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What is WiFi? And Where Does it Come From?

WiFi has exploded in popularity and usage in the past ten years. Every time someone sits down at a café, visits a library, or checks-into a hotel, one of the first things they do is connect their tablet, smartphone or laptop to the Internet, which means accessing a WiFi network. Many of us take this for granted, and we even forget that in a lot of places WiFi connection costs money!

Everyone can relate to the joke ‘imagine if trees gave free WiFi. We’d all be planting them like crazy! It’s a pity they only give us the oxygen we breathe.’ But have you ever wondered about this technology, how it works, and where it comes from?

Holiday Coast Credit Union is here to help you understand and with this article explaining the basics of WiFi.



What is WiFi?

WiFi is wireless connectivity. Believe it or not, no-one is actually sure what the abbreviation WiFi stands for! The most agreed upon definition among experts is Wireless Fidelity.

To put it simply, WiFi allows you to connect your computer, tablet, smartphone or TV to the Internet without needing any of those ugly physical cables.

One of the reasons why WiFi is so widespread is that so many devices can use it. All of the popular operating systems, gaming devices and office equipment can easily connect to it.



Where Does WiFi Come From?

WiFi is simply one way to access the Internet. You do still need an Internet provider such as Telstra or Optus to provide you with an Internet connection.

Most Internet providers will offer you a 12 or 24 month plan. You usually have a few options to choose from in terms of how much data you use. And be warned – if you use more data than is allocated to your account, your Internet will be ‘shaped’, which means slowed down to a snail’s pace.

There are also pay as-you-go options available over the 4G network if you really don’t want to be locked down to a plan.



How Does WiFi Work?

In order to connect your devices to a WiFi, you’ll need to have a router (also known as a transmitter or hub) connected to the Internet. This small box-shaped device will decode data sent through your Internet connection and transmit the data in radio waves to your connected devices. For example, every time you send or receive an email on your iPhone, the data is sent to and from the Internet through this router.

In fact, your router sends radio waves to a small area (also known as a hotspot), more than enough to cover an average home with a strong WiFi signal.

Once you have a router setup, you’ll need to connect your electronic devices to the WiFi network. Today, practically all electronic devices come with wireless adapters, including fridges, microwaves and even toasters! This process is simple enough, and all of the most popular devices make it really easy to connect to a WiFi network.

So if you ever find yourself forgetting how important this technology is to our lives, just remember ‘home is where the WiFi connects automatically’!

On the topic of WiFi and the Internet, we highly recommend that you download our mobile app to manage your Holiday Coast Credit Union account. To download our app, click here for iOS, or here from Android.


This article provides general information only and should not be relied upon as financial product advice.

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