With the growing popularity of WiFi networking for accessing the Internet, this convenience is becoming expected.

What often frustrates users now is not the availability of WiFi, but the often spotty coverage and never being really sure where you'll be able to access a good signal.

Sure, the hotel, coffee shop or airport advertises WiFi availability, but that doesn't mean every square foot of the building will have equal (or even acceptable) signal strength.

Enter a new breed of cool tech tools, Wi-Fi locators, and my personal favorite, the Hawking Technologies HWL1.

While there's a whole breed of these devises now for sale (some as small as a key-chain fob) the Hawking has one big advantage; it's clam-shell design allows you to flip up the antenna to give you a directional indication of not just how strong nearby WiFi signal are, but also the general direction of the source.

When you're in a building or area with WiFi, and looking for a good spot to get down to work, this extra piece of information is critical.

It doesn't hurt that the Hawking unit is a highly stylized product and looks much like a hand-held "communicator" from the Star Trek legacy either.

For roughly $40, (available in stores or online) the HWL1 will sniff out both "B" and "G" signals from up to 300 feet indoors, and is a bargain in time-savings whether you're a road warrior, or just an occasional coffee-shop surfer.

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Copyrighted with all rights reserved by Stephen M. Canale