We wouldn’t have dreamed of it a decade ago but the internet has become an incredibly important facet of mobile devices. It’s almost unthinkable to have a cellphone without 3G or GPRS and a WiFi adapter for wireless internet is included on all things portable.
Sony’s PSP was a pioneer in this digital stretch. It was one of the first gaming devices that looked beyond the games; including music and movie playback, and WiFi capability.
Although the PlayStation Portable has been out for a while now, its web browser is still powerful enough to enjoy browsing the web. It supports Flash and Java, and its capabilities go way beyond most mobile devices.
Since the PSP uses WiFi, you will need a wireless access point to connect to the internet. Most people have a wireless router at home these days, otherwise you can purchase a USB WiFi transmitter for your computer, but when you’re on the move you’ve got to improvise. Below are two ways to use that built-in PSP WiFi scanner and find a hot spot on the go.
Note that there are two kinds of unencrypted hot spots: public hot spots – like the one at Starbucks or in the park, meant to share an internet connection , albeit freely – and unsecured private networks, which you can access because there’s no password needed. Connecting to a private network without prior consent from the owner is illegal in most countries, and can result in heavy fines. MakeUseOf will not assume any legal liability in the matter.
Use Your PSP WiFi Scanner
Your PSP has a built in WiFi scanner, which you can use to search for hot spots. Doing so is very easy. Make sure the WLAN switch, as depicted below, is turned on.
From the main menu, go to Settings -> Network Settings. A connection wizard will pop up.
First you’ll be presented with a choice between Ad Hoc and Infrastructure Mode. We’ll choose Infrastructure Mode, because the former is used to connect two PSPs without using an existing network.
If this is your first time running the wizard on that location, and I’m assuming it is, you need to create a new connection. Otherwise choose one from the list.
You’ll be asked to enter a few basic details, like the connection name. Changing this is not at all required, but would be useful if you plan on using this same hotspot in the future.
You’ll be asked whether you want to scan for available access points, or enter the network details manually. We’re of course using the scan function.
As you can see in the screenshot below, your PSP will present you with all available access points, ranked by signal strength. Unless you know the network, you’ll need to choose one with security attribute – none.
It often happens that there are no access points directly available. You can move to another position, go back (by pressing O) and scan again. Good places to look for public hotspots are train stations, big malls, bistros and other (preferably big) public places.
Alternative: Use Road Dog WiFi Sniffer (Homebrew)
Note that this application is homebrew – which basicly means it’s cooked up by an amateur software developer. Sony doesn’t allow you to run homebrew on your PSP by default though so you’ll have to put a custom firmware on your device first. Doing so will open a whole new world of community software development, including translation apps, PDF readers and GameBoy emulators.
We previously wrote a comprehensive MakeUseOf Manual to Down- and Upgrading Your PSP.
Road Dog is a homebrew PSP application that allows you to sniff for WiFi connections. This means that, unlike when using the default PSP WiFi scanner, your device will keep rescanning for potential access points. By monitoring the signal connection, you can use it to monitor and even locate hotspots while walking or driving around.
Do you know other ways to find a hotspot? Tell us in the comments section below!
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