At long last, Tim Hortons has rolled out WiFi to the majority of its outlets. I am a true Tim Hortons fan, and Tims is always my fist choice for my coffee break while on the road. But in the past, Tims has often lost my coffee dollar because I needed to use WiFi. So I was quite pleased this summer to see a WiFi sign in the window of one of my regular Tim Horton stops.
I checked out the Tim Hortons web site and learned that they had beta tested the idea in a number of their outlets with positive results. In the past, Tims was always been pleased to serve, but preferred their customers to move along after 20 minutes or so. I turns out that when customers hang about to use the internet, they often buy a second coffee or doughnut.
By now, it appears that most of the local Tim Hortons sit down restaurants have installed WiFi. The Tim Hortons mobile app lets you filter search results to show only WiFi enabled locations. In the last while, I have found only one sit down location without WiFi, and that one was quite close to a high school. Coincidence, or does the local manager not want to encourage the high school kids to loiter?
Using the service is pretty straight forward. Once you have connected to the network you have to open a browser window, and you are taken immediately to a page where you can access the network, once you have agreed to their terms. Choose WiFi free, and you are up and running. Took about two minutes start to finish to access the network. You have the option to join Tim Hortons WiFi Plus. In exchange for your email address, the network remembers your device. After accepting WiFi Plus subsequent connections were faster, and click free. You do have to repeat this process for each device, so I had to repeat the process for my laptop, iPhone and iPad.
I started checking connections speeds using the free Speed Test app on my phone, and I found speeds varies wildly from store to store. More than half that I measured a respectable 5 to 6 GB download. A few were in the much lower, 1 to 2 GB, and one outlet was a pitiful 510 MB down. The slow connection was so slow as to be unusable, so I disconnected and used the Personal Hotspot feature on my iPhone instead.
I thought at first that the slower speeds might be because may customers were sharing the bandwidth, but the slowest connections were actually in the least busy restaurants. If I see consistently slow speeds at the same location, I think that I will point it out to the manager.
So in conclusion, I find the new service pretty good on the whole, and very welcome. If you plan to use it a fair bit, it is worth signing up for the WiFi Plus service to get faster log-ins. Since I signed up Tim Hortons has not swamped me with emails.