What’s the difference between Wi-Fi and internet?
Wi-Fi is a wireless internet connection, but perhaps thanks to its usage on signs in coffee shops and other places, it’s becoming a more common term to refer to internet service in general. But “internet” is still the correct way to refer to this place where we’re hanging out now. Wi-Fi is just a way to access the internet, using wireless routers in your home or public space.
What is a good internet speed?
The FCC’s definition of broadband is 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. Those speeds are enough to support most online gaming and streaming for a household of two to four people.
Depending on the size of your household, the number of connected devices, and what you use the internet for, you may need faster speeds—or you might be okay with less. This tool from HighSpeedInternet.com can help you decide the right speed for you.
What is a modem used for?
A modem receives signals from your ISP and translates the data into digital signals your connected devices can understand. Without a modem, your computer couldn’t connect to the internet because it wouldn’t be able to decipher the information.
Do I need a modem and a router?
You need a modem for DSL and cable internet, and you can either lease one from your provider or buy your own. But if you have fiber or satellite internet, you can’t buy your own modem. Fiber requires an optical network terminal (ONT) instead of a modem, and satellite providers have proprietary modems, so you’ll have to lease these from your ISP.
Technically, a router is optional since you can hook up most computers to your modem with an Ethernet cord. But getting a router will let you set up a Wi-Fi network throughout your home. If you want to support smaller internet-enabled devices like smartphones and smart-home technology, a router is a must-have.
Your ISP may provide you with a router, or you can buy your own. Routers that come separately from modems are easier to update as technology advances, but you can purchase modem/router combos if you prefer to have everything in one device.