there would be usable city-wide free wifi, but unfortunately that is a pipe dream where I am. My next dream scenario would be fast connecting, fast browsing, somewhat secure(encrypted), free Wifi. Places that either chose the fastest tier wifi connection or have more than one connection of the moderate tier. Uses two or more routers depending on the size of the location and number of daily users. Whatever the case current offerings need to do a hell of a lot better.