January 27, 2014
Robyn Porteous

How WiFi Works?


There is no denying that WiFi has become logged in our minds as many things: a means to broadcasting our opinions across a number of social media platforms, a constant source of access to valuable information, and a method by which to stay in touch with loved ones both far and near. 

But few people know exactly what WiFi stands for, and exactly how it works. In an effort to further educate you all on everything to do with WiFi, we’ve decided to take a look at how this invaluable technological tool works, so that you may better appreciate how it has revolutionised the lives of people around the World.

What does “WiFi” mean?

Most people can’t seem to agree as to what “WiFi” actually stands for. Some claim that it stands for Wireless Fidelity. But this is a rumour at most. To understand what it stands for, it’s best to look back at the beginning of WiFi. In 1999, the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance wished to regulate a standard for wireless connection. Originally called IEEE 802.11, they needed to re-name it in order to build a brand identity that consumers could trust. Given 10 options by a consultancy company, they picked WiFi and the name stuck. If you were hoping for something a little more convoluted, in this we’re afraid you’ll be left wanting.

How does it work?

WiFi is a high-speed Internet and network connection that doesn’t make use of wires – hence, the frequent belief that the Wi- stands for ‘wireless’. The technology of WiFi uses radio waves to transmit data between your laptop or computer and a router. Success for WiFi devices has been fairly stable with Apple offering an in-built WiFi option on its iBook computers from as early as 1999. Today this is standard in all their devices and retains the endearing title they launched with back then: AirPort. Other computer companies followed in Apple’s footsteps and that is how WiFi capabilities in our electronic devices has become a consistently standard feature.


As with all things, progression from the humble beginnings of WiFi into the introduction of WiFi HotSpots around the World. Largely used in homes, the need to access the Internet on the move and out of your own house was born as a result of the development of laptops into the easily portable device it is today. The ever-growing need for file sharing and fewer cables also lent a hand towards the growth of HotSpots into what they are today.

Initially, HotSpots were mostly paid. Coffee shops and restaurants offered WiFi connection via a HotSpot, for a small fee. More and more, however, the HotSpots found in airports and other public areas are offered for free. The locations in which users can connect to a WiFi HotSpot are also becoming more and more versatile – from tourist attractions to airplanes and phone booths, there is seemingly no limit to the venues that can host a HotSpot.

While it’s true that a lot of infrastructures still use wires, it’s incredible that we can communicate via radio waves. With so many advancements in our technology, many of us are online all of the time, even when we’re travelling both around our home and away from it. At HotWireless we pride ourselves on providing superbly managed HotSpot solutions for businesses, from hotels to restaurants, shopping centres to public transportation systems such as the Blue Train. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you stay connected.

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