Photo: oatawa (iStock)

We are definitely in the era of the remote worker. And as wfh-ers or frequent freelancers float around, anchored by their laptops for work, they’re also looking to get out of their cavelike homes, away from the dirty dishes and heaping piles of laundry. So many settle into neighborhood establishments as their office-away-from-the-office. There, knowing where to get the best wifi signal is paramount. Who among us hasn’t run across the street with an open laptop, searching frantically for a signal?

Me, that was me, when the wifi went down at my beloved but tech-shaky local coffeeshop. And you know where I headed? Yep, straight to the wifi-solid Starbucks. Turns out, I’m not alone. PC Magazine offers a valuable primer today on “The Fastest Free Nationwide Wi-Fi Of 2018” that all remote workers should print out and post on their home office bulletin boards—haha, I mean bookmark.

At any rate, the results may or may not be what you expect. At your coffee-centric places, yes, Starbucks is up there. But not number one; that would be Dunkin’ Donuts (or the soon-to-be Dunkin’), where caffeine and sugar—the combo fuel of the online worker—is available in copious amounts. Peet’s Coffee is in second place before Starbucks scoots in.

I wasn’t really surprised by the fast food winner either, due to all the afternoons I happily threw my kids into the playland so that I could get some work done and eat a Filet-O-Fish. Yep, McDonald’s is the best bet for powerful wifi in the fast-food chain set. Number two is Panera, which also makes sense—it’s a welcoming place to snuggle up and order a soup bowl for your fake office. Several places down appeared Arby’s, Qdoba, and Wendy’s, but I really can’t imagine working at any of those places longer than it would take me to down a Frosty. Good thing too, as PC puts it, “After McDonald’s and Panera, wow, those speeds drop off.”

Want to go a little more upscale, to a sit-down restaurant? Turns out “two sit-down chains outpaced McDonald’s on download speeds: Hooters, with an average of 27.2Mbps down, and the Southeastern regional pizza chain Mellow Mushroom, at 26.9Mbps.” PC also helpfully outlines the wifi speeds at retail stores and even big-box stores—but I’ll likely stick with my emergency Starbucks corner.

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