For all the marketing dollars that Intel has chucked at its Centrino campaign since its launch in March 2003, less than 50 per cent of respondents in a recent IDC survey understood what the term ‘Wi-Fi’ stood for. And this was in the more technically savvy South-East - in the North-East the figure fell to only 29 per cent. In fact, four per cent of people surveyed believed ‘Wi-Fi’ to be cockney slang for ‘wife’. However, this is only slighlty less believable than Intel's suggestion in its adverts that you can get online using one of its wireless notebooks even if you're on top of a mountain, in the middle of a field or in a Greek amphitheatre.
To provide some hopefully more realistic wireless knowledge, Intel has released a new 30-page guide taken from the forthcoming book ‘Wireless Networks for Dummies’. This guide is available free of charge in all PC World and Dixons stores.
Judging from the picture even Intel employees find the guide really useful
The guide uses straightforward language to explain how wireless networks can help people in their everyday lives, by giving them easier and more flexible access to the Internet and their home networks. Topic covered include, 'How to install a Wi-Fi network', 'Keeping your Wi-Fi network secure',and 'How to find and use a public hotspot'.
There are now 130 notebook PC designs based on Intel Centrino mobile technology, which offers integrated wireless LAN capability, extended battery life, thinner and lighter designs and high performance computing. With wireless notebooks usage increasing, new figures from analyst house IDC forecast a rise in public hotspot usage from just under 75,000 people in 2003, to over 450,000 in 2004 – and by 2005 IDC forecasts that over 930,000 people will be accessing the Internet wirelessly from public hotspots.
Rick Skett, Intel UK and Ireland Country Manager, believes that “soon the expressions ‘Wi-Fi’ and ‘hotspot’ will become as commonplace in vocabulary as ‘texting’ or ‘email’". However, clearly 930,000 out of the whole of the UK population is not a whole lot, so we expect it'll take a lot more than this guide to get the country turned on to wireless.