Every now and then I find myself in an airport, a train station, or some other place where wifi is given out for free… for 10 minutes. Maybe 20 minutes.
Invariably, whatever I’m trying to get done takes me a couple minutes longer than anticipated and ::poof:: there goes my connection. Recently, this happened to me at Midway airport in Chicago, and here’s what gave me a little extra time.
The following assumes running OS X with Google Chrome.
- Close existing browser tabs but do not close Chrome.
- Switch wireless networks to something that isn’t the one you’ll eventually connect to.
- Open the terminal, and get a shiny new MAC address (you can skip this if you have one in mind):
1openssl rand -hex 6 | sed 's/\(..\)/\1:/g; s/.$//'
- Next set your MAC address with:
1sudo ifconfig en0 ether <the MAC address you want>
- Check that your MAC is what you expect (try a new address if your desired one doesn’t take)
1ifconfig en0 |grep ether
- Change wireless networks back to your desired network.
- Open an incognito window and go through the process of signing up for the free internets.
- Internet like crazy!
At the end of the day, remember that you’re using a service in a manner it was not intended for. Don’t be a jerk. If you need a little more time to finish up what you’re working on, you’re not weighing down the network. If you’re doing this trick 5 times back to back, you might consider coughing up the six bucks…
Partially written on spotty wifi at Midway airport.