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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 August, 2003, 07:48 GMT 08:48 UK
People confused by wi-fi jargon
Intel sponsored wi-fi event in London
Wi-fi comes to central London for a one-off event
If talk of a "wi-fi hotspot" makes you think of someone having trouble with their spouse, then you are not alone.

Most home computer users in the UK have no idea what so-called wi-fi hotspots are, a survey has found.

Just under 30% of those quizzed knew that the term refers to an area where you can connect to the internet without having to plug a cable into your computer.

The findings will prove disappointing for companies looking to tempt people to log on via wireless services in cafes, pubs and hotels.

Currently there are about 1,000 public hotspots available throughout Europe.

They allow people with laptops and handheld computers to surf the internet or send and receive data at broadband speeds, provided they have the right wireless equipment.

Posh hot tub

The polling group Mori interviewed just under a thousand people for the survey on behalf of the computer seller Packard Bell.

Man using wi-fi laptop
To go wireless, you need the right equipment
They were asked what the term wi-fi hotspot meant and were offered a list of possible answers.

The wireless technology jargon baffled most people, who instead opted for some of the more bizarre choices.

Five per cent thought that it referred to a night club, while 2% said it was something smelly that had been left in the sun for too long.

Among the other explanations picked by people was a posh hot tub, a sunbed and a microwave ready meal.

And 1% of married people though that it meant someone was having trouble with the wife.

"It is very interesting to see the number of people who have opted for the more outlandish responses," said Graham Hopper, Managing Director of Packard Bell UK and Eire.

"It always takes a while for new technologies to filter through to all users.

"As consumers increasingly see a network of wi-fi hotspots springing up everywhere from coffee shops and pubs to hotels and airports and it becomes more common to see people making use of wireless internet access points, the understanding will grow very rapidly."

The finding that technical jargon confuses many will come as little surprise to some.

A survey carried out the US, UK, China and Japan a couple of months ago found that most people were flummoxed by the jargon used to describe new technology.

It found showed that people were perplexed by many of the terms routinely bandied around by technology firms.

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