What makes wireless internet so great is that it does not require your device to access the internet via a physical connection. However, there are many types of wireless devices and services. Depending on what means of wireless connectivity you choose, you may need specific devices or equipment. This blog explores the most popular types of wireless internet and the equipment they require.
Wi-Fi Connections Over Routers or Portable Hotspots
This is one of the most common types of wireless internet connections. A vast majority of homes in the United States have access to high-speed residential internet services. In most cases, internet providers also include a wireless router. This is essential for creating an in-home Wi-Fi network for users to access on devices that support wireless internet. These can range from desktops to laptops to gaming consoles to smart devices. The modem that comes with your service acts as a gateway to provide internet access to the router. The router then creates a wireless network with access to your provider’s internet connection. Wi-Fi is typically slower than wired connections, but the difference is negligible in everyday use. A portable Wi-Fi hotspot offers the same network, but without being connected to the modem. Instead, the hotspot usually has a monthly wireless data limit assigned by the provider.
Mobile Wireless Internet Over Cellular Broadcasts
Mobile broadband internet is another form of wireless internet that is widely used in the United States. Unlike Wi-Fi, you don’t need to be connected to your home network to be able to access the internet. Mobile broadband relies on the broadcast network set up by large cellular carriers like Verizon. Since these signals are present everywhere, you can access the internet on the go via a cellular device. In addition to a device with the capability to access cellular internet, you will also need a contract with your local telecommunications provider. This contract will determine the data limit on your plan, which can either be unlimited or with a fixed threshold.
Wi-Fi Over External Wireless Cards
Sometimes, you may have a working Wi-Fi network at home. However, your device may not have a built-in wireless receiver to connect to the network and communicate with it. Most modern laptops, for instance, already include a wireless networking card that allows them to connect to wireless networks and access the internet. However, certain older laptops and desktops may not always include a wireless networking card. Luckily, it is very easy to fix this problem. All you need is to buy an external wireless networking card and install it. If you are not handy with tech, opt to get the card professionally installed on your laptop or desktop. To connect via a cellular broadband network, you may require an entirely different type of card. You can usually obtain one from your cellular broadband provider.
Miscellaneous Devices That Can Be Connected Wirelessly
In addition to the necessary equipment, accessing wireless internet services is only possible through compatible devices. That means you need a device that can access the type of wireless network available to you. Modern smartphones and tablets are built to access the internet both over a Wi-Fi network as well as cellular data. This makes them extremely useful and portable devices that you can use both on-the-go as well as when you are at home. It also makes it easier to manage the data limits on both your cellular plan as well as your residential internet plan.
Most laptops and desktops can typically only access the internet over a wired connection or a Wi-Fi network. However, you may be able to buy a special card that can enable laptops and desktops to access cellular internet as well. Many IoT devices, such as smart thermostats, smart door locks, and smart doorbells also function over Wi-Fi networks. However, they typically only use it to communicate with each other and with the central hub. They can’t access the internet like smartphones or laptops.