Understanding WiFi Hotspots...
What Is WiFi?
In our article on evil twin problems and WiFi hotspots, a lot of subscribers asked if we could define WiFi.
WiFi is short for Wireless Fidelity. An industry group thought the term 'WiFi' rolled off the tongue better than eight oh two dot eleven (802.11). 😉
WiFi is an industry standard way to connect computers over a network without wires -- in other words, a wireless network. For example, we use WiFi in our home so that we can use our laptops in any room or the back yard to connect to the Internet (without messy wires).
You'll also find WiFi access available in coffee shops like Starbucks, bookstores, offices, airport terminals, schools, hotels, communities, and other public places. These are called WiFi hotspots.
A more technical way to say this is that WiFi is a "local area network that uses high frequency radio signals to transmit and receive data over distances of a hundred to a few hundred feet."
With unencrypted Wi-Fi, every password, email message, and Web page can be read by any other user on that Wi-Fi network. That means you should only use secure (encrypted) email and should never enter a password or confidential information on a webpage over Wi-Fi unless it is a secure connection.
(If you don't know what that means, then don't use email and don't enter private information from your browser when using Wi-Fi.)
Macintosh users note that Airport is Apple's version of WiFi.
Click here for an excellent article on how WiFi works.
Note: If you're running WiFi at home, it is important to enable encryption and password protect your WiFi network. Check here or see your owner's manual for how to do this.