What is a WiFi&Reg; Home Network?

Mary McMahon

A WiFi® home network is a home computer network which uses Wi-Fi™ technology, a preferred technology for wireless networking. The same technology is used to create wireless networks and access points all over the world, from airport lounges to government buildings. Creating a WiFi® home network is very easy, and many providers of Internet services offer equipment which can be used to set up a wireless home network when people sign up for a service package.

A WiFi® logo.
A WiFi® logo.

Wi-Fi® is an identifier used on products which have been certified for interoperability under the Wi-Fi® standard. The term is trademarked by the Wi-Fi Alliance. The creation of a standard was designed to reduce the risk of device conflicts and to set up universal standards which ensured that wireless devices would work smoothly on wireless networks all over the world. In the case of a WiFi® home network, the devices used to set up the network and the devices which connect to it are all certified under the standard.

A WiFi router for a home network.
A WiFi router for a home network.

The core of a WiFi® home network is the router. The router connects directly to the Internet, which may be delivered by satellite, through the phone lines, or over a cable connection. People can plug devices directly into the router for access, or they can rely on the router's antenna to complete a wireless connection. With a wireless connection, any device within range of the router has the capability to connect to it, and once a connection is established, signals can be sent back and forth between the router and the connected devices.

Computers are a device commonly seen on a WiFi® home network. Printers, phones, and other communications devices can also tap into the network to send and receive information. Many people secure their networks, requiring an access code to get into the router. This is designed to protect the security of information sent over the network, and to avoid overloading the router. If too many people attempt to connect at once, access may become sluggish for some users.

When people order Internet, the company may set up a WiFi® home network as part of their installation services. In other cases, the Internet will be activated, and a router will be sent out or the customer may need to buy a router. Most routers are designed for plug and play use; the router is simply plugged in and turned on, and the network starts working. People can change router settings such as the password in a utility on a computer connected to the router.

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