Internet Basics: What’s the Difference Between Broadband and Wi-Fi?

broadband vs wifi

The internet is an amazing tool that allows us to carry out all kinds of tasks, from doing the weekly grocery shop and buying special gifts, to managing bank accounts, contacting friends and family, and even running a small business. It’s also a place where we can find information, inspiration and entertainment, making it a valuable resource that supports, simplifies and enriches daily life.

One questions we’re asked on a regular basis is how broadband and Wi-Fi differ. After all, they both give us access to the internet, so what exactly is the difference between the two? In this quick guide we explain what broadband is, how Wi-Fi works, and how to get the most out of your internet connection.

What is the internet?

We’ll start by briefly explaining what the internet is, as it’s actually a separate thing from broadband and Wi-Fi. The internet is a vast global network of computers and machines that never stop communicating with each other. It’s where all of your favourite websites are stored, as well as many others that you may have never even heard of. To put it into perspective, did you know that there are well over one billion websites in existence and the number increases every single day? This gives an idea of just how massive the internet really is.

The internet is full of all kinds of digital information, from online stores and government websites to the messages you send back and forth. For example, when you send an email, this information travels from your computer, laptop or smartphone via the internet and arrives at the recipient’s computer, laptop or smartphone. Similarly, when you visit our website, the information is sent from our system to yours. It’s all very clever and internet speeds are way faster than they used to be, making it a much smoother process than it was a few years ago.

What is broadband?

Now that you have a better idea of what the internet is, with all of its websites, images, videos, emails and other forms of data, it’s time to explain what we mean when we say “broadband”.

Broadband is your own personal highway that allows you to directly access anything on the internet. When you go online, such as searching for something on Google or visiting Facebook, broadband is what connects your computer to the right information.

To put it a bit more technically, broadband is the system that allows data transmissions to be transported back and forth between your home and the wider world. In terms of speed, broadband is defined as being able to download information at a minimum rate of 25 megabits per second (or Mbps). Quickline’s technologies are much faster than this, as we can deliver up to 100Mbps to our customers.

If this is getting a bit too confusing, the main point to take away is that our broadband is designed to be superfast so that you can easily do things that require a lot of data, such as watch movies on Netflix, have video calls with friends and play online games.

A quick recap of broadband

  • Broadband allows you to access everything on the internet, such as websites, search engines, pictures, videos, your social media channels and much more.
  • Broadband allows a fast internet connection, with Quickline being a strong and trusted provider of rural broadband in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
  • Broadband is different to Wi-Fi, which we’ll explain in the next section.

What is Wi-Fi?

We’ve covered the internet in general, which connects computers all over the world through websites and emails, and we’ve also explained the role of broadband, which allows you to access this enormous network of information and entertainment. Now it’s time to take a look at Wi-Fi and explain how it benefits your home and daily life.

Sometimes a computer will access broadband through an ethernet cable that physically connects the device to the router, which is the small box with flashing lights that we install in your home. However, what if you want to access the internet from a laptop that you move around your house or a smartphone that you carry in your pocket? Connecting these to the router with a cable would be extremely inconvenient and could cause a trip hazard! That’s where Wi-Fi comes in.

So, what exactly does Wi-Fi do?

Wi-Fi is a fun name for a very clever type of technology. It connects your computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone and smart home devices to the internet. From home assistants such as Alexa to smart TVs, thermostats, video doorbells and robot vacuum cleaners, a lot of modern technology requires access to Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi is the signal sent from your router to your household devices. This means you can do everything you need to do online without having wires and cables trailing all over the place. The Wi-Fi signal connects your device (computer, smartphone etc) to your broadband account, allowing you to go online whilst in the bedroom, kitchen, living room, home office and even when you’re having a bath (make sure not to get your phone wet).

What is a Wi-Fi network?

A Wi-Fi network is simply the internet connection that’s shared by all of the devices in your home. Years ago, people had to log on to the internet every time they wanted to use it, which could take a few minutes. Things are very different now, as Wi-Fi allows your devices to remain connected to your router, which means that the internet is ready and waiting whenever you want to use it.

Your personal Wi-Fi signal will usually extend beyond the walls of your house, which is why we give you a password so that your neighbours and random passers-by can’t use it. As you walk away from your home, look at your phone and you’ll see that your Wi-Fi signal becomes lower and lower until it disconnects. Go back to your home and your phone will automatically reconnect to the Wi-Fi. It really is a stress-free experience that makes using the internet super easy.

Wi-Fi around the world

As mentioned above, your home’s Wi-Fi network is just one of countless others around the world. The majority of your neighbours will have their own Wi-Fi network, plus your local shops, pubs, community centres and other public buildings will have their own as well. These Wi-Fi networks outside of your home will have their own passwords, which is why you won’t be able to automatically connect to them.

In some cases, places like these will offer public Wi-Fi, which is free to access. For instance, your local coffee shop may have free public Wi-Fi or they might share their password with you so that you can access it.

In a nutshell…

We appreciate that was quite a lot of information to take in, so here’s a final recap:

  • The internet is a huge network of websites and information that spans the entire world.
  • Broadband allows you to access all of this information from your own home via a router.
  • An ethernet cable can be used to connect your computer to your router, giving you fast internet access.
  • Wi-Fi makes this even easier, as it connects your devices to your broadband without any cables or wires. The Wi-Fi signal travels through the air and allows you to use the internet on your computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
  • Wi-Fi also connects smart home devices to your broadband, such as Amazon Echo speakers, smart thermostats, robot vacuum cleaners, video doorbells and wireless home security systems.

Get Connected

Quickline connects homes in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire to the internet through superfast broadband and Wi-Fi connections. If you like the idea of being able to access websites, stream movies and shop online without any fuss, please get in touch on 01482 247365 or use our contact form.

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