Wi-Fi – is a way of getting broadband internet without wires.
Wi-Fi allows you to connect several internet enabled devices at once, anywhere in your house – or if you have a laptop, to even use your computer in the garden. You don’t need to install extra phone lines or cables.
Wi-Fi creates a network in your home or office – a little zone where computers can get broadband internet. It uses radio waves, just like TV or mobile phones.
A device called a wireless transmitter receives information from the internet via your broadband connection. The transmitter converts the information into a radio signal and sends it.
You could think of the transmitter as a mini radio station, broadcasting signals sent from the internet. The ‘audience’ for these transmissions is the computer (or computers, as more than one can connect at the same time) which receives the radio signal via a wireless adapter.
The whole process, meanwhile, works in reverse, with the computer sending information to the wireless transmitter. It then converts them and sends them via your broadband connection.
To use Wi-Fi you will need certain equipment:
Broadband Internet connection and modem
A broadband Internet connection is a high-speed Internet connection—in contrast to a dial-up connection, which is slower and not powerful enough to support a wireless network. Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) and cable are two of the most common broadband connections. You can get a broadband connection by contacting an Internet service provider (ISP). Typically, ISPs that provide DSL are telephone companies and ISPs that provide cable are cable TV companies. ISPs often offer broadband modems and might even install it for you. Some ISPs also offer combination modem/wireless routers. You can also find these at computer or electronics stores.
A router sends information between your network and the Internet. With a wireless router, you can connect computers to your network using radio signals instead of wires. There are a few different types of wireless network technologies, including 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n.
Wireless network adapters
A network adapter is a device that connects your computer to a network. To connect your laptop or desktop computer to your wireless network, the computer must have a wireless network adapter. Most laptops—and many desktop computers—come with a wireless network adapter already installed.
If your computer needs a wireless network adapter, you can purchase one from a computer or electronics store and install it yourself. The universal serial bus (USB) type are a nice choice because they are small, easy to install, and they can be moved around to different computers. Make sure you get the same type of adapters as your wireless router. The type of adapter is usually marked on the package, typically with a letter, such as G or A.