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What is WiFi?

WiFi internet explained:

WiFi, or wireless broadband, is the standard for internet use today. It enables users to remotely connect to internet signals in range on their smartphone, laptop, tablet or other device. Previously, internet had to go through cables plugged in to your device, but routers send signals from the internet source (usually a phone line) to the device which is built to pick up the signal.

Routers can be hooked up to any ADSL enables phone cable to transmit the internet signal. The range of the WiFi will depend on various factors, such as the layout of the building, interference from other electronics, the make and model of the router and other considerations (including factors related to the company providing the internet).

While accessing the internet through a cable is still feasible, WiFi has become the norm. The signal will be faster if the cable is connected to the device, but for most people this is not necessary and the convenience of being always connected in any part of the house outweighs any internet performance gains.

Signal strengths are usually sufficient for many people in many rooms of a building to be able to access the WiFi at any time. Furthermore, many devices that connect to the internet, such as phones or tablets, don’t have a cable port to access broadband this way so they rely on a WiFi signal (unless mobile broadband is set up – which is discussed below).

Usually, when starting a new contract, your provider will either give you a free router or provide a good deal on it. If you’ve been with your provider for a long time but haven’t received a router then if you contact them you might be able to get one for free. And if you want an upgrade you might also be eligible. Either way, if you get a new router it can be a simple matter of plugging it into the cable for it to work, but often you will have to reconfigure your settings (which is usually not too difficult at all, especially since the provider will provide instructions).

Another alternative is mobile broadband. This involves internet signal being sent from the same masts as the mobile phone signal. Mobile broadband is enabled by default in many devices like smartphones and tablets, and if needed most laptops can access these signals with a USB device that plugs into the side.

And aside from these options, you can get a MiFi router which works similar to the routers mentioned earlier (in that it locally broadcasts an internet signal it picks up, but from the mobile network instead of a cable) which can then be accessed by several devices just as with a conventional WiFi router.

Another advantage of mobile broadband is that it is not tied to an address, so can be used on the go as well.