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Are Internet and WiFi the same?

WiFi technology is popular and available almost everywhere we go. But is WiFi the same as the Internet? The answer is no. And with our homes becoming more connected and sophisticated, it's important to understand the difference between the two.

The Internet

The Internet is comprised of thousands of inter-connected networks. It's a massive, expansive global communications network. 

Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) either owns or manages their own network. They install the infrastructure and equipment to allow residences and businesses connect to the Internet. 

Users can connect to the Internet in two ways: with a physical cable or over WiFi. Using a physical cable involves connecting an Ethernet cable from your device to the back of your modem or router. This allows for faster and more consistent speeds, but means the device has to remain in one place.

WiFi

Nowadays WiFi connections are far more common, especially for home devices. WiFi involves connecting devices to your ISP's network without using an Ethernet cable. WiFi is also sometimes to referred to as a "wireless" connection, because there's no wires involved.

The speeds you receive on a WiFi or "wireless" connection depend on several factors, including;

  • Distance from your modem or router
  • Physical barriers
  • Your device's wireless standard
  • How many devices are connected to your network at one time
  • What other devices on your network are doing

A WiFi connection is ideal for devices that move around your home. Connecting to your WiFi network doesn't necessarily mean you are connected to the Internet. It means that you are connected to your modem and/or router. Your modem then connects you to the Internet so you can access Netflix, e-mail, social media, and everything else.