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Without Your Own Computer

Internet access in most of Egypt is cheap and easy, with even the smallest and most out-of-the-way villages sporting at least rudimentary Internet capacity. You may have to elbow game-playing kids out of the way, but you'll be able to check the news and collect your messages.

It is also worth noting that a 2006 amendment to the local Ministry of Tourism hotel rating system requires that all four- and five-star facilities provide Internet access.

With Your Own Computer

For travelers with Wi-Fi-equipped laptops, life is good in Egypt. In Cairo, almost every cafe and quite a few fast-food outlets feature free wireless Internet, and those that don't are usually within range of one that does. Additionally, in Luxor and Sharm el Sheikh, two major mobile service providers, Vodafone and Mobinil, are competing to provide Wi-Fi coverage throughout town. At the time of writing, service was iffy -- free beta rollouts that offered low bandwidth and patchy coverage -- but look for it to improve. One word of caution: Privacy provisions appear to be quite lax on these networks. If you're concerned about your browsing being monitored or your e-mails being read, read the fine print before you log on.

The big hotel chains have also jumped on the Wi-Fi bandwagon in Egypt, but for the time being they are not offering it for free. The irony of charging LE165 ($30/£15) a day for Internet access when it's available for free just across the street in a cafe or at their three-star competition is lost on them.

For a list of hotspots in Egypt, check out the database at www.jiwire.com. Truly determined Wi-Fi hunters, however, won't be satisfied with anything less than a pocket-size "Wi-Fi spy." Available at Western gadget stores for $20 to $200, depending on features, these handy little devices can sniff out and analyze surrounding wireless networks.

If your laptop is not Wi-Fi equipped, there is cheap and good dial-up access throughout the country that you can access from your hotel room. Most hotels and Internet cafes will also let you plug into their network through the Ethernet port on your laptop.

At the time of writing, Terminal One of the Cairo International Airport was equipped with free Wi-Fi service and Terminal Two had a Wi-Fi system with pay cards (available in the terminal).

Electricity supply is 220 volts in Egypt, and plugs are European style, with two round prongs. Adapters are readily available.

Ethernet patch cables are easy to find (and are generally supplied by hotels with in-room high-speed Internet), but replacement power cords, even for very common laptop models, are not.

Censorship

The Internet is not widely censored in Egypt, though access to some sites that are critical of the government have been blocked. A greater concern for some will be the monitoring of certain sites (such as www.gayegypt.com) and the use of chat rooms to set up gay men for unpleasant encounters with the police.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.