Free Wi-Fi at South African coffee shops tested — with a clear winner

Free Wi-Fi at South African coffee shops tested — with a clear winner

MyBroadband tested the free Wi-Fi at prominent South African coffee shops, which revealed that Starbucks has by far the best performance.

Free Wi-Fi has become a standard offering at many coffee shops and restaurants, allowing customers to surf the net, check email, or do work while enjoying their coffee.

However, free Wi-Fi is often a disappointing experience, with providers not paying for enough bandwidth to support multiple users or bandwidth-intensive services.

To see which coffee shop offers the best free Wi-Fi, MyBroadband tested the performance at prominent outlets — Mugg & Bean, Starbucks, Wimpy, and Seattle Coffee Co.

We also tested the free Wi-Fi at Centurion Mall and added this as a point of comparison.

We performed numerous tests at each outlet, including three speed tests, a Steam download, a torrent download, a Chrome download, and tests with Surfshark VPN connected to its local server.

Starbucks crushed the competition. It achieved an average download speed of 94.26Mbps, with all the file downloads exceeding 80Mbps.

Our Surfshark VPN also worked well on this connection, exceeding 80Mbps for most tests.

Starbucks also makes it easy to connect. The Wi-Fi password is available at the till, and no other login was required.

Wimpy finished a distant second with an average download speed of 2.99Mbps.

Wimpy offers free uncapped Wi-Fi, but it is not easy to gain access. Before connecting, users must enter their email address and mobile number on an insecure form.

Using a VPN caused some problems loading websites, but speed tests over the VPN connection showed little change compared to tests conducted without using a VPN.

Mugg & Bean and Seattle Coffee Co had data caps on their free connections – 1 hour/500MB and 3 Hours/1GB, respectively.

These connections also required users to complete insecure forms before using the service.

The average download speed at Mugg & Bean was 2.96Mbps, while Seattle Coffee Company had an average download speed of 2.86Mbps.

The login at Seattle Coffee Company was reset a few times. The data monitor was reset each time to the full 3 hours and 1GB.

It is worth noting that the free Wi-Fi at Centurion Mall outperformed Mugg & Bean, Wimpy, and Seattle Coffee Co.

The free Wi-Fi at the mall had an average download speed of 5.1Mbps, with no throttling, and our VPN performed well without any speed deterioration.

The table below provides an overview of the free Wi-Fi performance at prominent coffee shops.

Free Wi-Fi Comparison
Average Download Speed Average Upload Speed Average Latency Average File Download
Starbucks 94.26 Mbps 95.32 Mbps 4.33 ms 11.07 MB/s
Centurion Mall 5.10 Mbps 5.29 Mbps 5.00 ms 613 KB/s
Wimpy 2.99 Mbps 0.75 Mbps 24.67 ms 360 KB/s
Seattle Coffee Company 2.86 Mbps 1.79 Mbps 5.33 ms 337 KB/s
Mugg & Bean 2.96 Mbps 0.91 Mbps 12.00 ms 353 KB/s

About the coffee

Most people visit coffee shops for, well, the coffee.

Choosing the best coffee is highly subjective, but we tried to get an expert opinion by getting one of our employees, a trained barista, to sample the goods.

He rated the cappuccino from Seattle Coffee Co the highest, followed by Wimpy and Mugg & Bean to tie for second place. Starbucks finished fourth — but it was close to the other two.

He highlighted that the coffee quality at all four shops was good and significantly better than what most people would be enjoying at home.

Coffee Rating
Coffee Rating
Seattle Coffee Company 4.5
Wimpy 4
Mugg & Bean 4
Starbucks 3.5

Now read: I upgraded my home to Mesh Wi-Fi 6 — with incredible results

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