Internet vs Wifi: What’s the difference?

Yolisa Motha
Internet Provider Comparisons

In this Digital Age, there are so many new technological terms conceived daily, that it can be hard to keep up. Knowing the difference between Internet, Wifi, UPS, data, bandwidth, routers or gigabytes can be a challenge, even for the most tech-savvy.

Starting with the basics, one of the most frequently confused or misunderstood technological advancements are Internet and wifi, which are terms that should not be used interchangeably. For many years, people have been using these terms interchangeably, when in fact, they are two entirely different things.

Among other things, knowing the difference can help you troubleshoot problems at home and purchase the right equipment for your computer network. If you’re looking to improve your tech lingo and understanding, this is the place to start.

The difference between Wifi and Internet


Putting it in the simplest way, Wifi stands for wireless fidelity (and is sometimes spelt as wi-fi), and is an alternative to using network cables to get your devices connected to a Local Area Network (LAN).

It works via radio waves to receive signals from nearby devices to provide internet and reliable service around your home and office. Wifi connects various devices, such as a smartphone, laptops and tablets, to a network where they can receive or send out information and data through the internet.

Wifi is a wireless network that can be used to connect to printers, gaming consoles, mobile devices and more.

These networks are hosted by a wifi router. Routers are responsible for allowing your devices to be able to communicate with one another. By using a wireless router, your devices can share data, print, and stream files stored on them through the wireless local network.


To get connected to the Internet, you need to connect your router to an Internet source, like a broadband modem. Generally, the Internet provider of your choice will provide you with a modem. Once you plug your router into a modem, the devices on your wireless local network (Wifi)

“The Internet is what’s known as a wide area network, or WAN, which is a vast network linking computers from around the world. These may be standalone computers or local area networks connected via a slew of routers. So, connect your own wireless networking technology, and you’re suddenly part of one ginormous global network - the Internet.”

It’s like a massive network of networks that connects many computers globally to allow users at one computer to interact or share information with users at another computer, as long as they’re connected to the web.

What is the internet protocol?

In order for your computers communicate via the internet, they need to speak a common language. This is where internet protocol comes in.

Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is a standard that defines how data is packetized, addressed, and routed across the internet. Every device that connects to the internet has a unique IP address that allows it to be identified and located so that data can be routed to it.

Data is broken down into small pieces, called packets, which are then sent out across the internet from one computer to another. The route taken by these packets is determined by their IP addresses. When all of the packets arrive at their destination, they are reassembled into the original file or message.

Can you have internet without Wifi?

‍Yes, but you can only connect one device at a time.

If you want to connect more than one device to the internet simultaneously, you need Wifi. That being said, some Internet providers do offer routers as part of their internet packages. However, if yours doesn’t, or if you want to upgrade to a newer model with updated features and security, then you can always purchase your own router and connect it to your modem.

What is wireless home internet service?

A wireless home internet access is a type of internet connection that uses radio waves to deliver internet service to your home. With this type of internet, you don’t have to worry about cables or wires running through your home.

Wireless internet is available in three different forms: satellite, mobile broadband, and fixed wireless connection. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Satellite internet delivers internet service via satellite dishes that are installed on your roof. This type of internet is available almost anywhere in the world, but can be subject to weather conditions and high latency rates.

Mobile broadband uses cell towers to deliver internet access and is available in most areas. However, it can be expensive and internet speeds can vary depending on your location.

Fixed wireless internet is a type of connection that uses a small antenna to receive internet access from a provider’s tower. This type of internet is generally less expensive than satellite or mobile broadband, but is only available in certain areas.

Wifi Hotspot: Explained

A Wifi hotspot is a physical location where people can access the internet wirelessly. These hotspots can be found in public places like airports, coffee shops, and libraries.

In order to connect to a Wifi hotspot, you need a Wifi-enabled device like a laptop, smartphones, or tablet. Once you’re in range of the hotspot, you’ll be able to connect to the internet.

One advantage of using a Wifi hotspot is that you don’t have to worry about using up your data allowance. However, hotspots can be crowded and speeds can vary depending on the number of users.

If you’re looking for a more private and reliable internet connection, you can always opt for a home internet service.

5 Advantages of Wifi Over the Internet

1. Wifi is more convenient than the internet because it doesn’t require any cables or wires.

2. Wifi is more portable than the internet because you can take it with you wherever you go.

3. Wifi is more affordable than the internet because you don’t have to pay for a separate internet connection.

4. Wifi is more flexible than the internet because you can connect multiple devices to one Wifi network.

5. Wifi is more secure than the internet because it uses encryption to protect your data.

Wireless internet vs Ethernet vs Satellite: Which is better?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The best internet connection for you will depend on your specific needs and location.

Ethernet is the fastest and most reliable type of internet connection, but it’s also the most expensive. If speed is your top priority, then Ethernet is the way to go.

Wireless internet is a more affordable option that is widely available, but speeds can vary depending on your location. If you live in a rural area, then satellite internet might be your best bet.

Satellite internet is available almost anywhere, but can be expensive and subject to weather conditions.

Is 2G or 5G Wifi better?

2G Wifi is slower than 5G Wifi, but it’s also more affordable. If speed isn’t your top priority, then 2G Wifi might be the best option for you.

5G Wifi is the newest and fastest type of wireless internet that does not require a physical connection, but it’s also more expensive. If you need a high-speed internet and reliable connection, then 5G Wifi is the way to go.

Wireless internet vs wired internet: which is better?

While wifi is a wireless technology that allows wireless devices to connect to the internet. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to understand the difference between them before choosing which one is right for you.

Wired broadband internet is typically faster and more reliable than wifi, but it can be more expensive to set up and isn't as portable. Wireless internet access is less expensive and more convenient, but it can be slower and less reliable.

So, which should you choose? It depends on your needs. If you need a fast, reliable connection for gaming or streaming video, wired internet is the way to go. If you're looking for a less expensive option that you can

Make the most of your home network with HomeLinkd

Now that you’ve got the gist of these tech terms, you can start your journey to getting connected by checking out our list of the Best Internet Service Providers (ISP) in 2023.

Written by:
Yolisa Motha
Senior Copywriter

Yolisa is a word artist who's on a quest to help businesses make an impact so powerful - it causes a ripple effect. If Yolisa isn't painting pictures with her words, you'll find her hiking up a mountain or soaking up the beach sun.

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