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Internet Access for Travelers in Turkey


Ken Grubb
  • Most tourist destinations in Turkey are well-wired with WiFi access points. In rural areas it can be more difficult to connect, but most every town has at least one internet cafe. This article explains how to get connected, wherever you may be.

A traveler uses the internet to check her e-mails.Airports

Airports in Turkey have Wi-Fi access, but it's not free. When you open your browser, you'll immediately be directed to a page which asks for your credit card details to pay for it.

Hotels

Some of the luxury hotels in Turkey both Wi-Fi access in their rooms, as well as hard-wired Ethernet (RJ-45) data ports you can connect to with a LAN cable. less posh hotels and pensions have repeaters or wireless routers mounted in the hallways of each floor. Cheaper pensions may only have WiFi access in the lobby or community room. Before you book, check to see if free WiFi access is available and where you can access it.

Restaurants, Cafes and Bars

The better eating and drinking establishments, especially those with tourists as their clientele, will have WiFi available. If they don't, one nearby probably will.

Internet Cafes

Even small towns have internet cafes in Turkey. They charge cheap rates by the hour, and offer snacks, drinks, and tea for their guests. They usually have Wi-Fi access as well as fixed computer stations. Internet cafes are also havens for teenage boys who play video games, chat with or message their friends, and generally hang out in the hopes of meeting a girl, so they can get crowded during non-school hours.

Public Areas

Some cities and towns have free public Wi-Fi in public areas. Check for available connections which don't have a "lock" icon. That means you can use the connection for free, and without a password. In Kaş, Antalya for example, you can use the Belediye, or municipality, public WiFi connection whenever you are within range.

Internet Access for Smart Phones and Laptops Without a Wi-Fi Connection

You can access the Internet with a smart phone or laptop anywhere in Turkey, even when no WiFi connection is available.

Smart Phones

If you have SIM card with one of Turkey's mobile service providers (TurkCell, Vodafone, or Avea) you can use "cellular data" from anywhere in Turkey. Since your phone will can also use the local cellular towers to connect, you won't need a WiFi connection. You get some free cellular data credit when you recharge your mobile phone credit. After your free cellular data credit is used up, the system will start deducting credit from your account.

To use cellular data, find the option on your phone and turn it on. It's a good idea to keep cellular data turned off when you are not using it, because your phone may connect to the cellular data network even when you think you are using WiFi. It will also automatically download your e-mail and other "push data" if your phone is set to do so, thereby using mobile phone credit unnecessarily. Turn it off when you aren't using it.

Using Your Smart Phone's Map with Cellular Data

Cellular data is necessary when you're using a map on your mobile phone away from WiFi. With no internet connection, when you zoom in on a specific location on the map, there won't be any map detail because your smartphone can't download map segments. Turn on cellular data access to download them. The map segments will remain "cached" (stored) on your smart phone for a while, so you can see them even after you've switched off cellular data. Move the map around and zoom in and out to download the map segments of the surrounding area. That way you can use them even after you've turned off cellular data.

Laptops

Turkey's mobile service providers offer small USB devices (dongles) which connect to the internet using the cellular data system. You can purchase these devices at any of your network provider's shops. Just buy the device and load the software, plug in the dongle and let it connect, and you will be able to access the internet anywhere in Turkey.

Long-distance Buses

Some of the larger bus companies, such as Pamukkale and Kamil Koç, offer free WiFi access on their large long-distance motor coaches. It is not available on smaller buses used for shorter trips.

Internet Security

Since you'll be accessing the internet in places with an unknown level of security, here are a few ways to minimize risk:

  • Install a firewall on your laptop if you don't already have one. This will protect your computer from intrusions. Late-model Windows and Macintosh computers have them already installed. You can also use one included with an anti-virus or security program. Whatever firewall you use, make sure you download and install the latest updates for it before you travel.
  • Don't send sensitive information, like credit card details over the internet unless it is to a website you trust, and which is secure and encrypted. If the website you are communicating with is secure, its web address will have the prefix "https://" instead of "http://."
  • Use complex passwords of at least twelve characters, with lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, as well as special characters. Change your passwords before you travel. You can change them back when you go home. Memorize your passwords or use a password management program. Don't store them unprotected on your computer, write them down, or store them on the web.

Theft Prevention

Don't rely on your hotel's security to prevent the theft of your laptop. The door locks on most cheap hotels and pensions are only meant to keep honest people out. When you go out without your laptop, store it in a safe in your room, or in a safe at reception. If the hotel or pension clerk offers to watch it for you, ask him or her to put it in a locked room, or somewhere inaccessible to anyone but them.


See Also

Telephones and Internet Forum

External Links

Turkcell: Turkey's largest mobile services provider.
Vodafone: Turkey's second largest mobile services provider.
Avea: Turkey's third largest mobile services provider.


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