Last Friday, I did my yearly social duty and visited my CPA in Manhattan to do the dreaded taxes deed, and to assuage my aching heart and walloped wallet, I always first visit Circuit City on the corner of 14th Street and 4th Avenue in Union Square to put my hands on all the latest technology.  Unfortunately, Circuit City is now kaput — but I was pleasantly pleased to see a Best Buy store in the same Circuit City spot.

The Union Square Best Buy is fantastic.  It’s bigger — if that’s possible — and the store is super clean.

Best Buy was, of course, selling computers, cellphones, televisions — and Fender and Epiphone guitars! — and there was the famous Geek Squad fixing stuff in the back of the store.

The biggest Best Buy surprise happened when I pulled out my iPhone 3GS to check my email and I was met with a request to join the Best Buy WiFi network.

Free WiFi at Best Buy?  Could it be?

I fired up my iPhone System Settings and, sure enough, there was an unlocked WiFi network called “BestBuyCustomerWiFI” and the signal was strong.

I decided to join the Best Buy WiFi network.

Safari automagically opened and presented this Best Buy Login screen for their free WiFi service.  I touched the “Go Online” button with my finger, and I was flying on their network!

I fired up the SpeedTest.net iPhone App to see what kind of upload and download speeds I was getting on the Best Buy WiFi network.  5269kbps down and 9215kbps up?  Wowser!  When can I move in and where do I sleep?

I couldn’t get an at&t 3G SpeedTest in NYC at the Best Buy store.  The ping kept timing out.

For comparison with the free Best Buy WiFi, here are my at&t 3G results from Jersey City:  A pretty decent 1380kbps down and a horrible 41kbps up.

For a more direct comparison with Best Buy WiFi speeds, here are the results of my home WiFi setup — using a Comcast Cable Modem an an Apple AirPort Extreme Router — indicating 1134kbps down and 4411kbps up.  Usually the results are more evenly split between up and down, but we all know the iPhone 3GS is temperamental when it comes to creating and keeping a reliable WiFi connection.

If you have a Best Buy in your area, you should visit the store with a WiFi enabled device and do some testing of your own to see how good your Best Buy WiFi speeds are compared to mine in Union Square.

Not all Best Buys offer free WiFi — but for those that do — you have to admire their effort to please their customers by creating a seamless and effortless opportunity to speed along the invisible internet on their dime.

Posted by David Boles

David Boles was born in Nebraska and his MFA is from Columbia University in the City of New York. He is an Author, Lyricist, Playwright, Publisher, Editor, Actor, Designer, Director, Poet, Producer, and Boodle Boy for print, radio, television, film, the web and the live stage. With more than 50 books in print, David continues to write 2MM words a year. He has authored over 25K articles and published more. Read the Prairie Voice Archive at Boles.com | Buy his books at David Boles Books Writing & Publishing | Earn the world with David Boles University | Get a script doctored at Script Professor | Touch American Sign Language mastery at Hardcore ASL.

8 Comments

  1. Gordon Davidescu February 9, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Wow — I have been in that store a lot because that is where I bought my television and the service was so great that I had to go back🙂 Good to know they have free wi-fi!

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  2. Ah! It is a terrific store, Gordon. I was super impressed with their selection and quality of products. When that space was a Circuit City, it always seemed a little sad and dirty and repressed. Now, as a Best Buy, it is packed with all the best new stuff. I love the guitars!

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  3. Kathakali Chatterjee February 16, 2010 at 7:40 am

    Really wow! “Best Buy” was a favourite place of mine to hang out when my other friends used to visit other stores near by.
    Loved their products and store planning before, now love the free wi-fi offer!

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  4. It’s interesting that Best Buy had such great upload speeds on WiFi. That’s pretty rare in the USA. I guess we know Best Buy stores need more bandwidth sending than receiving. Are there free WiFi hotspots in India?

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  5. Kathakali Chatterjee February 16, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Most of the airports have free wifi hotspots and so do a couple of restaurants and cafe, Bangalore and Bombay have the most of them.

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  6. […] instructions.  I’m using an Ethernet cable, but you can do your setup entirely using WiFi.  You’ll need to be on a WiFi connection to print from your iPhone or iPad, and I have my […]

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  7. […] was unable to do a SpeedTest because ping was turned off on the Xfinity server side — but checking email and doing some […]

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