LivingTravelHow to access free Wi-Fi at Shanghai airports

How to access free Wi-Fi at Shanghai airports

Free Wi-Fi is available at both Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) and Shanghai Hong Qiao Airport (SHA). However, if you are not familiar with connecting in China, accessing the Wi-Fi network can be tricky.

For phones with local Chinese SIM cards

If you live in China or have a local Chinese SIM card in your mobile phone, the first step is to choose the right wireless network based on where you are.

  • For Pudong International Airport, the network name is SPIA-guest
  • For Shanghai Hong Qiao Airport, the network name is SHA-Airport-FreeWiFi

Then open your browser. It will automatically send you to a page that requires you to enter your mobile phone number. (If the page appears in Chinese, the typing box on your mobile device is the first. Mandarin characters will look like手机 号码.)

Press send and wait a few seconds. You should receive a text message with a 4-6 digit PIN code. Even if you cannot read the text message, you will see a 4- or 6-digit string. That’s the password (or密码in Mandarin). Copy and paste the code again on the browser page (in the second text box where it says密码) and press send again.

You should now be connected and able to enjoy free Wi-Fi.

For foreign phones (roaming)

If you are roaming from abroad, unfortunately going online is not an easy process. You need to scan your passport or ID card on a special machine inside the airport terminal. You will first need to find an information desk inside the terminal, before starting the registration process. At Pudong International Airport, the information desk is located in the center of the check-in counters on the entrance side. At Shanghai Hong Qiao Airport, the information desk is located in the terminal area, near the large screens, before proceeding to the check-in counters.

The information desk assistants speak English and can help you gain access. After scanning your document, you will be given a PIN. You can then follow the same instructions as above for local phones. If you are unsure, have one of the assistants take you to a machine and guide you through the process.

For computers and devices

You will still need a PIN code to connect to your devices, so the same process applies as for phones.

Using the Internet in China

Your favorite social media apps and news sites are mostly blocked in China – the Chinese government doesn’t allow access to sites and apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, just to name a few. To continue accessing these sites while traveling in China, you will need to install virtual private network (VPN) software on your phone, computer, and devices. If you know that you are going to travel to China for a while, then it may be worth buying VPN software.

The other potential problem you may encounter with the Internet in China is speed, which is very slow and can be frustrating at best, excruciating at worst. Unfortunately, there is no software to solve that problem.

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