Where can I use Wi-Fi?

 

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Where can I use Wi-Fi?

A grandfather updating his Facebook status using his mobile phone

What's coming up

In this activity, you'll learn where you can use Wi-Fi, and what happens if you take your device too far from your home Wi-Fi network.

We'll also talk about connecting to public Wi-Fi, where you can find public Wi-Fi, and why you might want to use it.

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Limits of your home Wi-Fi

The Wi-Fi from your home internet connection is just for use in and immediately around your home. It has a limited range, so as you leave the house with your device, even just down to the shops, you will lose reception and your device won't be able to connect to the internet using your home Wi-Fi.

Home Wi-Fi has a limited range, usually inside the house and just out into the garden
A welcoming sign at a cafe offering free Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi

To use Wi-Fi away from home, you need to find a public Wi-Fi network.

Public Wi-Fi is commonly available in shopping centres, libraries, cafes and government buildings. Look for signs that say Free Wi-Fi or Public Wi-Fi Hotspot.

Staying connected to public Wi-Fi

You can get set up at a public Wi-Fi spot to stay connected while you are out and about. It's a convenient (and cheap!) alternative to using the data that comes with your mobile phone. (Data is the way we measure text, pictures, video and more. Look at our What is data? course to learn more).

Public Wi-Fi is free, but it isn't always fast, and the reception may not be very strong. It should be OK for opening basic web pages, but maybe not for viewing photos or watching videos.

Free Wi-Fi is often offered in large shopping centres, libraries and cafes
An icon of a padlock

eSafety Tip

Public Wi-Fi is usually safe if you stick to sites that have https in their address, but you are in public, so it's important to take a little extra care with your private details. It's not recommended to do anything on a public Wi-Fi network that involves important personal information. Doing your banking, updating medical records, claiming government payments or similar activities are best left until you get home.

Using public Wi-Fi

Which of the following statements are true? Click on each card to find out!

Public Wi-Fi is just a safe as your home Wi-Fi.

Click to flip

This is false. Don't use public Wi-Fi to do anything that requires your personal information.

Public Wi-Fi is always fast and strong.

Click to flip

This is false. Because public Wi-Fi is free, it is often quite slow.

Public Wi-Fi is free to use.

Click to flip

This is true! Public Wi-Fi is free and so is a good alternative to using your mobile data allowance.

Congratulations!

This is the end of the Where can I use Wi-Fi? activity. You've learned that your home Wi-Fi only works immediately inside and around your house, but that you can use free public Wi-Fi while out and about in places such as big shopping centres and libraries. It's safe to use if you take some common-sense precautions.

In the next activity, Why would I want Wi-Fi on the go? you'll learn more about why public Wi-Fi is so convenient, and how it's different from the internet connection on a mobile phone plan.

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