What is Wi-Fi and Where Do You Find Wi-Fi Hotspots?

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Wi-Fi is a popular buzzword amongst tech geekies as well as the not-so-technicals for quite some time now. Although it has been around for a while, not everyone internet connected knows what Wi-Fi means or what it stands for.

Wi-Fi is a type or brand of wireless technology that is co-owned by a group called the Wi-Fi Alliance. The W-Fi Alliance’s goal is to improve the inter-operability of wireless local area networks or (WLAN) products by following the IEEE 802.11 protocols and standards.

This technology is usually reserved for mobile computers and lately, mobile phones as well as PDAs are designed to be Wi-Fi-friendly as well. As it is a wireless network, Wi-Fi does not have the familiar Ethernet cables that are used to connect one computer to another or as way to connect a computer to fast internet.

Another term being kicked around in the wireless WLAN community is, Wi-Fi hotspots, or just simply hotspot. A Wi-Fi hotspot is a public area that offers paid or even free wireless internet connection to your device… (laptop, phone, PDA etc.). Most of these services cover only a small area (for example. hotel lobby’s or libraries), while others may cover an entire city or downtown area. (known as municipal hotspots).

While having these Wi-Fi hotspots has made for cheap affordable and convenient internet connection possible, there are some security issues that accompany this technology.

Some Wi-Fi hotspots are left unsecured, so any data you may sent over the Wi-Fi network is not properly encrypted. Because of this, malicious hackers can monitor the data you send who are using the same Wi-Fi network. This can open yourself up to identity theft or worse.

There are however several solutions such as Virtual Private Networks or (VPN’s), that has recently been made available. VPN’s are secure, but are not yet widely used because of the costs of implementing the network.

So Where to Find Wi-Fi Hotspots
The Wi-Fi hotspot is a great phenomenon for wireless computing fanatics. Since this technology makes the internet publicly available, this enables your portable devices such as laptops to be truly mobile and connected.

While not every one has picked up on this technology yet, there are quite a few major cities and major areas in the world where it has been used. Here is a list of some of the most popular and typical places where you can find usually Free or Paid Wi-Fi hotspots.

1. Coffee shops
Your local coffee bar has gained popularity as places to meet people and have a good cup of java. But lately, these popular coffee shops has also become hubs for the mobile internet user crowd. These places now usually offer free unlimited Wi-Fi internet connection to their coffee drinking patrons, usually just for the cost of a cup of cafe.

2. Hotels
A lot more hotel chains are beginning to offer Wi-Fi services which are mainly targeted towards their business travelers. Wi-Fi can now be accessed in hotel rooms, restaurants, lounges or lobbies for instant mobile internet use. The only downside is, most current hotel WiFi availability are usually a paid service, often separate from the hotel room rate and thus can become quite expensive.

3. Airports
Wi-Fi hotspots are now be found in many of the major international airports. This is also geared primarily towards the business traveler who may want to check their e-mail, or get some work done just before boarding their plane.

4. Other spots may be: Universities and Colleges, local libraries and downtown cores.

Wi-Fi hotspots are great for mobile internet connection, and are becoming increasingly popular.

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