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I have experienced so many times when trying to connect to a network on my Mac at cafes that provide free Wi-Fi, that my Mac can't connect to the network.

Instead it just returns an endless "Can't connect to the network." error or keeps hanging up. For example, today I tried to connect at Dante Coffe in Taipei and my screen kept showing this popup for tens of minutes.

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However, when I tried to connect with my iPhone the connection worked without any problems.

I tried turning my Mac off and on several times but couldn't still make it work. After 30 minutes or so on sleep, I was finally able to connect it.

This is so stressful. Sometimes I just restart my Mac and then the connection is successful after that. That being said, if I restart my Mac, all the browser pages after the restart are altered to "try to connect to the network" page, as I set it to launch on restart. And then you can no longer go back to the original page even after the successful connection.

This happens in so many cafes in every country I visited - Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore - except for South Korea. Also, this never happens for Wi-Fi networks located in houses.

I know that part of the reason is that many people use it simultaneously, but I still cannot connect to it even when there are very few, or only me, at the cafe.

This is so stressful, so my questions are as follows:

  • Why does it happen so frequently that you cannot connect to the free Wi-Fi on your Mac at a cafe?

  • Why can't some devices (like my Mac) connect while other devices (like my iPhone and other laptops) can?

  • If you encounter these issues, is there anything else you can do besides turning off and on your network and/or restarting your Mac?

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