Many people think of the terms “WiFi” and “wireless internet” as synonymous. They use WiFi to mean anything from their home broadband internet connection to the free internet service they get at a hotel or a coffee shop. As a leading Fort Collins internet provider, we receive questions about this frequently and understand the confusion. However, getting some clarity on these services can be helpful. This is especially true for choosing the right equipment for use at home and troubleshooting problems with these services.
WiFi and Wireless Internet: Similar, but Different
Here’s the quick explanation of WiFi vs. wireless internet that we give to our Fort Collins internet customers.
First, the term “Wi-Fi” is a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance. Contrary to what many people believe, it is not short for anything (“wireless fidelity” is a term often suggested to be the origin), as explained by Webopedia. And, WiFi and Wi-Fi are considered to be acceptable.
There was a time when all the devices in a local area network (LAN), such as in an office, had to be connected by physical cables. You’d see the wires coming out from the back of a computer and snaking off in the direction of the server room. Or maybe they’d go up through a conduit into the ceiling to make the same trek. WiFi enables computers, and other devices like printers, to be connected but without the inconvenient wires. So, you can think of WiFi as a wireless LAN in a sense. Notice there is no talk of the internet at this point. And, the WiFi you have in your home serves the same purpose: connecting devices without wires.
The internet is what is considered a wide area network (WAN), as it connects many computers from around the world. Or more accurately, it connects many networks, and those networks are connected to many computers. As with LANs, there was a time when you needed to have a physical connection in order to access the internet. Today, however, if you have WiFi in your home and you have internet service, your personal LAN can be connected to the WAN we call the world wide web.
So, to summarize, the WiFi in your home creates a network out of your devices — computers, smartphones, printers, etc. This network can be connected to the internet, but isn’t necessarily.
One of the key takeaways then is that if you are having trouble connecting to the internet through your home WiFi, there are two primary sources of the issue. The first is that there is a problem with a device in your home called a “router” that enables your devices to connect to one another (think of it as the hub on a wheel). The second is that there is a problem with your connection to the internet.
In either case, a provider like FRII that has excellent support will help you resolve the problem quickly and efficiently.
Fort Collins Internet: Creating Connection Clarity
Have questions about our WiFRII, custom wireless, Ethernet, 10 GB Fiber, or other services? As a longtime provider of Fort Collins internet, we can answer them! Don’t hesitate to get in touch by using our website Contact Us form. You can also stop by our facility or call us at 800-935-6527. We’re happy to help!