Connecting over coffee?

© Stefan via Flickr

There are lots of great places to work and collaborate at the School, but sometimes you want to go somewhere a bit different, especially if our shiny new building project makes a bit too much noise!

Our intrepid (and coffee-loving) manager Ange headed out to investigate just how connected AND caffeinated Cambridge really is, here’s what she found out:

On a bright, sunny lunchtime I set out along Trumpington Street armed only with an iPhone and change for coffee, and I was amazed at the number of places I could work away from the School using WiFi. Before you go out network hunting, you’ll need to spend a few minutes setting up your device, which is essential, as you won’t always be able to configure on the go.

I set up three networks on my phone and was able to connect in coffee shops, cafes, pubs and public spaces across the city. Here’s what you need, and how to get it:

University of Cambridge WiFi (you might also hear it called by its old name: Lapwing)

This is by far the most important network to install, you’ll have coverage across most of the city and all you need are your RAVEN login details.

Top Cambridge locations where you can connect to University of Cambridge WiFi: Michaelhouse cafe (Trinity Street), Parkers Piece- grab a coffee and work al fresco!


An academic wireless network which allows you access to the internet not just in your home institution, but across Europe, which is perfect if you’ll be travelling or attending conferences during your time at Cambridge. It’s a little trickier to set up, and the instructions depend on whether you’re using a Mac, PC, or mobile device, but the coverage in Cambridge is extensive, so well worth doing.

Top Cambridge locations where you can connect to Eduroam: Fitzwilliam Museum (catch up with the in the Impressionist Gallery, for a true Cambridge experience!), cafes along King’s Parade.

Open networks

There are a range of open networks you can access, many are free for the first hour and then attract a fee; some hotspots may be available to you based on your mobile phone or home broadband provider. One network that anyone can use is The Cloud, which has great coverage across the city – create your own hotspot map from their website- and is ideal for short-term use.

Top Cambridge locations where you can connect to The Cloud: Baroosh (Market Passage), The Anchor Pub (Silver Street), The University Centre (Granta Place)

Our top tips for surfing outside of the School

  • Set up a range of Wi-Fi networks on your device before you go out.
  • It’s often easier to set up Eduroam with two devices: follow the instructions on one of them, and set up the connection on the other.
  • Save your login credentials for University networks, and set your device to auto-connect to seamlessly move between one network and another.
  • Scout a location out and test the signal strength if you and friends want to work away from the School for a long period.
  • Tell someone if the signal drops, or if you can’t connect. If you’re on University property, there might be someone to help.
  • Be careful connecting to open networks, make sure it’s a legitimate hotspot before you connect, and don’t use them for sensitive surfing, like online banking.
  • There are lots of chain cafes in the city centre, but why not be adventurous and try these independent gems: Indigo (a stone’s throw from King’s), Stickybeaks (Hobson Street), or Hot Numbers (just two minutes away from the School)’

So what are you waiting for? With (almost) all of Cambridge connected to some form of wifi your options are endless. You can always bring a coffee in to the Information Centre to work but we won’t take it personally if you want to work elsewhere too.

Let us know if you find any new places to work that we haven’t mentioned as we’re always on the lookout for new places to try out!

Information & Library Services

Information & Library Services

Information & Library Services

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