Home Wi-Fi Basics Info

What is Wi-Fi?

Nearly every device that connects to the Internet today does so using Wi-Fi. Everything from tablets to refrigerators to TVs are Wi-Fi-enabled.

Wi-Fi stands for “wireless fidelity”-- the technology that allows a device such as a Wi-Fi router to turn a corded Internet connection into a wireless signal. Without this router, every device in your home or office would need a cord to connect to the Internet.

Wi-Fi doesn’t replace your 3 Rivers Internet connection--it simply makes it usable for non-hardwired devices within range to connect to it.

There are some issues that can affect a Wi-Fi router’s performance. Wireless signals from a router are susceptible to interference from everyday household appliances like microwaves or cordless phones or even other Wi-Fi routers. However, newer Wi-Fi routers do a better job at overcoming interference than earlier models once did.

Depending on the amount and type of devices you typically have connected in your home or office, 3 Rivers recommends a dual band (2.4 GHz/5 GHz) 802.11ac router, the current standard (see chart). A router not capable of delivering sufficient throughput may be a bottleneck for your entire network. However a less powerful router may be fine for your situation.

 

Wi-Fi Facts

Wi-Fi is a technology that allows computers, smartphones, tablets, TVs and other Internet-enabled devices to connect to the Internet and communicate with each other wirelessly.

Wi-Fi uses radio frequencies (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) similar to cordless phones. Much like those phones, Wi-Fi has limited range. This means the further you are from the wife router, the slower the speed will be. High-end routers use antenna technology to get around this limitation.

The number of devices you have connected to a Wi-Fi router also makes a difference. Wi-Fi has limited radio frequency spectrum (bandwidth). Because of this, too many devices trying to use it at once can cause a “traffic jam,” leading to slower speeds.

Wi-Fi encompasses several different standards that vary in their speed and range.

802.11ac is the current standard and offers the fastest throughput speeds (maximum speed depends on the Internet service level you purchase from 3 Rivers) and furthest range. It operates in the 5 GHz radio band. This table shows other standards with typical speed and range limits.

Standard

Speed

Range

802.11b

11 Mbps

<125 feet

802.11g

54 Mbps

<125 feet

802.11n

110 Mbps

<200 feet

802.11ac

1300 Mbps