Whats the difference between WiFi and Broadband?

Understanding the Basics

Understanding the basics of internet connectivity starts with differentiating between WiFi and broadband. Broadband is the term used to describe an internet connection provided to you by your ISP, which can be delivered through various means such as cable, DSL, fibre, satellite, or 4G/5G. Broadband is what gets you’re devices online! Now, on the other hand, WiFi is a technology that allows your devices to connect to your broadband wirelessly. It’s the step that takes the internet from the wall to your devices without the need for cables! The two work hand in hand: broadband brings the internet to your home or office, and WiFi spreads it around the space, allowing multiple devices to connect to the network. In essence, broadband is the internet connection, and WiFi is the means through which that connection is distributed wirelessly.

Common Misconceptions: WiFi and Broadband
One common misconception is that WiFi and broadband are interchangeable terms for internet access. This is wrong. While they are related, they are not the same. As consumers, we use phrases such as “who’s the best WiFi provider” or “who is your WiFi with” or “my WiFI is down”. In most cases, its the broadband provider you are referring to. As explained, broadband is the connection to the internet provided by an ISP. WiFi, however, is a wireless network technology that uses radio waves to provide wireless internet and network connections. Another misconception is that faster WiFi will result in a faster internet connection. This is not necessarily true—as WiFi does not increase the speed of the broadband connection itself. It merely allows devices to connect to that broadband wirelessly. The speed of the internet connection is determined by the broadband plan you purchase, not by the WiFi. Lastly, some believe that having a WiFi connection means you have internet access. In reality, a WiFi network needs to be connected to a broadband service to provide internet access.

By now, you probably have the gist. But please feel free to read on, while we try to boost our Google rankings. 

Definition and Utility of Broadband
Broadband, by definition, is a high-capacity transmission technique that enables a large number of messages to be communicated simultaneously. For consumers, broadband is the most commonly used means of accessing the internet and is essential for modern digital life—from streaming video and audio to browsing social media and executing large downloads (Hell Divers 2 update). The phrase “broadband” can be vast. We have different types of broadband in the UK and we dive into detail about on these on a separate blog.

Broadband Connection from your ISP (Internet Service Provider)
The connection to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) is what brings the Internet into your home or business, and broadband is the method by which this connection is often made. When you subscribe to a broadband service, your ISP provides an infrastructure that connects your location to their network, which in turn connects you to the wider internet. This connection can come in various forms, such as Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) (really old school), fibre-optic (part fibre and full fiber) (don’t get us started on that debate) , satellite (old Elon Musk leading the way with this one), and wireless (basically a fibre connection being beamed to your property because you’re miles away from any cable infrastructure) (wireless could also technically mean mobile, but again, more on that later). Your broadband choice can affect your internet speed, data limits, and the quality of your connection. It’s important to understand that the reliability and performance of your internet activities hinge on the broadband connection established by your ISP. You may also be limited by your choice of service. Fibre may not have been laid all the way to your street yet, so you will be stuck with part fibre (SoGEA/FTTC) or ADSL2+. You may have gotten tired of waiting and invested in Satelite or 4G by now, though. You can check networks, providers, and products in our comparison tool (I think we deserve a plug after crafting this much useful content). Just click Coverage Check in our menu. 

Understanding WiFi’s Role
WiFi plays a pivotal role in how we access the internet wirelessly in our homes and workplaces. After broadband brings the internet connection to a fixed point, WiFi takes over by facilitating a wireless network that devices can connect to. This means that devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, and smart TVs can access the internet without physical cables. The convenience of mobility within the network range is a significant advantage of WiFi. It allows users to move around freely with their devices while maintaining a stable internet connection. WiFi networks function through a wireless router, which takes the broadband connection and broadcasts it as a wireless signal. This technology has become a staple in day-to-day life, enabling a multitude of devices to be internet-ready from virtually any location within the router’s signal radius.

WiFi and Its Connectivity Advantages
WiFi offers several connectivity advantages that have made it an integral part of modern internet usage. The most notable advantage is the elimination of wires, which allows for a cleaner setup and less physical infrastructure. This is particularly beneficial in homes and offices where aesthetics and space are essential. Additionally, WiFi’s capability for simultaneous multiple-device connections ensures that everyone can be online at once without the need for multiple cables or additional hardware. WiFi also enables the creation of public hotspots, providing internet access in locations such as cafes, airports, and libraries. Its relative ease of setup and scalability make it a convenient option for expanding internet access as needed. Moreover, advancements in WiFi technology continue to improve security, speed, and range, thus enhancing the user experience and offering solutions that keep up with evolving internet demands.

So there you have it. Impress your friends by saying, “I found a new broadband supplier, and the router they provided has impressive WiFi capabilities for me to connect my devices wirelessly.”. You will instantly be seen as a technical wizzard. 🕶️

Jonny Rae

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