Wi-Fi is a fairly new technology that allows electronic devices like laptops, tablets, and phones to connect to the internet wirelessly through broadband. Although this may be something more people don’t think about, Wi-Fi is one of the major foundations of modern life. Without Wi-Fi, you wouldn’t be able to access Facebook on your phone, or write emails from your portable laptop.
Although people younger than twenty wouldn’t know what a world without Wi-Fi was like, there was (quite obviously) a time before this technology was available. What, then, was used before Wi-Fi?.
Every child born in or before the 1990s knows the infamous beeps and noises that signaled your desktop computer was connecting to the internet. While revolutionary for its time, dial-up had a lot of drawbacks. To start with, it hooked into the wall and used the phone line in a world before cellular devices were common. Nick from Elive IT Support says, “this meant that you couldn’t use your phone and internet at the same time and there’s nothing you could do about it”. Downloads were painfully slow, reaching a webpage took forever, and once it appeared, you’d have better hoped there weren’t a lot of graphics – otherwise, you’d be waiting forever for it to load.
There were pros as well as cons, however. So long as you had phone access, you were able to have internet. Your connection was steady, and didn’t rise or fall. In fact, there are still a scant few people who live in remote or rural areas who don’t have access to modern Wi-Fi. These individuals are still able to access the internet through dial-up, though – just so long as phone lines were already available in those areas.
Broadband came onto the scene around the early 2000s. Technically speaking, broadband and Wi-Fi work together to give you your modern-day internet connection – as well as some of the television shows you watch, depending on who your network provider is. Broadband is the actual connection itself, whereas Wi-Fi is the device that transmits said connection and makes it useable.
Broadband had almost entirely phased out connected internet by the mid-2000’s. The invention of smart phones and portable computers played a large part in this. Compared to these cutting-edge technologies, dial-up just doesn’t make sense. What use is the portability of these devices if you can only use the internet access when hooked up to your phone system?